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Startups

  • Mobi.lity — A lifeline for railway commuters

    When civil engineer Justin Coetzee took a position as a public transport planner, he decided to leave his car parked at home and started taking the train to work in the morning. His daily route opened his eyes to the inconsistency of railway transport in his hometown of Cape Town, and in South Africa as a whole. The given timetable is unreliable. Commuters do not know when they will get to work or arrive home, nor are they privy to information about maintenance, cancellations and strikes. Instead of organising a riot he spent some time thinking about a solution. Trains break...

  • 6 Japanese startups worth keeping an eye on

    Given that Japan has some of the biggest tech companies on the planet, it's easy to overlook its startup scene. It's also probably fair to say that the country's emerging tech companies also don't get nearly as much press those from Silicon Valley, or even China and Russia. Thing is, once you take a step back from the massive corporates, there are some very exciting things happening in Japan. At a recent...

  • Google’s Page and Schmidt backing asteroid mining startup

    Wired is reporting that a group of intrepid billionaires will soon announce their new venture called Planetary Resources, Inc, “which plans to send swarms of robots to space to scout asteroids for precious metals and set up mines to bring resources back to Earth." Nope, this is not a movie, this is actually happening. “The resources of Earth pale in comparison to the wealth of the solar system," Eric Anderson who founded the commercial space tourism company Space Adventures, told Wired. Anderson is co-founder of Planetory Resources along with Peter Diamandis, who started the X Prize foundation, which offers prizes for...

  • Startups head to the cloud

    The excitement evoked by the word 'entrepreneurship' too often drains away when the business leaders of tomorrow start trying to turn their 'big idea' into reality. Along with challenges around securing funding, building a client base and finding skilled staff, the challenges around setting up the essential IT organs required for running a healthy and secure small business is possibly one of most daunting prospects. Beyond a great idea, two things drive successful startups: speed to market and keeping the burn rate to a minimum. The cloud can help startups do both and is quickly proving a competitive advantage. By...

  • 14 International events and a startup exchange for your calendar

    The last post I wrote featured seven, which later became nine, South African events worth attending to grow your startup. If you have started building a product or platform that you deem worthy of international exposure, which I’m sure it is, then you may want to attract the attention of investors, mentors and innovators worldwide. Here is a list of 14 events and a startup exchange programme you may want to consider: 1. South by Southwest (SXSW) One of the most talked about conferences is SXSW, whose focus is in music, independent films and emerging technologies. It is renowned for being...

  • ForgetMeNot Africa eTXT Apps Challenge: Win big in Zimbabwe

    If you’re a Zimbabwean tech entrepreneur, this might be of interest to you. A competition launching next week at the Harare Club of JumpStart -- the community driven initiative for tech entrepreneurs -- will enable developers to launch their apps and earn revenue from them on Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s biggest cellular operator with an estimated 6 million subscribers. The competition is called the ForgetMeNot Africa eTXT Apps Challenge. ForgetMeNot Africa (FMNA) is the company that partners with mobile operators to provide internet type services to users who don’t have smartphones or data connections. FMNA provides these services as part of...

  • All aboard the StartupBus: The pressure cooker startup incubator on wheels

    Bottle the following ingredients: the electric buzz of a Red Bull fueled hackerspace, the interpersonal caterwauling of a reality show and pressure, loads of pressure. Now, let it loose on a bus travelling at 60 miles an hour and you get StartupBus. StartupBus has been around for over two years now and it continues to bring together intrepid tech entrepreneurs, designers and developers who present ideas and develop working prototypes while in transit. Buses carrying these enterprising tech geeks meander towards a final destination, at which time a judging ceremony is held, recognising the best prototype. This all happens in...

  • 30 brilliant African tech startups

    The methodology behind this list of startups had two simple directives. First, the startup had to have African roots and secondly it had to be brilliant. More specifically, we were looking for that type of brilliance that exudes intelligence, talent, quality or simply, something fresh. Of course brilliance, like most things in life, is subjective, so we went into this journey with an open mind. Tabula rasa if you will and we hoped to recognise brilliance when we saw it. We did, over and over again. Why did we focus on Africa? The continent’s one-billion people are coming online and 600-million...

  • Super angel Fabrice Grinda on the emerging markets internet craze

    Fabrice Grinda is a well-known emerging markets super angel investor and entrepreneur. He’s crazy about the internet in the BRIC countries, especially Brazil and Russia. He is also the co-founder and current co-CEO of popular free online classifieds service OLX, a direct competitor of Craigslist. Memeburn caught up with the French entrepreneur to gain some insights into where the money is going in emerging markets. According to Grinda, Brazil and Russia are exciting markets for potential online and mobile investments. He also believes that South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are growing rapidly economically and present a great opportunity for...

  • 5 Tips for taking your tech startup from big idea to business success

    Throughout the world, and particularly in emerging market countries, the entrepreneurial landscape remains notoriously difficult to navigate, with an estimated 80% of small businesses failing to sustain themselves for a period of longer than five years. However, with an increasing percentage of jobs now being directly attributable to small business ventures, financial backers in both private and public sectors are slowly starting to acknowledge the substantial impact of entrepreneurial activity on a nation’s economy. Yet, in spite the rising global trend towards venture capitalist backing of tech startups, there remain very few such initiatives present in emerging markets. Can this...

  • From R50m to nothing: Lessons from the Global Vision story

    You hear this quite a bit in the start-up world: The thing about technology companies, or any company for that matter, is you have to “fail to succeed”. Many venture capitalists won’t invest in an entrepreneur who hasn’t failed at least once. Some start-ups rise from the ashes to develop into successful businesses. This is not always the case. Some fail, others thrive, some just evolve. Jon Jacobson, founder of high-profile Cape Town start-up Global Vision, rose to the top of his game, creating a company worth well over R45-million and employing around 90 people at its peak....

  • AngelHub: Investors come together to foster startup growth

    You may believe tech creates jobs, you may believe it destroys jobs. Whatever the case, we know that in the tech world we are seeing entrepreneurial activity like never before. It’s not surprising that there is so much written about venture capital and startups in the tech world, and that there are so many incubators popping up Enter AngelHub. Launched in September of last year, AngelHub connects early stage investors with capital seekers....

  • 8 Reasons hiring at a technology startup is tough

    I like to define a startup in a way that goes something like this: A startup in my world is a young company in a new, fast growing and evolving industry that could swing, change or be disrupted very quickly. The reason that it's relevant for me to lay out how I define a startup is because this definition is extremely important when considering hiring a team. It is often not as simple as hiring the best person for the job. It's much deeper and more complicated than a simple contract with leave allowances and a stable income. Hiring is tough...

  • 6 Things every startup should watch out for before signing with an investor

    "Yes, we would like to invest". The magic words that any startup owner loves to hear. Your idea is no longer just a seed in the back of your mind; it is about to be watered allowing it to blossom into the reality you always knew it could be. After the celebratory high fives and handshakes followed by the compulsory boozy lunch with your new best ‘investor’ friend, a term sheet or funding agreement arrives to formalise your relationship. The agreement is rather lengthy and contains some legal jargon; defining exactly when is the last day of the month, is important....

  • 10 Hot Indian startups you should know about

    From the world’s cheapest car to the world’s cheapest tablet, India has emerged as a hub of "Jugaad", a Hindi term which closely translates as "frugal innovation". Owing to its booming economy, growing middle class and a talent pool of highly skilled engineers, India has a thriving tech startup ecosystem. While there are thousands of startups across the country, we bring you a compilation of tech startups that have risen above the rest to be the talking points in the startup-technology community. Based on my conversations and interactions with entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders, these startups are shaping the way...