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  • Nano credit startup MoDe wins Africa stage of IBM Global Entrepreneur

    If you were at Tech4Africa this year, you might already have heard the news. MoDe (Mobile-Decisioning), the Kenyan mobile nano credit startup, won IBM's inaugural SmartCamp in Africa. MoDe's innovative emergency airtime payments solution won over the judges and will now take on competitors in the regional finals of IBM’s Global Entrepreneur of the Year Competition in Sao Paulo in December. IBM will offer support and mentorship to MoDe in the run-up to the competition, as well as exposure to IBM's venture capital and partner ecosystem. IBM's first startup talent scouting foray into Africa adds to the 20 different locations...

  • Company Office

    Customer loyalty is key to a retailer’s success

    What is important for a retailer is repeat business. Attracting your customer back into your store and rewarding them for spending money with you. Customer loyalty ultimately builds a brand. To manage and reward customers can be a great admin hassle if you do this manually and the process can create all kinds of unnecessary headaches. Unless your loyalty programme is easy and seamless, it can result in more damage than good! For this reason, Sureswipe has an acquiring service for retailers that use their card payment solution that allows them to customise a loyalty programme to suit their business and...

  • Instant messenger 2go is targeting smartphones, hedging its bets, hiring

    Ventureburn recently reported on 2go, the instant messaging startup that was seeing significant traction in Nigeria. The company attributed much of its success -- 10 million active users compared to an estimated five million on Facebook -- to its feature phone focus. It might be surprising then, to learn that the company will be expanding to smartphones. With that, 2go is also growing its team of software developers and support staff. The instant messaging service is currently pushing 6 billion messages a month, mostly on lower-end feature phones in Nigeria and South Africa. “Feature phones have been an incredibly successful...

  • RIM opens second BlackBerry apps lab in SA, further boosts entrepreneurship

    RIM recently opened its second BlackBerry apps lab in South Africa, this time in Cape Town, and hopes to both accelerate mobile apps development for its own platform and to create new job opportunities in the mobile space. The app economy is real and with RIM estimating four percent more revenue per app/per month than iOS and about 40% more revenue than Android, the BlackBerry platform appears attractive, especially in emerging markets where the smartphone maker has managed to weather its transition to BlackBerry 10 better. The first apps lab was launched at the University of Pretoria (UP), a BlackBerry Authorised...

  • Can Silicon Valley be repeated in Africa? Ventureburn asks IBM’s Martin Kelly

    IBM's Venture Capital Group is a really interesting cog in the startup machine. It's not a fund and yet, through it, IBM has managed to invest in a bevy of startups that align with its Smarter Planet initiative. Smarter Planet is an umbrella concept under which IBM aims to uncover and foster technology that moves society forward in big ways. Think about smarter systems across just about every industry that can lead to things like improved electrical grids, traffic management systems and protection online -- to name a few examples. IBM's SmartCamps attempt to uncover startups working on these kind of...

  • Nokia and the Kenyan government team up to fund mobile startups

    Finnish mobile phone-maker Nokia has partnered with the government of Kenya through the Kenya ICT Board to work towards ensuring tech startups specialising in agricultural, health and educational apps benefit from technical and financial support. During the two-year partnership, Nokia will fund the startups as well as provide technical expertise, while the Kenya ICT board will be in charge of the coordination of the activities. Speaking during the signing of the partnership, Jussi Hinkkanen, Nokia Vice President for corporate relations in charge of Middle East and Africa, said: “Our objective is to support local talent in developing their skills, and to...

  • Valuation startup wins Tech4Africa’s Ignite competition

    ValuationUP has won the top spot at Tech4Africa's ignite startup competition. The competition is part of the annual conference that looks at tech innovation in Africa. The company allows businesses owners to learn what drives the performance of the business they are buying, growing, selling or advising. ValuationUP benchmarks the financial performance of companies to see if they can take a knock, what it's currently worth and if it will be around next year. The market for this product is truly global if VU can adapt their model for different industries, currencies and influencers. The aim of the ignite competition is...

  • Demo Africa: the future of African startups looks bright

    Flowgear, a South African startup that offers application integration for the cloud era, was named one of the Demo Lions and will be joining four other African startups in the US for mentorship and introduction to potential investors. The Demo Lion awards are under the auspices of the US State Department. Flowgear offers companies pre-built connectors that allow quick and easy implementation for developers without the need for coding. The company bridges cloud and on-premise applications and simplifies integration management with full visibility of data flows. Demo Africa gave 40 startups from around the continent the opportunity to demo their products...

  • GoMetro and iROKING partner to bring free music to SA commuters

    Man, mobi.lity is on a roll. First, the startup's GoMetro service got picked up as the official traveller information system of commuter rail agency, Metrorail, and later became one of the four finalists selected for IBM's SmartCamp programme. Today, the service announced its rollout in Gauteng and a partnership with iROKO Partners, the world’s largest online distributor of African music & movies. Not bad for a service launched in September this year. The GoMetro mobile site provides commuters with real-time train schedules, timetable deviations, schedule changes and platform changes. In addition to this, as of 31 October 2012, GoMetro...

  • Events to diarise for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012

    It's almost time for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). This year, the world’s largest celebration of entrepreneurship will run from 12 to 16 November in more than 100 cities around the world, and Cape Town is one of them. Since 2008, during one week in November, GEW inspires people everywhere through activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. In the Western Cape, Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week will feature a host of expos, workshops, hackathons and startup pitching events. Two events we recommend checking out during that week are Startup Weekend and #GovHackSA. Startup Weekend Following on from the success...

  • Zando gets €20 million investment boost from Summit Partners

    International growth equity investor Summit Partners is set to invest €20 million in South African online retail giant Zando. This shows a huge vote of confidence in the South African ecommerce industry. Summit, a growth equity and credit investing company, has investments in more than 350 rapidly growing businesses across North America, Europe and Asia, raising nearly US$15-billion since 1984. "We seek to invest in companies that build long-term value," said Scott Collins, managing director and head of the Summit Partners London office. "Zando has shown dynamic growth in a short period of time." This investment comes just a...