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Startups

  • 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....

  • Gatfol: Google, Yahoo! and Bing are OK, we can make them better

    Search engines get you the results you want 80% of the time. That’s according to a South African startup called Gatfol (pronounced Gat fole, not like the Afrikaans Gatvol) which will soon be launching its first product to help you get closer to 100%. Gatfol may seem like an odd name for a startup, but its US patented semantic search algorithm certainly isn’t. Rooted in natural language processing or NLP, the free Gatfol...

  • 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. The funds,...

  • 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...

  • 9 Questions and answers about successful startups – Harvard study

    Ever wondered what makes one startup succeed while another fails? Well a team of brains from Harvard Business School has put together a fascinating working paper called Performance Persistence in Entrepreneurship which answers questions related to just this. We scoured the 35 page document and found the following pearls of wisdom. Question: Are serial entrepreneurs more likely to succeed than first time entrepreneurs? Answer: Yes. All things being equal, the paper states that a VC backed entrepreneur who succeeds in a venture (by the paper’s definition, starts a company that goes public) has a 30% chance of succeeding in a follow up...

  • Silicon Valley’s dirty little startup secret

    In San Francisco cafes and bars, even on the street, I overhear people talking about their startup ideas, business plans, and goals. And there are tons of incubators, Angels, wannabe Angels, VC firms, making investments in startups. And there’s lots of money being made, especially among the Super Angels, the incubators such as Y Combinator, the micro-VCs, and people such as Jeff Clavier, Dave McClure, who have made fortunes selling startups to larger companies. Sometimes startup teams can go from seed to exit in under a year. For the investors, making dozens of $10K to $25K seed investments, can be tremendously...

  • Why 22Seven is most probably, but not necessarily, safe

    After reading one too many ignorant articles and tweets about how personal financial management startup 22Seven must be safe because Yodlee is safe and so on — I cracked. I banged out a bunch of tweets in quick succession with the hash tag combination #22Seven my #2c. The response was interesting, ranging from “love your work” to respected tech journalist Simon Dingle’s “How do you know I’m not a computer scientist? And why does that matter? Do you have to be a chef to know when food is good?”. I want Dingle’s tweet to be an entry point to...

  • 10 African tech startups worth watching

    It’s practically a tradition to follow a post like this with a good old-fashioned flame-war where everyone reveals his or her own sense of inadequacy. In order to save time I’d like to encourage you to stop reading now and skip to the bottom and start doing that right away; that way I can continue by typing Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet and get away with it. Disclaimers: I have left out Motribe, my own company, because I think that would legitimately earn me some flames. I have also left out all the usual suspects from South Africa...