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  • Why your startup’s product offering should look like a McDonald’s menu

    While some might question the logic behind Alan Knott Craig Junior's purchase of MXit, one can only stand up and applaud the astuteness of his first actions as the instant messaging giant's new Owner, CEO and all round Big Cheese! His first steps were simple, focus on what MXit's core product offering is and make sure it is the best at it. I liken this to the experience when you walk into McDonald's where, despite years of success around the globe, Ray Kroc's original idea for the McDonald's product offering that "you'll get the best hamburger you ever...

  • Company Office

    FinChatBot to improve customer service, reduce costs for financial services

    If you’ve had enough of being put on hold, speaking to call centres in India or waiting for that promised call back on your query from people who never call back, you are probably ready for a chatbot. Chatbots have arrived in South Africa and are kicking off in financial services. Chatbots are life like text based online conversations to connect businesses with their customers. These conversations are possible on websites, Facebook messenger or on apps. They are intelligent conversations made possible through artificial intelligence and machine learning. If you think spending 45 minutes on the phone is absurd to take...

  • Breaking news: Visa, Fundamo unveil emerging markets MCommerce product

    Visa, the world’s largest credit and debit card network, has unveiled a new product that allows people to access a prepaid account through their mobile phone. The product, which appears to be nameless, was developed in conjunction with Fundamo, a leading South African mobile money platform bought out by Visa for $110m earlier this year. The mobile banking solution is aimed specifically at emerging markets and, according to Visa, offers "unbanked and under-banked" people in those regions a "secure, reliable, globally interoperable electronic payment account". "Reaching consumers who have previously lacked access to formal financial services with secure...

  • This Army: Gunning for the big time

    This Army first launched Tank five years ago as a hosted site-builder application in an already competitive DIY web publishing arena. Slowly but surely it gained a following in the local market, mostly spread by word-of-mouth amongst the creative crowd. The simple, minimal designs and a certain “less is more” approach has seen it gradually being adopted by everyone from photographers to galleries and wine farms. Tank empowered those with little to no web development skills to quickly and easily setup and create their own sites. Following this success This Army has spent the past 18 months developing...

  • Coachingmill.com brings online sports strategies to the masses

    It's a hard life being a coach. When the team wins, everyone's dreading your next loss. When your team loses, you are raked through the coals by anyone within earshot of your failure. Logically, startup CoachingMill.com navigates these wins and failures, turning it into pure strategy thanks to the magic of online coaching. Its aim is nothing short of becoming the premier, one-stop platform for coaches to complete their off-field work. Eventually CoachingMill will be in a prime, globally accepted position according to site's owner, Robbie Vos. CoachingMill.com is a sports coaching platform where coaches can view, create and share coaching...

  • Steve Jobs would never succeed in today’s Silicon Valley

    I recently watched a documentary on Steve Jobs called "One Last Thing". It was well done, mixing a fair bit of the good, the bad, and the ugly about the life of the man. There was also a lot of praise for the "marketing genius" of Steve Jobs. Then it struck me: If Steve Jobs were starting out today in Silicon Valley, he would have trouble getting funding because he's a "marketeer" -- not an engineer. Venture capitalists(VC) generally won't fund startups without a tech lead. For example, Mark Suster, a popular VC blogger, writes on his blog "Both Sides of the...

  • SA director wins digital innovation prize for mobile concept

    Hajira Cassim, a trainee South African director was announced as one of the winners in the Not-For-Profit Digital Innovators Award category at ITU Telecom World 2011. Cassim was a winner out of 45 finalists from 22 countries around the world. Held in Geneva, Switzerland, Telecom World is one of the globe's most important events, brought together by The United Nations' International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Cassim won the award for pitching the mobile-content-generation showmemobi model to an international investment panel, global leaders in technology, and an international audience via the internet. Cassim is part of the Film Industry Learner Mentorship (F.I.L.M.) MICT...

  • Motribe launches Indian payment platform

    Motribe, a mobile social network builder, with a focus on emerging markets recently launched a mobile payments and promotion platform for users in India. According to the company, users in India will now be able to head "to the new Motribe mobile tribe builder", to create a tribe and promote the tribe "on the Motribe portal". Users will have to pay for this ability, however, using the newly minted virtual currency, called Motribe Coins. What differentiates Motribe Coins from other kinds of virtual currency is the fact that people can purchase it using airtime. This is in line with Motribe's...

  • Start-up co-founders: 10 tips for choosing your significant other

    They say that starting a business with a partner is like a marriage. What they don't tell you is that if your marriage does really well it's like having a few hundred kids too. When things go wrong they can go really wrong, so here are ten tips for picking the right startup co-founder. Do not marry Lorena Bobbit The first and probably most obvious part of the selection process is to try avoid starting a tech company with a psychopath or someone who acts rashly and against the best interests of the people around them. You will...

  • Guzzle, a specials aggregator with heart

    Online coupons have their place, primarily as colossal repositories for random bargains. Guzzle, a self-funded South African venture wants to be your new favourite shopping companion by offering true value as it roots out discounts and product specials from newspapers, catalogues and other forms of print media. Guzzle is a "specials aggregator" which focuses on products offered by major South African retailers such as Game, Pick 'n Pay and Makro. The team collates information from the retail stores, lists the various deals and presents it as a searchable, online catalogue. The founders, Ricard Meulemans and Oliver Bryant began Guzzle a little...

  • Google announces Umbono winners

    Google’s startup incubator, Umbono, has officially launched with the announcement of its first set of winning teams. The pilot programme based in Cape Town, South Africa presented the teams in their new office space at an event on 1 November. The programme, a Google first worldwide, is being tested in Cape Town, South Africa which was chosen because Google believes the city is in “the process of positioning itself as a hub for innovation and technology”. Google's vice president of engineering, Nelson Mattos said that the Umbono project is part of Google's effort to grow its ecosystem in Africa. "We...

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