• BURN MEDIA
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

All posts by Vanessa Clark

  • The 15 most valuable emerging market technology companies on Wall Street

    Wall Street, home to Gordon Gecko, the Smurfs ringing the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) bell and eye-wateringly large initial public offering (IPO) valuations. It is home to the two largest bourses in the world by capitalisation, the NYSE and Nasdaq respectively. Unsurprisingly, the 20 most valuable emerging market technology companies listed on either the NYSE or Nasdaq originate in Asia. (I haven't included the telecoms giants from South America -- which are listed as public utilities.) South Africa’s Wall Street listings are all in the mining sector, but its top technology contender, MTN Group, listed on the Johannesburg Stock...

  • Google’s African affair: An internet giant puts its money where its mouth is

    At the start of last year I wrote an article for Memeburn with the only slightly tongue-in-cheek headline: “Instead of smallpox Google is colonising Africa with ‘cool stuff’”. As a rule I tend to prefer African solutions for African problems, and am also always somewhat sceptical of geeks bearing gifts (sorry!). Twenty months later, I need to concede that it does look as if Google is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to the African continent. It has offices in eight African countries and has launched, whether intentionally or not, products that have the potential to...

  • 8 African mobile money services that aren’t MPesa

    No, I’m not going to talk about MPesa, you can read all about the Kenyan grandfather of mobile money here, here and here. Rather, let’s look at other key mobile money products across the rest of the continent, as well as some up-and-coming, ones-to-watch that will be demo’ing at DEMO Africa in Nairobi later this month. 1. Zimbabwe’s EcoCash According to Econet, almost two-million Zimbabweans do all their business using EcoCash transfers and the service “moves millions of dollars every day from urban to rural areas” which has helped to “revitalise the rural economy.” The one-year-old mobile money transfer service from...

  • Why African social networks kick Facebook’s mobile experience in the ass

    Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the rest of their ilk are taking over the world, right, and forming a homogenous mass of consumer data and eyeballs across the globe from which no one can escape. Or not. Definitely not when one considers the local and regional social networks springing up, particularly in Africa. A key differentiator of these networks is often that they better serve the mobile market -- usually because this is their primary or only market -- whether on smartphones or not so smart phones. Those of us still mentally tethered to our desktops and laptops often forget what a shoddy...

  • Online piracy: how African innovators are tackling music’s biggest scourge

    Despite a cat’s cradle of challenges around digital rights and payments, not to mention the constant threat of piracy, digital music is seen as a large opportunity for African musicians and mobile industry players, according to speakers at the Mobile Entertainment Africa 2012 conference held in Cape Town this week. General sentiment is that making digital music more available will go a long way to thwarting piracy. According to Yoel Kenan, founder and CEO of AFRICORI, a digital music company specialising in emerging markets, up to 90% of music consumed online is not strictly legal, thanks both to piracy and...

  • How Google and its partners are making the web safer for SA kids

    Google South Africa recently launched an initiative to co-ordinate the efforts of government, industry and civil society to make the internet a safer place for children in South Africa. The launch coincided with Child Protection Week and International Children's Day on 1 June. It was applauded by a range of stakeholders, including the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities; the Department of Communications; the Film and Publications Board and Childline SA. As well as the co-ordination effort, the search giant also launched the South African version of its Family Safety Centre which is available in English, Afrikaans and...

  • Google SA to launch online child safety initiative

    Google South Africa will announce on Friday the launch of a local child safety initiative. The search giant says that it and its partners will create a safe cyberspace for children to engage with technology as well as empower parents and guardians with tools to help them choose what content their children see online. Partners include the South African Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD), the Department of Communications, the Film and Publications Board (FPB), youth-based social network Mxit, Childline South Africa and UNICEF. Google says that Friday's launch is the first step in an ongoing online child...

  • Fibre to the home: lessons from Kenya

    With i3 Africa’s announcement earlier this month that fibre to the home was finally going to be a reality for South Africans, I thought it high time we checked in with the FTTH pioneers in sub-Saharan Africa, the Wananchi Group, to see how its Zuku service has been received in East Africa. You may remember the Zuku triple-play service (voice, data and TV) was announced mid-2010 to much gnashing of teeth and shaking...

  • Instead of smallpox Google is colonising Africa with ‘cool stuff’

    Sitting at the southern tip of Africa you get used to giving a resigned shrug and half-smile when the entire continent gets lumped into something called ROW (rest of world), especially when it comes to scheduling the release dates of new technology. Which is why part of me is almost pathetically grateful for Google’s hands-on approach in Africa. On the other hand, it seems that Google really has set its sights on Africa and is determined to take over the continent … digitally in any case. Granted, the search giant is being very nice about it. Previously colonists arrived with small...