• 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!

Startups

  • $400m for the startup scene in Lebanon raises more questions than it brings solutions

    How to be innovative in a country where two decades of civil war and rather noisy neighbours such as Syria keep the focus of media on bombings, turmoil and refugees is a tall order. This is the task the Central Bank of Lebanon tries to answer with its circular 331, which put US$400-million on the table earlier this year, just for startups. This is one percent of the GDP and, as attractive as it may look, it doesn't go without a lot of skepticism as well. Let's zoom back to know how such a big bet finds its place in...

  • At R50 a pop, this site wants to be the marketplace for all skills and talents

    What are you willing to do for R50? “I will design your book cover … for R50″, “I will install WordPress so you can build your own website … for R50″ or design your business cards and so forth. These are all micro-jobs people are willing to do on For A Fifty — a new site that hopes to change the way people distribute their skills and businesses outsource tasks. Launched on 25 August 2014 by Noleen Mariappen, For A Fifty is an online marketplace where people can offer services, skills or knowledge for R50 (about US$5). It currently seems to...

  • 6 breakthrough startups set to disrupt the news industry

    In April this year, Memeburn picked ten innovative Knight News Challenge entries that had the potential to propel the news industry forward. The “Networks" leg of the competition required entrants to innovate on top of existing social media and other services to create new ways for informing and engaging communities. The Knight Foundation recently announced the winners of the first round at the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference. The winning ventures will receive US$1.37-million in funding as well as support from the Knight Foundation’s network of peers and advisers. The second round of the competition aims to spur innovation in its “Data"...

  • Privly: Organise your next coup online, in total privacy

    There's a Kickstarter project I want you to know about. It's called Privly and it's a defiant kick to the face of oppressive governments. The Privly proof of concept works as a browser plugin and will allow you to view and post encrypted content on any website -- Twitter, Facebook, Google+, even Gmail. Let your imagination run wild. Taking Twitter as an example, you write a tweet -- 140 characters or more -- right click and select "Post to Privly." The text of your tweet gets sent to (and stored on) the Privly servers which return a link, for...

  • What does running a startup feel like?

    Someone recently asked what it felt like to run a startup. It's an interesting question, because you constantly get peppered with advice on how to choose your partners, what sins to avoid committing, and what events to go to but never get told how you'll feel. It's not an easy subject to tackle with any brevity -- emotions are, after all, complex -- but I've given it my best shot. First off, it's very tough to sleep most nights of the week. Weekends don't mean anything to you anymore. Closing a round of financing is not a relief. It...

  • Primer: Programming languages & databases. Which is best for startups?

    According to the TIOBE index you’re more likely to overhear a Java, PHP, Python, Perl or Ruby developer riffing on an idea for a new web startup, than, let’s say, a PL/SQL developer. Programming languages are developer community argots. To me, the lesser-known lexicon of Oracle’s PL/SQL has been a subject of study for quite some time. I love it. Far beyond its corporate pedigree, I've seen it being used to build an online music store, course search database and microblog. Perhaps I’m partisan, then again, perhaps so are you. But, despite being part of disparate developer communities, we are...

  • Run a startup, travel the world, defy convention: Q&A with Chris Guillebeau

    Building a startup on-the-go while you travel the world may seem unlikely. The status quo would have us believe it borders on the impossible. Thing is, Chris Guillebeau has done just that. Oh and he also writes books and evangelically spreads his unconventional ideas on entrepreneurship and startup communities. The word "unconventional" is actually a pretty accurate description of Guillebeau. The American entrepreneur reckons you can build a startup for less than US$100 and even wrote a book explaining how. His popular blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, focuses on travel and personal development topics and meshes with his personal mission...

  • Between: the world’s most popular private network for couples

    If you are among those who think social networking is becoming too noisy and intrusive, then there is a solution. It's a private social network that allows you to communicate with your partner in a private, intimate way. No it's not Pair. In fact, it predates the cutesy social effort that's been grabbing headlines in the tech press. Between is an app developed by South Korean startup VCNC. It provides a quick chat option between couples, as well as photo album and messaging functions. Although there are other similar apps gaining popularity, it is by far the most successful...

  • mmMule: Deliver things and have an adventure, do some good

    "For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay your welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience." That quote from the cult movie, The Beach embodies the whimsical spirit of mmMule, a startup that rewards you for delivering things to people on your travels. mmMule is essentially a crowdsourced courier service. As it depends on a healthy helping of chance and serendipity, it’s not a real replacement for postal and courier services,...

  • What gaps need to be plugged in the African startup ecosystem?

    Africa's startup ecosystem is in a state of flux. These are the formative days, the few million years post big-bang, if you would. So there are many questions and many gaps that need to be filled as we seek to learn from other innovation centers around the world, while at the same time setting the rules that will work best for our context all while actually building this thing. In a sense, it’s like setting about building a structure while figuring out what the actual structure should look like in the end and not just that but also how...

  • Eight startup sins and how to avoid committing them [Net Prophet]

    Starting a business baby, starting a business. It can be a wild ride. Sylvia Gruber co-Founder and CEO of Rubybox broke down her experiences with Rubybox into eight, bite-sized tips for burgeoning startups. Gruber is big on keeping things basic and personal, simplicity is key -- often the most difficult and the most important aspect to get right. Rubybox is a monthly beauty box subscription service that provides its subscribers with beauty product...

  • 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...