Life after t-shirts: Ventureburn gets the exclusive behind Springleap’s pivot

Springleap Springleap made a name for itself selling t-shirts based on crowdsourced designs. It was more or less an African version of Threadless, with artists’ designs voted on by the Springleap community and the winning design emblazoned on t-shirts which go up for sale. While the company claims to have been reasonably successful, founder Eran Eyal decided that it was time for a change. Speaking to Ventureburn, Eyal detailed how he took complete control of the company and set about transforming it ...

Africa, Startups

Tech farming startup wins IBM’s SmartCamp [Tech4Africa]

Smartfarm screenshot Smart farming startup, SmartFarm has been announced as the winner of this year's IBM SmartCamp Africa as part of the company's Global Entrepreneurship program. The competition which was held in conjunction with the Tech4Africa conference and Angel investment network AngelHub. Every year IBM puts together SmartCamp sessions that showcase some of the world’s most promising startups and the companies have to be less than five years old. "IBM SmartCamps judge the best startup companies in different cities around the globe, rewarding ...

Africa, Startups

Small town, many startups: 6 ventures Stellenbosch should be very proud of

Stellenbosch Mountains, wine and more wine. These are the three things the small Western Cape student town Stellenbosch is probably most well-known for. Those, and the university of course, are responsible for creating an environment that inspires and stimulates innovation. Needles to say, the town has seen its share of startups. Below is a list of some interesting Stellenbosch-based startups that I found very interesting. Apart from the fact that the Stellenbosch University is probably one of the greatest contributors to fostering ...

BurnMedia TV

Startup Blitz: listen to friends, coaches, music in water with Stroke Tech

stroke tech startup blitz This week's Startup Blitz features hardware startup Stroke Tech. Founders Thys Pretorius (CEO) and Matt Pretorius (Sales and Social Media) applied bone conduction technology -- which sends sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull -- to a modern use: water sports communication and entertainment. Currently Stroke Tech has two prototypes, a communication device which allows a swimmer/surfer/kite boarder et al, to hear instructions from a coach, or listen to their friends all the while keeping their ear ...

Conferences, Ecommerce

Connected consumers and ecommerce: turning obstacles into opportunities [T4A]

Online buying There's no denying that being a retailer in 2013 is a whole different chapter in the how-to-run-a-successful-store handbook. Your customers used to wander through the aisles of your nicely plotted and polished shop, now they're asking questions on Facebook, expecting your site to give them all the information they need on whatever device they choose and taking to Twitter to complain when their order takes an extra day to arrive. They know what they want, how they want it and ...

Africa, Startups

Investors need to rethink funding in Africa [T4A]

t4a ibm "In Africa if someone gives you US$100 000, you have to succeed," says Angel Africa co-founder Eric Osiakwan. Startup funding in Africa is a much talked about issue and the way tech financing is done is becoming a constant point of conversation due to Africa's tech boom. Osiakwan, who was speaking at the IBMSmartCamp workshop at this year's Tech4Africa conference, argues that the way Africa does startup financing needs to be rethought. "Africa has moved from the consumption of technology to the ...


Tuluntulu: streaming video for Africa’s broadband-starved masses

tuluntulu logo While developed markets around the world are racing to saturate their territories with high-speed broadband connections, African nations are lagging behind. In South Africa, a consortium funded by the TIA (Technology Innovation Agency) consisting of the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), UCT (University of Cape Town) and ECA (East Coast Access) has emerged with a mobile streaming platform called Tuluntulu (meaning "stream" in Zulu), that allows for video streaming on GSM/EDGE networks that operate at speeds below 50kbps. As ...


Meet the six startups battling it out at IBM’s SmartCamp [Tech4Africa]

ibm smartcamp Every year IBM puts together SmartCamp sessions that showcase some of the world's most promising startups. This year, the pitching sessions for the Africa leg of SmartCamp took place at the Tech4Africa conference. "IBM SmartCamps judge the best startup companies in different cities around the globe, rewarding the winners with mentoring, services, access to industry experts and deeper partnership opportunities from IBM, venture capital firms and industry partners, says Paul Brunet, Vice President of ISVs, Startups and Academic Programmes for ...


Starting a company is like dating: assumptions kill your chances [T4A]

startup dating t4a "Starting a company is like dating, sometimes you just don't fit," says Gavin Symanowitz of Feedback Rocket. Speaking at the Tech4Africa conference, Symanowitz argues that a lot of the time starting a company is more about wanting to disrupt an industry rather than strategically thinking about implementation. "Startup entrepreneurs like to think they’ll launch their new idea to the world and it will be a resounding success," says Symanowitz. "In reality, however, 'no battle plan survives contact with the enemy'. Inevitably, ...

Africa, Conferences

Africa is rising, but will we rise together? Africa Summit 2013 at a glance

Africa Summit 2013_lead image The 2013 Africa Summit (#AfricaSummit), hosted by the Omidyar Network in Mauritius, took place last week on 2 October where delegates from around Africa assembled to discuss the Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa report compiled by the philanthropic foundation established by Pierre Omidyar, in partnership with global strategy consulting firm, Monitor Group, and published in April this year. The in-depth report, arguably the most comprehensive entrepreneurship study done in Africa, was discussed at last year's Africa Summit held in Accra, Ghana, where ...