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Ten Technology Start-Ups To Watch

Innovation is becoming the cornerstone of business. These are 10 of the most promising technology companies in Cape Town.

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Entersekt

Entersekt is a global pioneer in transaction authentication for financial institutions. The system combines electronic certificate technology with encrypted cloud messaging and the convenience of mobile phones to give banks, and their customers, full protection from cyber criminals looking to steal users login details and passwords. Entersekts clients, who include Investec, Absa, Old Mutual, Nedbank and Capitec, have allegedly reported an elimination of online banking fraud since implementing the system. Over 12 million customers are protected by Entersekt’s security software which has authenticated more than 250 million transactions since being launched in 2010. The start-up has so far raised around $10 million and has been implemented in Swiss financial institutions with plans to expand to Nigeria, Britain, Netherlands and the United States.

iono.fm

Described as PVR for radio, iono.fm is an audio-on-demand platform that publishes content from radio stations, podcasts and audiobooks. Listeners create their unique playlists and download content for later use. The revenue model centers on short audio adverts and all the content is currently free but going forward they may charge for exclusive content and added functionality. Where traditional radio stations can only monetize their content once as it is streamed live, iono.fm can monetize the content multiple times with different advertisers as the audio is stored online for repeat use. The platform currently generates over a million page views and 800,000 downloads per month. In the second quarter this year, iono.fm saw a 400% increase in downloads. The company has been self-funded since 2008 but is now engaging with venture capital investment to expand operations to the rest of Africa, India, and South America.

 

wiGroup

wiGroup is a specialized point-of-sale integration platform that enables retailers of any size to tap into the mobile money market. Retailers that plug-in to the wiPlatform are able to accept any kind of current or future mobile payment, loyalty, reward or couponing application that exists on the platform. MTN Mobile Money, FlickPay and M-Pesa are some of the apps that have been integrated into the system which services over 50,000 till lanes across South Africa and has processed close to $250 million in mobile transactions. wiGroup’s clients include Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Vodacom and KFC, and the revenue model is based on transaction fees and monthly licensing subscriptions for apps that run on the platform. The company has a presence in Namibia and Mauritius, with plans to expand into Nigeria, Zambia and Britain in the near future.

CapeRay

CapeRay develops and manufactures advanced breast cancer screening equipment combining X-ray and ultrasound technology to enhance a clinician’s ability to detect cancer in women – especially those with dense breast tissue where conventional methods often miss a cancerous lesion. The technology is the first of its kind globally. The start-up spun away from the University of Cape Town around four years ago and has so far raised $2.26 million in funding pre-revenue. Clinical trials have been completed and an offering memorandum is now in front of 15 major multinational companies with CapeRay looking to raise an additional $10 million to begin rolling out the product in the United States, Europe and South Africa.

 

iKubu

iKubu specializes in developing computer vision and commercial radar systems. The small team of engineers have a deep understanding of embedded software solutions and electronic hardware with a strong focus on algorithm development. The start-up developed a 3D scanning system for automated baggage check-in that has been implemented in major airports, including Heathrow, Sydney and Singapore. The company has, up until now, been bootstrapped by the founders who are engaging with international investors to expand operations.

 

Nomanini

Nomanini develops and manufactures rugged mobile point-of-sale terminals to sell products such as airtime and electricity in emerging markets. The technology enables vendors in the informal sector to efficiently distribute prepaid vouchers and facilitate micro cash payments with plans in the works to enable additional transactions such as mobile money and insurance premium collections. Nomanini has partnerships in Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Namibia, Guinea and Mozambique with active terminals processing over a million transactions in September with the company expecting to process a million payments per month by December. Nomanini has so far raised more than $2.3 million in funding and is engaging with venture capital players in foreign markets for further expansion.

 

8bit

8bit is a content recommendation platform that connects online publishers to a larger network of content producers driving traffic to members’ websites by showcasing their most popular content on other sites in the network. 8bit’s system automatically detects a site’s top content based on time, click rate and social media engagement and shares impressions across the network of publishers. It is currently in a closed invite only beta stage with South Africa’s leading independent publishers and has begun trialling with the country’s largest media houses. 8bit will officially launch at the upcoming Web Summit conference in Dublin in November after being named as one of Africa’s top 10 start-ups. In the upcoming months the company will be launching its paid promotions platform where publishers and advertisers can promote sponsored content not only on 8bit’s network but on traditional advertising exchanges. Since being founded earlier this year 8bit has raised around $135,000 in seed funding with plans to expand into Kenya, Nigeria and Denmark. 8bit processes over 20 million recommendations per month and in many instances, directs more traffic to publishers on its network than Google, Facebook and Twitter.

OrderCloud

OrderCloud integrates all the sales channels of a business, whether telephone, web or mobile, into a single online dashboard for simple and effective order management. The system automatically locates the closest outlet to the customer and links it with the necessary delivery services to process the order. Whether customers pay with credit, cash or mobile money, all your funds are instantly aggregated into a single account which distributes the lump sum to all the relevant parties in the supply chain. OrderCloud is being integrated into large franchises in South Africa though the start-up cannot say who at this point as the information is classified. The company is busy putting together a prominent board of directors and has so far raised $226,000 with plans to raise an additional $900,000 from local and international investors.

 

WhereIsMyTransport

This month, WhereIsMyTransport will be launching Africa’s first official multi-modal transport application for Cape Town. Commuters using the app are able to seamlessly plot their journey from point to point linking various modes of public transport such as Golden Arrow buses and Metrorail trains with minibus taxis to come online in the near future. The application generates valuable data regarding commuter traffic and congestion enabling cities to more efficiently develop their transport networks. The start-up, still in its infancy, is engaged in talks with investors in three foreign markets to develop similar applications for major metros. The long-term vision of the company will be to open up its application programming interface to allow other developers to build apps using their technology.

 

Ekaya

Ekaya has created an online marketplace where you can list, find and rent property from your phone or on the web. Landlords can vet and rate tenants, collect rent and freely advertise their property on the platform. Tenants applying for property pay an administrative fee of less than $10 for all necessary criminal and credit record checks, whereas property agents usually charge around $100. Also, instead of paying a fat deposit upfront, Ekaya offers an insurance scheme where tenants pay a smaller monthly fee that can be used to cover damages. Ekaya makes money by taking a small commission of the rent and is looking to expand its insurance, micro-loan and deposit components with added loyalty and reward features. Ekaya recently raised $126,000 in angel funding and has over 1,000 estate listings in Cape Town since the beta version went live about two weeks ago with the platform aiming to launch in Durban and Johannesburg in the next few months.

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Where The Medium’s The Topic And The Topic is Topical

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UJ, 4IR, and the CloudebateTM concept

UJ is the University of Johannesburg. 4IR is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. CloudebateTM? Well – it’s a place where really interesting questions are asked, such as: is the academic thesis a thing of the past? Have books outlived their physical form? Are we witnessing the demise of childhood? Will eye-tracking, sip and puff, or exoskeletons lead to true equality of opportunity? Will society change Africa? Will Africa help change society? Will education teach our children what they really need to know? And if so, how?

As 4IR sweeps the world, sending many preconceptions, predilections, and presuppositions tumbling as it goes, UJ sees the asking of questions like these as a fundamental response. And it’s responding because, since 2013, when it first embarked on its strategy of global excellence and stature, the university saw a clear need to take the lead in exploring the applications, implications and potential of 4IR. What’s more, it saw a need to do this not just as part of its positioning as a thought-leader on the continent, but as part of making a proactive and positive contribution towards African society, education and enablement.

A vision of width, a platform of depth

It’s a significant vision, and as part realising it, UJ has been investigating new and challenging ways, not just of identifying the issues at stake, but of presenting them in depth. It sought a way that would bring medium and content, idea and action, debate and initiative, together on one unique platform.

And that unique platform, one that UJ has not only created, but given a unique name to as well, is the CloudebateTM

The CloudebateTM

The CloudebateTM has essentially taken the traditional debate/panel discussion and reimagined it, placing it firmly within the realm of its own 4IR scope, and using the latest live-streaming technology. It is the place where 4IR ideas that have been identified as relevant, meaningful, challenging and thought-provoking are placed before an expert panel as well as an online audience who are invited to participate in real time, online, in a very 4IR way, in the discussion, analysis and dissection.  

There have been seven Cloudebates held so far, and their names provide an insight into their capacity to provoke thought: The Way Tomorrow Works; Digitally Equal; Is 4IR the Demise of Childhood? Questioning the Answers; Obsolete or Absolute? Should Books be Shelved? Adding Muscle to Open Doors.

When thought is action

It’s all about the kind of world we are creating for our children to inhabit. What will the elimination of jobs do to society? Are children growing directly into the immediacy of adulthood? Are academic theses outdated? Are libraries passé? Can technology enable opportunity equally for all?

The digital reach has been immense, not just in South Africa but globally, where it has found a worldwide audience. Moreover, UJ’s CloudebateTM initiative is set to continue into 2020 with further challenges to our received wisdom, our perceived way of doing things. So, if you have any stimulating 4IR topics that you would like to see discussed, send them to [email protected] – UJ would love to hear from you. And if you’d like to see the discussions that have already taken place, then just go to uj.ac.za/4IR, where you can watch, and take a view of your own.

Creating tomorrow

With its innovative CloudebateTM concept, UJ’s pursuit of global excellence has been a most rewarding journey that will continue to develop and expand along with 4IR, and along with UJ’s ongoing commitment to creating tomorrow.

Content provided by the University of Johannesburg

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30 under 30

Applications Open for FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 class of 2020

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FORBES AFRICA is on the hunt for Africans under the age of 30, who are building brands, creating jobs and transforming the continent, to join our Under 30 community for 2020.


JOHANNESBURG, 07 January 2020: Attention entrepreneurs, creatives, sport stars and technology geeks — the 2020 FORBES AFRICA Under 30 nominations are now officially open.

The FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 list is the most-anticipated list of game-changers on the continent and this year, we are on the hunt for 30 of Africa’s brightest achievers under the age of 30 spanning these categories: Business, Technology, Creatives and Sport.

Each year, FORBES AFRICA looks for resilient self-starters, innovators, entrepreneurs and disruptors who have the acumen to stay the course in their chosen field, come what may.

Past honorees include Sho Madjozi, Bruce Diale, Karabo Poppy, Kwesta, Nomzamo Mbatha, Burna Boy, Nthabiseng Mosia, Busi Mkhumbuzi Pooe, Henrich Akomolafe, Davido, Yemi Alade, Vere Shaba, Nasty C and WizKid.

What’s different this year is that we have whittled down the list to just 30 finalists, making the competition stiff and the vetting process even more rigorous. 

Says FORBES AFRICA’s Managing Editor, Renuka Methil: “The start of a new decade means the unraveling of fresh talent on the African continent. I can’t wait to see the potential billionaires who will land up on our desks. Our coveted sixth annual Under 30 list will herald some of the decade’s biggest names in business and life.”

If you think you have what it takes to be on this year’s list or know an entrepreneur, creative, technology entrepreneur or sports star under 30 with a proven track-record on the continent – introduce them to FORBES AFRICA by applying or submitting your nomination.

NOMINATIONS AND APPLICATIONS CRITERIA:

Business and Technology categories

  1. Must be an entrepreneur/founder aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Should have a legitimate REGISTERED business on the continent
  3. Business/businesses should be two years or older
  4. Nominees must have risked own money and have a social impact
  5. Must be profit generating
  6. Must employ people in Africa
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Sports category

  1. Must be a sports person aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Must be representing an African team
  3. Should have a proven track record of no less than two years
  4. Should be making significant earnings
  5. Should have some endorsement deals
  6. Entrepreneurship and social impact is a plus
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Creatives category

  1. Must be a creative aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Must be from or based in Africa
  3. Should be making significant earnings
  4. Should have a proven creative record of no less than two years
  5. Must have social influence
  6. Entrepreneurship and social impact is a plus
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Your entry should include:

  • Country
  • Full Names
  • Company name/Team you are applying with
  • A short motivation on why you should be on the list
  • A short profile on self and company
  • Links to published material / news clippings about nominee
  • All social media handles
  • Contact information
  • High-res images of yourself

Applications and nominations must be sent via email to FORBES AFRICA journalist and curator of the list, Karen Mwendera, on [email protected]

Nominations close on 3 February 2020.

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Facebook Is Still Leaking Data More Than One Year After Cambridge Analytica

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Facebook said late Tuesday that roughly 100 developers may have improperly accessed user data, which includes the names and profile pictures of individuals in certain Facebook Groups.

The company explained in a blog post that developers primarily of social media management and video-streaming apps retained the ability to access Facebook Group member information longer than the company intended.

The company did not detail the type of data that was improperly accessed beyond names and photos, and it did not disclose the number of users affected by the leak.

Facebook restricted its developer APIs—which provide a way for apps to interface with Facebook data—in April 2018, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke the month before. The goal was to reduce the way in which developers could gather large swaths of data from Facebook users.

But the company’s sweeping changes have been relatively ineffective. More than a year after the company restricted API access, the company continues to announce newly discovered data leaks.

“Although we’ve seen no evidence of abuse, we will ask them to delete any member data they may have retained and we will conduct audits to confirm that it has been deleted,” Facebook said in a statement.

The social media giant says in its announcement that it reached out to 100 developer partners who may have improperly accessed user data and says that at least 11 developer partners accessed the user data within the last 60 days.

Facebook has been reviewing the ways that companies are able to collect information and personal data about its users since the New York Times reported that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested data of millions of users. Facebook later said the firm connected to the Trump campaign may have improperly accessed data on 87 million users.

The Federal Trade Commission slapped Facebook with a $5 billion fine as a result of the breach. As part of the 20-year agreement both parties reached, Facebook now faces new guidelines for how it handles privacy leaks.

“The new framework under our agreement with the FTC means more accountability and transparency into how we build and maintain products,” Facebook’s director of platform partnerships, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, wrote in a Facebook post.

“As we work through this process we expect to find examples like the Groups API of where we can improve; rest assured we are committed to this work and supporting the people on our platform.”

Michael Nuñez

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