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  • HealthQ: groundbreaking African startup launches, attracts funding, blows minds

    When we broke the story about HealthQ's open source metabolic chamber -- the first of its kind in the world -- we came away solemnly impressed by what a group of entrepreneurs from Stellenbosch, South Africa, managed to pull off on a limited budget. After its official unveiling today, we are now privy to HealthQ's impressive investor roster and how the metabolic chamber fits into HealthQ's plans. We knew that WooThemes co-founder Adii Pienaar was an investor, and that venture capital fund 4Di Capital was involved. Shortly after wealthy mining family, the Oppenheimers, invested in 4Di Capital’s venture fund for...

  • Company Office

    Callpay become first Level 1 Service Provider in Africa to achieve PCI DSS v3.2 compliance

    Callpay, a leading payment solutions provider, today announced that it has become the first Service Provider in Africa to achieve PCI DSS v3.2 compliance. The company recently underwent another rigorous audit by an independent Quality Security Assessor (QSA) to ensure that it meets the best practices and security controls needed to keep card data safe and secure from capture and transmit to processing. Callpay provides a unique range of innovative payment technologies, from its patent pending cloud call centre solutions, Bank Transfer Switch including its mPOS and mPAY Applications. Being a Level 1 PCI DSS compliant Service Provider ensure Callpay’s...

  • Entrepreneur diaries: Don’t be ashamed of building a sustainable business

    Editor’s Note: Nicholas Haralambous was the co-founder of mobile social network builder Motribe, which was recently acquired by Mxit for an undisclosed sum. The company was started two years ago with Vincent Maher and was invested in by local venture capital company 4Di Capital. He also recently started an environmentally friendly online sock shop. This is the third post in the series: "things I learned building a mobile startup in Africa". In the era of tech startups, raising a billion dollars and being bought for triple that after a few months, it is increasingly becoming uncool to build an organically...

  • Are the consumer web and enterprise splitting the VC herd?

    Dave McClure, the highly successful Silicon Valley Angel/Micro VC investor, published a passionate post about the prosperous future for the consumer web, and criticised other investors for moving away from the sector. McClure writes: Recent articles by the WSJ, Fred Wilson, & others are noting a shift in investor interest to enterprise and away from consumer. If true, this is a huge error... at least for entrepreneurs, angels, and smaller funds. There is no better time than the present to build cheap & scalable software-based businesses that make money. He points out that the business opportunities are far from over because of...

  • Protecting your inventions: IP and the perceptions of Kenyan startups

    Economies can lose billions of dollars due to piracy and IP infringement. Therefore, a country that values intellectual property (IP) can potentially create an excellent environment for IT innovation and economic growth. The 2008 survey conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed that Kenya could create 977 IT jobs and the local IT industry could contribute $73.60 million to GDP (an increase of $40.01 million) by reducing the current 80% software piracy rate by 10 percentage points over four years. Perhaps the most successful case of IP protection is the Indian software industry. Between 1994-95 and 2001-02, the industry’s gross...

  • Young entrepreneurial talent emerges from BlackBerry competition

    RIM is doing something really interesting in the education sector. While the Canadian headquartered BlackBerry manufacturer is preparing to launch its make-or-break Blackberry 10 platform, its efforts to grow its BlackBerry developer ecosystem in South Africa is continuing to cultivate entrepreneurs. RIM has established two BlackBerry apps labs in the country with which it hopes to both accelerate mobile apps development for its own platform, and to create new job opportunities in the mobile space. Recently, its apps lab at the University of Pretoria hosted a competition that uncovered young entrepreneurial talent from nine Gauteng high schools. More than 50...

  • 3 key online marketing tips for startups

    If you are building a consumer internet business, you have probably spent 90 percent of your time on product development, building a team, chasing funding, and defending your decision not to get a “real job” to your mother. If you are lucky, then you spent the other 10 percent getting some sleep. The one area of execution that I typically see startups least equipped to tackle is advertising. As I have written before, there is a dangerous and false notion that products sell themselves. They don’t. Your product will not go viral and anyone that bets the success of their startup...

  • SA’s Innovation agency approves R100m for venture capital fund

    Tech is the future and fostering innovation is in vogue. South Africa's Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) is in agreement. According to a Business Day report, the agency is dedicated to helping grow innovation in the country has approved a R100-million venture capital fund to help VCs help fund startups. According to the report, the agency -- which received an allocation of R433-million in this financial year -- has been under some strain questioning if this was part of its mandate. TIA was established in 2008 as an effort to bridge the innovation gad between ideas and executed products. The...

  • Why we’re not quite ready for the hardware startup renaissance

    "The Hardware Renaissance". It's unmissable. Paul Graham has noticed it and, certainly, my credit card has. Where once, entrepreneurs turned to software to form their 'next big thing', there is an increasing trend towards hardware in this space and, while many would seem to point to the likes of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms as the driving force behind this shift, I believe that the credit should really be handed to two guys in Cupertino who changed the way the world feels about hardware; Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive. Apple certainly wasn't the first company to introduce people to...

  • Tree planting social startup wins Enterprise Elevator pitch event

    The South African tech startup scene is burning up right now. At every corner there is a new startup competition attempting to pave the way for young entrepreneurs. Greenpop came out tops during the Enterprise Elevator pitch event yesterday. The event was part of an initiative that supports South African "entrepreneurs in the startup or early stage of their development to prepare for and secure an investment partner". Greenpop was one of six startups that pitched in front of a panel of judges, which included entrepreneurs and business people. "We received an overwhelming amount of entries for the pitch event...

  • Absa claims world first with mobile payments device for small businesses

    Absa has launched what it claims is a world first with the Payment Pebble -- a mobile payments device designed especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The device, scheduled for launch in 2013, is a partnership between the bank and South African payment innovations company thumbzup. It allows to accept debit or credit card payments using their smartphones or tablets in a similar fashion to the likes of Square in the US. Absa claims however that it is a "major improvement to card readers currently available in the market that ordinarily get attached to mobile phones to process merchant...

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