Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups!
Startup Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable. On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds.
Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees are encouraged to bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams design and develop business plans while constantly streamlining their startup vision. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes, listen to judges’ feedback and in some cities, win prizes.
Startup Weekends are specifically designed for entrepreneurs interested in receiving feedback on an idea, looking for a co-founder, or who want to learn a new skill. We also welcome anyone looking to test the entrepreneurial waters. Startup Weekends are risk-free environments where everyone is expected to roll up their sleeves and dive into the exhilarating world of startups.
Register at: http://nairobi.startupweekend.org
In cricket, the googly is a ball that spins more than expected. It deceives batsman who are not paying attention, to the extended break of the wrist and can be a devastating weapon in the arson of a spin bowler. I don’t know if Mocality CEO Stefan Magdalinski plays cricket, but he knows how to play a googly. But let’s start with the bowler.
This week, Olga Arara-Kimani, Google’s country manager of Kenya left her job. Now no one knows if she left on her own account or that she was fired, but what is for sure is that is that she hasn’t been playing nice with the competition.
Mocality specialises in keeping a directory of thousands of Kenyan businesses, which are easily accessible via your cellphone. Businesses get to list for free and most of them were contacted directly by the Mocality team, meaning a lot of man hours. But because of this hard work, Mocality has a very valuable database, which they have collected over the last two years.
“Shortly after that launch, we started receiving some odd calls. One or two business owners were clearly getting confused because they wanted help with their website, and we don’t currently offer websites, only a listing. Initially, we didn’t think much of it, but the confusing calls continued through November,”
The Mocality team then discover a reoccurring IP address with a very distinct user agent, not common to Kenyan browsers. This user agent was spending half its time looking at contact details for each individual business.
Magdalinski decides to setup an operation to find out what was going on. He reroutes some of his client’s telephone numbers and instead of calling a business registered on the site, the phone call goes through to a member of the Mocality team.
What he found out was that the user agent turned out to be from GKBO computers and that they were using his database to phone his clients, only to sell them Google products. More than that, these Google employees were lying to the business owners by telling them that Mocality and Google were working together and that Mocailty charges for its listings, a service which is free.
Magdalinkski discusses the whole sting on his blog and concluded with this:
“Since October, Google’s GKBO appears to have been systematically accessing Mocality’s database and attempting to sell their competing product to our business owners. They have been telling untruths about their relationship with us, and about our business practices, in order to do so. As of January 11th, nearly 30% of our database has apparently been contacted.”
After the blog post, Google officially apologised to Mocality and acknowledged that they were using foul practices to steal clients away from the Kenyan company.
“We were mortified to learn that a team of people working on a Google project improperly used Mocality’s data and misrepresented our relationship with Mocality to encourage customers to create new websites,” said Nelson Mattos, Google’s vice president for product and engineering, Europe and emerging markets.
“We’ve already unreservedly apologized to Mocality. We’re still investigating exactly how this happened, and as soon as we have all the facts, we’ll be taking the appropriate action with the people involved,”
he said in a statement.
YBSA and Discovery invite you to an exclusive business breakfast with Adrian Gore. Adrian wants to interact, debate and to exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions on a wide range of issues from success, leadership and entrepreneurship to international business and where South Africa is going.
This invitation is only open to registered YBSA members. Seats are extremely limited so RSVP today whereupon you will be given payment instructions. Your seat will only be confirmed once proof of payment has been received.
Booking is essential
Date: Tuesday 07 February 2012
Time: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Venue: Discovery Head Office, 155 West Street, Sandton
Cost: YBSA Members: R100
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 3 February 2012
Last week, South Africans got the first look at 22seven, a service that links up to your website and provides you with information on your spending habits. For R70 a month, after the initial trial free period, this website analyzes your bank account and tells you where you spending your money on in an easy to read format i.e. a pie chart with colourful balloons. Big balloon equals lots of money.
It’s a fun way to look at how you spend your cash and according to the founder of the company Christo Davel, it puts you in control of your finances.
With the launch of the site, big banks turned out to not so in favour of the program saying that it’s a risk to your banking security by using it. Absa, FNB, the South African Banking Risk Association, and even the the South African police warned users that it’s not their responsibility if your money goes missing. But that’s a smart move, it protects the banks if something does happen.
Absa issued a statement
It is absolutely imperative that Absa customers, and in fact customers of all banks, never divulge their sensitive personal information, such as PIN numbers, passwords and one-time passwords, to any parties – via websites, phishing emails, phone calls, SMSes or any other means.
Disclosing one’s sensitive information renders the customer completely liable for any losses that may occur due to phishing or other online fraud, as per Absa’s online banking terms and conditions disallowing customers from divulging their sensitive information to any third party.
Aside from these serious security concerns, customers should also note that forthcoming redevelopments to Absa’s online banking platform, set for release later in 2012, will include a variety of personal financial management (PFM) tools. These tools will enable our customers to consolidate information from various institutions, budget more effectively, create a visual dashboard view of their personal finances, and much more.
This rich array of personal financial management services will be integrated within the secure environment of Absa’s online banking interface, removing any of the security concerns present in third party PFM tools like 22seven.
This will be provided to our customers at no additional charge to the regular monthly subscription fee. 22seven charges R70 per month, on top of one’s existing online banking monthly subscription or bundled product fees.
Sites like 22seven conflict with the clear fraud awareness messaging sent out by all major banks, as well as the South African Banking Risk Association and the South African Police Force.
22seven could have involved the banks, though for some reason they did not. Possibly due to the fact that some banks were already building services like this, or the fear that they would have copied the idea.
Another option would have been for them to have built the service as a ‘whitebox’ solution, that could be integrated into an existing banks website.
The jury is still out on twitter. Some people are going to wait,while other are jumping in. Check out #22seven for yourself.
Personally, I am going to wait a bit until all the site is out of its beta stage and they’ve sorted out all the kinks. I am also not a fan of the monthly R70 subscription fee, I know it’s not a lot – three cappuccinos at Vida, but I am to use to the web being for fee.
On the upside, 22seven is using another company, Yodlee to do the interacting with the bank accounts. Yodlee has been around for more than 10 years and there hasn’t been too many complaints about this program.
Let us know what you think at http://www.facebook.com/startupafrica or in the comments below.
Snapplify, which bills itself as:
Snapplify is committed to offering a simple service to authors and publishers, giving them a full turnkey solution that transforms PDFs to Mobile Apps instantly. We take PDFs and convert these exact files into digital publications which are then placed in a company branded Mobile App which is free to download from the App Store. You can place multiple publications within a single App making it a perfect tool for magazines, newspapers and books.
It looks like a way for publishers/bloggers/magazine owners to quickly and easily launch e-publications. The App will be competing with existing frameworks such as Adobe Digital Editions. The advantage of using Snapplify though, is the cost.
Unlike Adobe Digital Editions, it has zero up front costs. You can either choose a revenue share model for each paid download, or you pay about $ 20-30c per a download.
As expected, snapplify supports embedding several media types such as Audio, Video, Images, Google Maps. Grab the demo app and have a look, or take a look at the screenshots below. The app is already being used by a few publishers such as iMaverick which is part of daily maverick, and they have just announced signing of a deal at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
In addition to periodic ‘deal pitching’ sessions, AngelHub is launching a monthly high-touch networking platform by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs in 2012. The events are targeted at getting founders (and prospective founders) of interesting high-growth ventures together for meaningful conversations on shared experiences.
Rather than a traditional networking event where one needs to delicately balance a drink and cocktail snacks in one hand while exchanging awkward handshakes and business cards with the other, Founders Dinners will take the form of, well… a casual dinner.
One experienced guest entrepreneur will join representatives of the AngelHub team, and then 10 seats are open around the table for other entrepreneurs to join in. These events will alternate between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
First Founders’ Dinner: Thursday 2nd February
Location: Johannesburg at SLOW in the City, Sandton (corner West and Rivonia, opposite Gautrain station.)
Guest entrepreneur: Richard Dewing – founder and CEO of business data backup software
Company: Cibecs (Pty) Ltd.
To book a seat at this dinner table and/or for more info please email: RSVP-at-angelhub.co.za.
When you do, please include a short paragraph telling us a bit about you as an entrepreneur. AngelHub is a Business Angel Investment Group that pools funding, expertise & networks from a diverse range of early-stage Angel Investors for investment in high-growth South African ventures to accelerate growth & create value.
Silicon Cape has just launched VC office hours, where you as a start-up entrepreneurs can sit for 30 minutes with a VC and bounce ideas off them, discuss your project etc. I suspect #Johannesburg is going to loose the battle to be the technology hub of South Africa, unless similar projects are done soon here.
As part of Silicon Cape Initiatives’s goal of creating more and better start-ups we would like to announce a new monthly initiative: VC Office Hours. This is great opportunity for you to ask an investor specific questions about the funding process, how to apply for funding, or about a specific aspect of your business. This is so that when you do apply for funding your chances of getting a “YES” are more than one in a hundred.
We have a great line up of investment professionals who have generously volunteered their time to assist the Silicon Cape community. Even if some of them have said no to you in the past, they are here to answer your questions, so please treat them nicely.
The format of the sessions will be that 6 start-up teams will get a 30 min question slot on the first Friday of each month with a funder. Sign-up will be via the Links below on this page and once you have signed up you will get a confirmation email of the meeting time, venue and details of who you will be meeting with.
Please read the house rules before you apply as we will be strict to ensure that everyone gets a chance and our investors agree to participate again. Once you have signed up you will get a confirmation email of the meeting time, venue and details of who you will be meeting.
Spaces are limited and sessions will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Please read the house rules before you apply as we will be strict to ensure that everyone gets a chance and our investors agree to participate again.
1. Strictly no NDAs will be signed by any of the funds or in the advisor’s personal capacity. It is up to you to keep your IP confidential if it is not protected. If you are considering talking to an investor you should be able to describe the project in sufficient detail without disclosing your IP until detailed investigation.
2. This is not a pitching session and is not a formal application for funding, but rather an opportunity for you to get some valuable insight into what funders look for, what they would require or how you could improve a specific aspect of your business to increase your chances for funding.
3. Meetings will be kept strictly to 30min. If you are late, you miss out.
4. Keep it simple – you only have 30min which includes any set up time if you want to do a presentation. The suggested format is that you present and discuss one or two aspects of your business with the advisor.
5. Sign-up will be on a first come, first served basis and will be limit to one session for each start-up, every 2 months depending on demand.
6. If you participate in the session, please provide feedback (to VChrs[at]siliconcape.com) from your session so we can continue to provide a useful service to other entrepreneurs.
2012 Schedule (subject to change):
- Friday, 3 February 2012 with Andrea Bohmert (RSVP & Submit form by 5pm Monday, 30 January 2012)
- Friday, 2 March 2012 with 4Di Capital (RSVP & Submit form by 5pm Monday, 27 February 2012)
- Thursday, 5 April 2012 with Angel Hub (RSVP & Submit form by 5pm Monday, 2 April 2012)
- Friday, 4 May 2012 with Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa (RSVP & Submit form by 5pm Monday, 30 April 2012)
- Friday, 1 June 2012 with Powered by VC (RSVP & Submit form by 5pm Monday, 28 May 2012)
- Friday, 3 August 2012 with 4Di Capital (RSVP & Submit form by 5pm Monday, 30 July 2012)
- Friday, 7 September 2012 with Andrea Bohmert (RSVP & Submit form by 5pm Monday, 3 September 2012)
- Friday, 5 October 2012 with Angel Hub (RSVP & Submit form by 5pm Monday, 1 October 2012)
- Friday, 2 November 2012 with Invenfin (RSVP & Submit form by 5pm Monday, 30 Jan 2012)
Time slots are:
9:00 – 9:30am
9:30 – 10:00am
10:00 – 10:30am
10:15 – 10:45am
10:45 – 11:15am
11:15 – 11:45am
The Gauteng Innovation Competition is an initiative of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, through its agency BlueIQ and implemented under The Innovation Hub. The Innovation Hub has partnered with mLab Southern Africa for the inaugural competition. Entries are invited that include innovative technologies and solutions, or novel business and implementation models in the two themes of mobile and green technologies.
Rather than simply rewarding innovation that contributes to government service delivery with a focus on Gauteng Province, the competition is aimed at growing enterprises in the mobile ecosystem and green economy. The competition has prize money totalling R1 million, which includes an initial cash award, but the bulk of the prizes are given in seed grants that give the entrepreneurs the freedom they need to build their enterprises.
Competition launch: 15 December 2011
Closing date for entries: 24 February 2012
Winners announced: 8 March 2012
The Gauteng province recognises that innovation drives social and economic development. The competition is therefore a platform to enhance local government service delivery in Gauteng through innovation. It invites fresh concepts from the citizens of the province, and creates a link between the innovators and government in Gauteng so that not only will the new ideas be showcased, but it could also give the innovators their first customer.
Mobile Service Delivery
Do you have a new idea to improve access to government services, or improve the efficiency of the transport, health or education system using mobile phones?
The mobile theme of the competition calls on innovators and entrepreneurs in Gauteng to propose novel solutions to enhance local government service delivery using mobile technologies.
Green Service Delivery
Can you come up with solutions to reduce the province’s impact on the environment?
The green technology theme of the competition is looking for innovations that will either make local government greener in its own operations, enable its citizens to make more responsible, efficient, or clean use of the services supplied by local government.
Apply at: http://gautenginnovation.co.za/
The African Media Initiative (AMI), the continent’s largest association of media owners and operators, has announced a $1 million fund to spur innovation in the news industry.
The new African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC) is designed to encourage experimentation in digital technologies and support the best innovations that strengthen African news organizations.
AMI chief executive Amadou Mahtar Ba first announced the fund at the 4th African Media Leaders Forum in Tunisia on November 10. This week, Ba confirmed that Omidyar Network, Google, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and the U.S. Department of State have all pledged either funding or technical support for the initiative.
The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers has also committed expert business mentorship and marketing support for ANIC winners.
“Traditional media are still growing in Africa, but media organizations know that they need to go digital and mobile to prepare for the future. Many, however, don’t have the resources to experiment or take risks, especially in this economic climate,” said Ba. “This competition is our way of saying: ‘We’re here to help. If you come up with an innovative idea to improve the African media landscape, we’ll help make it happen.’”
Winners in the annual contest will get seed grants ranging from $12,500 to a maximum of $100,000 for more ambitious projects. To build robust business models, the grantees will also receive technical advice and start-up support, as well as one-on-one mentoring from some of the world’s leading media experts.
“We’re trying to nurture a culture of innovation in African media,” said AMI’s digital strategist and ANIC project manager Justin Arenstein. “We want the winners to get their products to the market quickly, and we want to remove as much risk as possible. These pioneers will have access to experts that most media simply do not have.”
Arenstein is working with AMI as part of a Knight International Journalism Fellowship administered by theInternational Center for Journalists (ICFJ), with funds from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The contest will target solutions to technology challenges facing African media, including ways to strengthen data-based investigative journalism, audience engagement, mobile news distribution, data visualization, revenue streams and workflow systems.
“We’re casting the net as wide as possible,” said Arenstein. “As long as the solution is scalable and appropriate to local market conditions, we’re happy to consider it.”
The competition is modeled after Knight Foundation’s highly successful Knight News Challenge, which has seeded news media innovation across the globe over the past five years. “We will work closely with Knight Foundation to incorporate the best practices and technology for a digital news contest designed to solve problems and stimulate new thinking,” said Joyce Barnathan, president of the International Center for Journalists.
AMI will launch the contest website in December 2011. In the first phase, African journalists and publishers will be asked to identify the most pressing challenges facing the industry. Once these have been identified, AMI will issue a call for applications targeting these issues in February 2012.
Winners will be chosen through a rigorous two-phase judging process, consisting of public voting and a review of finalists by a panel of experts. The top contenders will receive a combination of cash and technical support.
Winners will then test their innovations in AMI member-newsrooms and showcase projects at international media gatherings.
The African innovation contest is part of AMI’s broader initiative to build digital entrepreneurship within traditional media. AMI is also supporting a new network of HacksHackers.com chapters across Africa that will bring technologists together with journalists to help pilot projects in digital media. The chapters will run workshops and help incubate ideas for the African News Innovation Challenge.
All Amber Ltd, the organiser of premier mobile-related events in Africa, today announced plans for its third annual Mobile Web in Africa conference. The series of events, which will take place in the week of 21st November 2011, will cater to the entire range of individuals involved in the African mobile sector.
The events include the end of year Mobile Monday Jo’burg celebration, a day dedicated entirely to Mobile Marketing and the flagship two-day Mobile Web in Africa conference and culminate in a workshop day led by international experts Tomi Ahonen and Marc Smith. The ambitious plans are designed to build on the successes of the past two years, during which the main Mobile Web in Africa conference has clearly established itself as the market-leading event of its type across Africa.
With the South African events calendar becoming more and more saturated since the inaugural Mobile Web in Africa event was held in October 2009, this year’s Mobile Web in Africa is set to again raise the benchmark. International, continental and local speakers will be integrated into the unique All Amber business-focused, interactive environment and offer a comprehensive dissection of key mobile web and mobile application topics.
All Amber Managing Director Matthew Dawes commented: “After the feedback we’ve had in 2009 and 2010 we really wanted to step everything up for this year’s conference. By joining forces with Mobile Monday Jo’burg we are able to offer a complete range of day and evening activities. Plus, we’ve got Tomi Ahonen coming in from Hong Kong – he’s a global mobile superstar. We want to make this year a weeklong carnival – where regardless of expertise, budget or focus something is available for everyone. Even before we’ve officially launched the event interest has been extremely high. My message to anyone interested is simple: get in touch and let’s organise how you can get involved.”
The full structure of the weeklong “Festival of Mobile” is:
- Monday 21st November – Mobile Monday Jo’burg End of Year Celebration
- Tuesday 22nd November – “This is Mobile Marketing” Focus Day
- Wednesday 23rd November – First Day of Mobile Web in Africa 2011 Main Conference
- Thursday 24th November – Second Day of Mobile Web in Africa 2011 Main Conference
- Friday 25th November – Tomi Ahonen and Dr. Marc Smith Workshops