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  • Nollywood 2.0: how tech is making Africa’s movie industry a global leader

    Nollywood, Nigeria’s ever-expanding film industry, is ranked #2 globally, after Bollywood (#1) and Hollywood (#3), by the number of annual film productions (making roughly 40 films per week, at an average cost of $40,000 per project). This stat still blows me away — this is arguably the most popular content across sub-Saharan Africa and the prolificity of this US$590-million movie industry has all happened in less than 20 years. Impressive when we consider the challenges the industry faces: Rampant piracy Poor production quality and infrastructure Insufficient funding sources and venture capital Lack of reliable electricity (Nigeria is one of the most inefficient producers of electricity...

  • Company Office

    Why now is the best time to invest in battery technology metals

    For those who use online trading brokers to monitor global markets and make investments, finding the next profitable trade can prove to be challenging given the sheer amount of choice they are presented with. Precious metals like gold and silver are popular ‘safe haven’ assets, but are often less effective for making a decent profit. Recently, there has been a lot of interest in battery technology metals, which could be far more effective for turning a decent profit. Here are some of the reasons now might be a good time to invest in them. Electric cars Most investors should be well aware of...

  • Social journal startup LifeCrumbs kills the noise, focuses on intimate sharing

    Ever think there's just too much noise on your social networks? LifeCrumbs is a new social journal that allows you to share memorable moments in your everyday life. It aims to minimise the hassle of all the social networks, presenting you with the most important events in a calendar format. Users can import posts, including the ones you write on your friends’ walls. The Taipei-based startup was the winning idea in an internal rocket pitch within the team back in May. It first came about when they were tired of filtering through content spread across different social networks, and envisioned...

  • Online retailer Loot.co.za secures funding from Titan Investments

    In October this year, online retailer Loot.co.za launched enhancements to its site usability and the customer experience -- just in time for the festive season which accounted for 22% of its total revenue in 2011. Today, the eCommerce company, headed up by ex-Kalahari CEO, Gary Hadfield, announced that it has raised a new round of funding from Titan Investments. Titan is a broad-based black economically empowered investment company whose investments include, among others, a shareholding in EOH, Connection-Telecom, wysetalk.co.za, Quadrem Africa, BCX and RainFin.com. Investment Director at Titan Investments, Sean Emery -- also co-founder and CEO of RainFin.com...

  • Mimiboard: an African hyper-local ad network and social platform

    With Mimiboards, Umuntu Media is re-imagining the humble noticeboard. You can think of a Mimiboard (pronounced me-me board) as a geographically sensitive, virtual noticeboard. Just like their real world counterparts, Mimiboards are relevant to enclaves within larger communities -- some say "hyper-local". But, that's where the similarity solemnly ends. The fact that Umuntu Media, founded in 2009 by Johan Nel, received a US$1 million seed investment late last year, without any revenue to speak of, tells you that the Cape Town-based company is about more than just virtual noticeboards. Beneath the surface, Mimiboards form part of an ambitious publishing...

  • Silicon Lagoon: Nigeria’s growing innovation hotspots

    It seems Nigeria's Silicon Lagoon, based in Lagos is upping its innovation game. The region recently saw the launch of the 'Lagos Angel Network,' reports VC4Africa. The aim of the network is to help foster tech startups in the Lagos area. The angel investor platform hopes to bring "together individuals and organisations seeking to invest in and mentor Nigerian tech start-ups". The initiative is headed by Tomi Davies, CEO of TVCLabs a Technology Business Incubation Company based in Lagos. The network currently consists of 15 Angel investors, who are each expected to commit at least US$6 000 a year to...

  • Mobile payments startup GustPay gets serious about cashless events

    We've been monitoring GustPay, the geo-fenced mobile payments solution for some time now. Earlier this year, it piloted an additional service called "Event Intelligence", a wristband-driven, cashless events service. As the Stellenbosch startup recently held a second cashless event to refine the service, it seems to be serious about pursuing the cashless events market. We now also have more detailed information about how the system works. Around 900 students and Stellenbosch locals were introduced to Gust's cashless event technology at the Grim Furdango 2.0 event. People who attended the event could pay using both of the startup's payment services --...

  • We’ve broken this startup thing

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how our ideals and idols are totally broken and that we needed to re-evaluate how we work on, and within online / digital / technology companies. So I was quite sad to see another idol admitting that same brokenness. I’m trying to figure out when and why it became so acceptable for us to: Leave the office at 7pm AND then go home to work some more. Not take any kind of non-working holiday. Work every single weekend. Compromise on every single aspect of our lives in favour of work. The thing is that this has really...

  • Trend watching, market intelligence and research online portal TREND. launches

    TREND., launched last week, will track and publish consumer data and trends across the media, advertising and marketing communications industry. Visitors can look forward to original, in-depth trend reports combining local and international research contextualised for the South African market with interviews with thought leaders and experts. The trend watching, market intelligence and research online portal is the brainchild of industry editors and publishers, Louise Marsland and Herman Manson. TREND. is a free resource and is targeted at the media, as well as the advertising and marketing communications industry. Regarding content on TREND., expect to find consumer and media...

  • Tuskys: Online marketplace to promote Ugandan products locally

    Tuskys Uganda was started as an effort to make more Ugandan products available in the local market – where foreign goods seemed to reign. What started as an online platform has now expanded as the startup is currently setting up physical outlets in the country to distribute their products. VC4A spoke to Jeff Kabuleta, co-founder of the startup. “Local products are just as good, but in Uganda they are not given the extra push these products deserve.” Tell us more about Tuskys Uganda and what inspired you to start it? “Tuskys Uganda was started in 2008 as an online market place for...

  • And the winner of Startup Knight is… Easy2Map

    Easy2Map, the startup that's taking the programming out of creating and embedding Google Maps, was named as the winners of Startup Knight 2012. Byte Orbit will be working with Easy2Map to further develop the solution and mentor the startup into a sustainable, profitable tech startup. Virtual Firehouse, winner of Cape Town's first Startup Weekend and Karma Footprint, who pitched at the newly launched Google for Entrepreneurs, were singled out as runner ups for the competition. The Startup Knight competition saw 15 finalists -- all South African software based tech startups -- pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at the...