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  • Startup from Ghana pitches at TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 [Video]

    I'm on a Ghanaian email tech list and, opening my email recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a Ghanaian team was pitching at TechCrunch Disrupt. Saya is an app for texting. That mixes SMS, Facebook chat and hyperlocal findability to get in conversations with those near you. They’re on Android, BlackBerry and waiting for their iPhone app to be approved. Robert’s pitch revolves around the 5.8 billion non-smartphones in the world, and how that market has needs that need to be addressed by apps like their own. It provides ways to communicate via SMS in a much more elegant...

  • Company Office

    SA sees strong growth in digital ad-spend

    While some traditional media struggles, digital ad-spend in South Africa has witnessed powerful growth. The latest full year (2015) digital advertising spend report released by PwC on behalf of the IAB SA illustrates that the local industry has moved beyond the R3.4-billion spend (invoiced) mark in 2015. This translates to 36% overall year-on-year growth. Certain sectors have witnessed exponential development. In terms of the PwC classification, mobile saw the biggest growth at 182%, followed by online at 68% and search at 22% (Search for 2014 was restated by PwC referencing the PwC Entertainment and media outlook: 2015 – 2019). South...

  • Meet the company that’s building Asia’s startup database

    I was lucky to have been recently introduced to the folks at Creww.me here in Tokyo . The Japan-based company has some big goals, aiming to collect a database of startups in Japan and around the Asia region – something that is certainly much needed. I had a chance to speak with Sorato Ijichi, its CEO and founder; as well as Kozue Ishii, who is Creww’s public relations representative. Kozue elaborated little bit more about what they have been doing so far, as well as plans that they have for helping out local startups around the region. h3 {margin-top:8px;} What is...

  • Why your startup shouldn’t be afraid to scupper a flagship project

    Something special happened on the tech scene recently. A well-respected company publicly admitted that its flagship project was no longer working right and discontinued it. German task management startup 6Wunderkinder announced that it would no longer be pursuing the development of its project management app, Wunderkit, choosing instead to focus on its list management app Wunderlist which has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams. It’s not a particularly unusual story but the way that it was handled was both graceful and revealing. The company blog reveals that “Since Wunderkit launched in February earlier this year, we have had good sign...

  • If I see another Chinese eCommerce startup, I may get sick

    It seems like one in every three startups I come across these days — especially in China — is an e-commerce startup. I understand why this is the case. People look at companies like Alibaba and think, ‘holy cow, there’s an awful lot of money to be made here.’ Or they look at a company like La Miu working in a niche and think, ‘hey, there’s room for me in there.’ No, there isn’t. Also, I hate you. I get that you want to do a startup, but China has e-commerce sites, both big and niche. Your idea for a...

  • Slick, two-step brand mobiliser MHub courting restaurant owners

    There are many, many services that allow you to create a free mobile site for your business. Few however, are as slick as MHub, a South African born service that makes it desperately simple to "mobilise" your brand. Ventureburn took the service for a spin and created a very smooth looking mobile site for Memeburn, Ventureburn's sister site, in a matter of minutes. The site automagically resizes itself according a viewer's browser window, which keeps the MHub mobisite looking good on both smartphones and tablets. The team at MHub announced today, the introduction of "mobi widgets", the first of which is...

  • Pitching 101: lessons from a Startup Weekend

    The power of the pitch cannot be denied, and for many entrepreneurs who participated in the recent Startup Weekend Cape Town event, the hard truths about what works and what doesn't hit home. The event is unique in many ways -- most of all is that entrepreneurs and innovators have to convince fellow participants that their idea is a winner, and thereby gain their support and buy-in for an intense 48-hour process to refine these startup ideas. Throughout the weekend the teams have the opportunity to develop and hone their business concepts with mentorship from seasoned industry experts. One such expert...

  • 40 African news innovators you need to know about

    Google has just announced the finalists in its African News Challenge, a project aimed at strengthening and transforming African news media. Forty digital journalism projects have been shortlisted as finalists from a pool of 513 applicants. The applications screened by a technical review panel that evaluated which projects have the best potential for strengthening and transforming African news media. Short-listed finalists include proposals to improve data-driven investigative journalism and the security of journalists or their sources, as well as improve audience engagement, mobile news distribution, data visualization, new revenue models and workflow systems. The challenge's funders and partners...

  • Vinny Lingham’s Gyft launches, is TechCrunch Disrupt finalist

    Back in April we gave you an exclusive peek at ex Yola chief Vinny Lingham's new startup Gyft. Now you can try it out yourself following the social gifting service's launch at TechCrunch Disrtupt San Francisco. Lingham, who started Gyft after resigning as CEO of his successful website builder and hosting service Yola, officially announced the launch on his blog. According to the South African-born entrepreneur, the company also "confirmed for the first time that we raised our financing from Google Ventures, 500 Startups, Founder Collective (and more)". Gyft is a mobile gift card app that allows users to store,...

  • IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program extended to South Africa

    This is big. IBM South Africa today confirmed that its Global Entrepreneur Program will for the first time, be extended to entrepreneurs in South Africa. Startups that are privately held, have been in business for five years or less and are actively engaged in developing a software based product or service, are being called on to sign up for this global initiative. “The Global Entrepreneur Programme is focused on helping early stage entrepreneurs to capture emerging business opportunities, especially in fast growing industries such as energy, utilities, healthcare and telecommunications. We are looking to convert startups to speed-ups by providing...

  • African incubator encourages social entrepreneurship to improve young lives

    Ventureburn readers from Chad, DRC, Rwanda, Senegal and Tanzania might find this compelling. GSM network Millicom, operating under the Tigo brand, and non-profit organisation Reach for Change, are launching a programme to improve the lives of children in the aforementioned African countries, through social entrepreneurship -- creating innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems. Social entrepreneurs with the strongest and most promising ideas will be invited to join a three year incubator programme where they will work on transforming their ideas into sustainable ventures. The entrepreneurs chosen to join the incubator will receive salary funding as well as mentoring...