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  • Is Siyavula the answer to South Africa’s textbook crisis?

    What would the tech solution to the textbook crisis in South Africa be? One solution would be to use the open-source model to write the content and distribute it through all channels including mobile. Then, engage via social-media. That is exactly what Mark Horner and his team of 14 at Siyavula have done. Siyavula facilitated writing sessions with volunteers to produce South African curriculum aligned textbooks under an Open Copyright license. This content was then handed over to the South African Department of Basic Education for free. With huge economies of scale, Government printers were able to print 2.5 million...

  • Company Office

    IAB SA Bookmark Awards keeps pace with the ever-changing digital industry

    With only 10 days to go until the deadline for submissions to the IAB Bookmark Awards, digital marketers have one last chance to get their entries in and face off against the best in the industry. The awards continue to rise in prestige and have become the Academy Awards of the local industry – with one very particular difference. While so many other awards feature the same categories and subcategories every year, the Bookmarks have undergone an exciting revamp to reflect the dynamic nature of the digital space. The Bookmarks has, in a mere eight years of existence, established itself...

  • Remember China’s only US IPO of 2012? It’s doing rather well right now

    Remember VIPShop (NYSE:VIPS), the Chinese flash eCommerce sales site that’s the only company from China to list fully in the US this whole year? After an initial rough ride right after its IPO debut at $6.50 per share in March, it’s now having a superb week and closed yesterday at $8.00, giving it a market cap of $404.55 million.Chinese media have been having a field day with that latter stat, highlighting that it takes VIPShop higher in value than the Amazon-esque eCommerce site Dangdang (NYSE:DANG), which was the first Chinese B2C e-tailer to go public in the US. VIPShop...

  • What’s for dinner? Decide with Daily Dish, the service that shops for you

    Daily Dish is as a menu planning and grocery shopping service for "busy people" who want to eat delicious, cook-it-yourself food at home. We'd venture that it's also a godsend for South Africans looking to improve their culinary skills. Launched in September this year, Daily Dish allows "ordinary home cooks" to select dishes from a weekly menu; the ingredients and step-by-step recipes for these dishes are then delivered, same day, if the orders are placed before 10AM. Daily Dish co-founder Diane de Villiers tells us that the service was born out of "pure personal frustration." She paints the all too familiar...

  • Google for Entrepreneurs: a boon for emerging market startups

    Google reckons there are about 400 million entrepreneurs out there in the world and it wants to see that number increase. The search giant recently celebrated its 14th birthday by launching Google for Entrepreneurs, a hub for its several dozen programmes and partnerships that support startups and entrepreneurs. The initiative that aims to boost entrepreneurial activities within local communities has projects running in 30 countries around the world including those in emerging markets such as India, South Africa, Kenya, Israel, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Egypt, Morocco, Russia and Brazil. Google also supports Startup Weekend, the 54 hour weekend incubators...

  • Art.sy: For the art lover and the art interested

    You know how Spotify and iTunes can tell the kind of music you might like based on previous purchases and listening habits? The same way Foursquare can tell you what restaurants you might like, ever wish there was a tool like that for art? Now there is and it's called Art.sy. Art.sy, is a genome project for art. Think Pandora for art. According to Pandodaily, the New York company has been building its art "database of tagged and categorized works of art" since 2010. "Art.sy’s mission is to make all the world’s art freely accessible to anyone with an internet...

  • 5 Ghanaian startups recognised at inaugural TopApps Awards

    Ghana, a strong West African tech startup region, played host to the first ever TopApps Awards ceremony, held in Accra last week. The ceremony recognised leading web and mobile applications in 10 categories and were decided through a mix of public voting and deliberation by judges. Of the 65 nominees, MEST incubator startup Dropifi walked away as overall winners, followed by 233Law, winner of two categories. Dropifi The team behind Dropifi are re-imagining one of the web’s oldest and most resolute elements, the “Contact us” form. The Dropifi solution consists of a website plug-in, optional QR code (for print-outs) and an analytics tool....

  • 5ounces: flash sale eCommerce for gourmet food and wine lovers

    There's a new gourmet food and wine eCommerce site on the block, and it's called 5ounces -- the name refers to the standard, one-fifth measurement of a bottle of wine. Launched in August of this year, 5ounces is inspired by the flash sale model of Gilt Taste and the artisanal wine offerings of Lot 18. Founder Trevor Gosling says that 5ounces aims to provide South African consumers with gourmet produce and premium wines at significantly reduced prices. A quick scan over the site reveals price reductions on Platter four and five star wine half-cases of close to 50%. A...

  • Meet OuterEdit: the startup all about online collaborative art

    The internet has impacted our lives in a number of different ways, but its function as a collaborative space is one of the most exciting, bringing together great minds over great distances. This advancement has touched the art community as well. And one young startup out of Singapore, OuterEdit, is a good example of what kind of amazing things can happen when artists meet online to work on projects together. We spoke to OuterEdit’s Ryan Tan to find out more about how this collaborative design process works, and how it all got started. What exactly is OuterEdit? Ryan: OuterEdit is a new online graphic...

  • Innovative competition sees startups compress a pitch into a tweet

    Pitching your startup isn't easy. You've got to be concise and able to say what you do and why you should be given funding in as few words as humanly possible. But, forget about elevator pitches, what would happen if you had to do it in a 140 characters or fewer? That's exactly what angel investment group AngelHub decided to find out when it held its recent #Twitch competition. The competition saw startups pitching themselves via Twitter for a chance at winning a ticket to Tech4Africa, a top African tech conference. Here's the winning tweet: No paper. No red tape....

  • Are startups with a female executive more likely to succeed?

    It seems that behind every successful startup you are likely to find a high-powered female executive -- or so says a report from Dow Jones. The report, titled "Women at the wheel: do female executives drive start-up success?" explores a few questions around women's roles at startups. The report doesn't really explain why women seem to make companies more successful, just that they do. It also poses some interesting questions about the influence of women in the startup world. What industries have women influenced? How have women on management teams affected exit options? At what stage do women join startups?...