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  • Pivot East 2015 crowns 5 best mobile startups in East Africa

    Going on its fifth year, regional pitching competition and conference Pivot East 2015 has revealed the top mobile startups of East Africa this week. Ranging from mobile categories in entertainment to enterprise, four of the winning companies hail from Kenya and one from Rwanda. Apart from the recognition, the five winners will receive a 12 months free service of up to 10 000 Kenyan Shillings per month in Angani credits, while all the other finalists will receive a three-month free service for up to 5 000 Kenyan Shillings per month in Angani credits. As listed in the announcement, below are the winning...

  • Company Office

    Be good at being wrong… and getting it right quickly

    Even the best entrepreneurs get things wrong from time to time. Launching a business is a learning process, and you are bound to go down dead ends and change direction here and there, says CEO of Nomanini, Vahid Monadjem.  One of our investors, Esther Dyson, has the words “Always make new mistakes!” in her email footer. Being wrong is pretty much unavoidable when you’re doing something new. You have to work with a mixture of facts and assumptions. You don’t have a crystal ball, but you have to take a view. And even if a solution or a strategy is...

  • 6 tips for kickstarting your first ecommerce site

    Joining the world of electronic commerce may seem daunting if you’re running a small business, but it is easier than ever to get up-and-running with a digital storefront. And with consumers looking for online convenience, allowing them to browse, order and pay online can give your business an edge in a competitive market. Here are a few ideas on how to get started: 1. Begin with a business plan If you’re thinking about taking your business online, you should start by drawing up a business plan for your e-commerce site. Think about your value proposition and how it could translate into the...

  • African Angel bootcamps to mobilise early-stage investors

    By partnering with a range of prominent industry influencers, the African Business Angel Network hopes to mobilise early-stage investors this year. The initiative is running a series of Angel Investor Bootcamps to be held in some of Africa's most buzzing cities -- Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town. In run-up to one of the continent's largest pan-African startup pitch events, DEMO Africa, the bootcamps will consist of a master-class, expert sessions, the presentation of research material and in-depth case studies. The events are organised by the US State Department, VC4Africa, Intercontinental Trust and the LIONS Africa Partnership. Lagos, Nigeria -- 31 July The master-class will be conducted...

  • Emerging markets mobile micro-insurer BIMA scores $38.4m in funding

    Emerging markets-focused provider of mobile-based micro-insurance BIMA has raised US$38.4-million in Series C funding from its existing shareholders. According to BIMA, the capital will be used to fuel new market entry across the regions as well as scaling its ‘Pay-As-You-Go’ distribution model, in which the company sells direct to the consumer. The company says that the investment will also support innovation and product development with a focus on expanding the MFI offering and development of BIMA’s mobile-delivered health services. Read more: Micro-finance: the fuel or fall of entrepreneurship in emerging markets? According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, BIMA provides...

  • How important is Kenya in Africa’s growing startup scene?

    With US President Barack Obama expected to open the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya on Saturday, the East African country has seen a lot of attention of late. In a media briefing on Tuesday Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta said about 1 400 delegates are expected at the summit, which runs until Sunday. Much of Kenya's fame has come from mobile money platform M-Pesa (developed in the UK), which has allowed any one, including those in rural areas, to send and receive payments by cellphone. Added to this, a number of accelerators and incubators have cropped up in recent years in Nairobi (the...

  • Meet NicheStreem: SA’s curated streaming service for music lovers

    Just two blocks up the road from where she pitched her latest startup at a Seedstars World event, sits the headquarters of NicheStreem -- entrepreneur Catherine Lückhoff's music- streaming play. Launched in March this year, NicheStreem has developed a technology that enables it to provide unique, curated music streams for specific markets around the globe and looks set to make waves in the global online music industry, one niche community at a time. The idea that "niche doesn't necessarily equal small" resonates strongly with the startup's business philosophy. Its first product app is a proof-of-concept called Liedjie, which will focus solely on...

  • Nigerian VC fund 440 announces Deal Weekend Lagos

    This August, Nigeria-focused venture capital fund 440 will host a 24-hour event called Deal Weekend Lagos where startups will compete to receive equity investment of between US$100 000 and US$250 000. The event has so far confirmed the following investors: Kresten Buch of 88mph, Chika Nwobi of L5Lab, Elo Umeh of Twinpine Mobile and Bastian Gotter of iRoko. Buch, who's also the co-Founder of 440, explains that the initiative generally looks to support small teams that lack experience and the network necessary to quickly grow their businesses. He adds: "The selected startups will be at the frontier of the evolving mobile/web industry...

  • When do startups stop being startups?

    At Tech in Asia we often come across well-funded companies that have been in existence for a number of years, but began as a startup. Personally, I used to think the term “startup” simply referred to an immature technology business, or a small company starting out on their journey to success. But flying in the face of this logic are world-renowned entities like Xiaomi, Didi Kuaidi, and US companies Airbnb and Uber. They’ve all been referred to as startups, but at some point they clearly managed to graduate to fully-fledged giants. Surely there must be some way we can distinguish...

  • Seed Academy launches ebook to guide entrepreneurs through funding process

    Access to funding is a massive issue for South African startups. In fact, the 2015 Ventureburn Startup Survey showed that many entrepreneurs consider it their biggest obstacle to growth. News that Seed Academy has launched an ebook aiming to guide entrerpeneurs through the funding process should therefore probably come as welcome. Called The Essential Guide to Funding in South Africa, the guide was developed in response to the findings of the incubators own survey, launched earlier this year. “It is clear from Seed Academy’s first startup survey, and after training hundreds of entrepreneurs, that raising funds is the most...

  • Barclays Africa launches accelerator for health and fintech startups

    Barclays Africa today announced the launch of its Tech Lab Africa accelerator programme aimed a startups in the health and fintech spaces. The programme, which will bring in a crop of 10 startups, is just the latest example of a big financial institution trying to ramp up its efforts in the entrepreneurial space. “In order to compete, Barclays Africa needs to connect, shape and scale with these new industry players. We are looking for big, fresh ideas that promise to shake things up - be this in the financial services industry, the health sector, or anywhere else,”...