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  • 240m people to watch TV on smartphones by 2014 [Report]

    For large numbers of people, watching TV still entails having a fairly large piece of furniture in their living room. In the next few years though, it could just mean having a smartphone. According to UK-based tech analysis company Juniper Research, around 240-million people are set to watch TV on their smart devices by 2014. The company reckons that this growth will largely be driven by a combination of both increased smartphone penetration and, critically, an increasing usage of live and on-demand services both on TVs and PCs. Smartphones mean that you can take live TV with you. That’s particularly...

  • MXit launches its own geo-fenced payment system

    Think First National Bank's Geo-payments is cool? Well it's not the first. Apparently MXit has been doing it for a while. According to the Stellenbosch-based startup, its staff has been using a "geo-fenced mobile payment" system since early April. The application is called Gust and a Beta version is expected to be ready in June. MXit earlier this year announced its mobile payment system, dubbed M2, which it rolled out to restaurants, allowing users to pay for meals using the platform. MXit’s payments system previously worked as an in-app purchase model. Users could only purchase digital content from the platform. People...

  • Could paid connections be the future of social networking? [Net Prophet]

    Social networking hasn't quite lived up to its promise. It was supposed to flatten hierarchies and democratise networking. Theoretically, I'm just a few clicks and an email away from Richard Branson, so I should be able to have a conversation with him and do business. How hopelessly naive. The reality is that social networks mirror life and it's difficult to get the attention of busy, important people. Why? Because well-known and successful people have limited time and can't possibly give attention to everyone and everything -- and in fact the internet has made this even worse, not better. It's why...

  • 4 reasons big-time VCs are investing in emerging markets

    With technological advancements in developing nations speeding the growth rate of high impact tech start-ups, many American venture capital firms are now looking further afield to expand their investment portfolios. But what is driving this trend? 1. Lack of local funding There’s certainly no shortage of innovative ideas coming out of emerging market countries. Africa, China, Russia and many others are growing steadily, and are producing an ever-increasing number of tech success stories, many with an extensive global reach. However, the potential for innovation in these countries has been historically hampered by a lack of access to funding, based on an entrenched...

  • Social? The web’s always been social

    Long ago, before Facebook and Twitter; before MySpace even, there were simple html-rendered pages and IRC, and forums devoted to everything from discussing the finer points of Klingon grammar, to the very first pro-ana boards. Long ago, people were talking. They were having multiple, myriad, overlapping and multidimensional conversations about the things they loved to talk about. With people who understood them. And even better, wanted to hear what they had to say. Every misfit, freak, and geek, found a place to call home. Where their values were valued. Even the most fringe found a flock, was...

  • Net Prophet 2012 [Live blog]

    Net Prophet is a platform for ambitious, creative entrepreneurs and thought leaders to share their ideas and experiences with innovators in web-based businesses. Speakers at this year's event include CEO of Mobilitrix, Chris Rolfe, Christo Davel (CEO of 22seven) and social entrepreneur and co-founder of Oneleap Robyn Scott. var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Mobilitrix boss talks mobile rewards ahead of Net Prophet

    More and more people are opting for mobile coupons. Although vouchers are already very popular online, the overflow into mobile has now grown rapidly. This is in part due to mobile’s convenience and the global recession’s after-effects but mostly because everyone loves a bargain. Rewarding consumers via a mobile coupons or vouchers is gradually gaining in popularity. Something Chris Rolfe the CEO of Mobilitrix, a mobile marketing company that claims to "deliver intelligent mobile marketing solutions that quite simply reward loyalty", thinks is key. Rolfe is a former CEO of Virgin Active South Africa, and has previous digital media experience as...

  • Twitter brings mobile web version up to scratch

    Most of us are now used to the 'new new Twitter' which launched late last year. Anyone who accesses the social network from a feature phone is about to deal with the same adjustment. Twitter today announced that it has updated its mobile web site in what it says is an "effort to give every person on the planet a consistent Twitter experience". So, if the social network is to be believed, anyone using a feature phone or working on older browsers or low bandwidth networks can now do all the same things on Twitter as people using smartphones and...

  • FNB adds Geo-payments to mobile app, ignores NFC for now

    South African banking giant FNB has added a new feature to its app that allows users to make and receive payments when they're in close proximity without having to know each other's banking details. It may sound like voodoo, but it's actually pretty simple. The process, called Geo-banking, uses the GPS units built into all modern mobile devices to determine how close people are to each other and the app itself as authentication. At first Geo-payments was only available on iDevices, but is now available as an update on the Google Play store for Android devices. The update appears to...

  • Google+ Hangouts on Air now available to all

    Google Plus introduced Hangouts On Air last year to a limited number of broadcasters, which allowed them to "hangout" with many of their fans for all the world to see. The internet giant is now extending Hangouts On Air to everyone, according to a blog post by Google's Engineering Director, Chee Chew. "Today we're excited to launch Hangouts On Air to Google+ users worldwide. So if you have something to say—as an aspiring artist, a global celebrity, or a concerned citizen—you can now go live in front of a global audience," says Chew. The normal hangout feature on Google Plus only...

  • The Cameroon Startup Challenge: Is the next global company in Cameroon?

    Sanaga Ventures and VC4Africa are turning their sights to Cameroon to uncover the most innovative web, mobile or hardware-based startups. The Cameroon Startup Challenge offers a cash prize of US$5 000 and an opportunity to receive mentorship and incubation at ActivSpaces, Cameroon’s leading technology hub. “Innovation can come from anywhere in the world, and the next global company might very well be from Cameroon. We want to do what we can to make that happen”, says Ben White, founder of VC4Africa, the large online community of venture capitalists, angels and entrepreneurs that concentrate on developing businesses in Africa. Entries...

  • Facebook’s Yahoo! dodge: The best move in tech history?

    When Facebook's IPO goes into full swing next week, the company is expected to be valued at around US$100-billion. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg meanwhile is set to walk away with a valuation of around US$25-billion. That's a large number, but it could've been a lot smaller if Facebook hadn't made what may turn out to be one of the best dodge's in tech history. Back in 2006, Yahoo! tried to buy the company for US$1-billion. Today Yahoo! is valued at around US$18.5-billion. Yup that's right, in a week's time Zuckerberg will be worth more than Yahoo!. When Facebook's...

  • MPesa: What does Kenya’s mobile darling look like five years on?

    When MPesa launched five years ago, only the most optimistic would’ve thought that it would turn into the economic force of nature it is today. Today the mobile money service has around 15-million users and about a third of the Kenyan GDP passes through it. Some think that MPesa has disrupted entire economies and others that it is the only real economic disruptor of the 21st-Century. The numbers bear that kind of thought out too. People can deposit money into MPesa accounts from 70 countries around the globe, 25 banks are connected to the service and KSH 1.8-billion (US$22-million) is...

  • They’re watching you: Non-members of social networks are still products

    A few people I know have removed their Facebook profiles, in the interest of gaining back some sense of privacy. In fact, I even know a couple of people who have never signed up to a social network in the first place. Sometimes I envy these people, just because they are taking a stand against a growing phenomenon that is rapidly turning personal data into a commercial product. Still, I have often wondered how much of a difference it makes if you choose not to belong to something as ubiquitous as Facebook or Google+. Now, a group of boffins...

  • Five minutes with 22seven founder ahead of Net Prophet talk

    Online money management system 22seven blew into our collective consciousness at the beginning of this year under a controversial storm. Most of that controversy centered around the fact that the service allowed third-party applications to access users' banking details. The innovative startup is the brainchild of 20Twenty founder Christo Davel, and is billed as an "intelligent money-saving tool" that plugs directly and securely into users' personal bank accounts and then delivers analysis on spending habits. It’s one of the sexiest startups to launch on the African continent, with funds from multiple unnamed investors. Davel is a serial entrepreneur with a wealth...