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Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

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eTXT now app platform as ForgetMeNot Africa launches App Challenge

You’ve probably used eTXT a number of times. If not you then at least someone you chat with on Facebook, on Gtalk or just someone you exchange emails with has used the service from a basic SMS only (no internet) mobile phone to communicate with you. ForgetMeNot Africa, the company behind the eTXT platform, has […]


Aptics enters market with promise of affordable broadband and VoIP

About 2 weeks ago a new Internet Access Provider called Aptics started advertising VoIP telephony and ‘4G’ services in the local newspapers. We have tried the Aptics broadband internet before for our primary connection at the office, but then, the company was still providing services primarily through ISPs ZOL and Yo Africa. The company is now going to market directly in addition to the partnerships. We visited them a few days ago to get the full story on what the company is offering and what you the reader should expect and indeed if you should be excited.


Eatout.co.zw launches new look

If you have visited eatout.co.zw in the last two weeks, you probably noticed that the website is spotting a fresh new look. The website has been redesigned, again. We can’t remember the exact number but the website must have gone through about 4 design changes in the last few years.


Zambian mobile money startup closes US $4 million Series A investment

So what are you meant to think when you start a business with your brother in 2007 and at the start of 2012, you are part of a committed team of 25 employees that close a $ 4 million deal with three world class international fund. Seriously, (four million dollars, thirty two million rand, twenty billion kwacha) for an “African/Zambian” IT start up business


Crowdsourcing gaining momentum in Africa

Crowdsourcing in recent years has gained significant traction around the globe. The premise behind it is the concept of maximizing or utilising masses of individuals to solve a large problem. The most visible and popular application of crowdsourcing is Wikipedia; the free collaborative online encyclopedia which relies on volunteers all around the world and now has over 20 million articles in English in the encyclopedia.


You can build a startup in Africa. Here’s how

In 2011 Sarah Lacy, who was working at Techcrunch at the time but is now running a new tech blog known as Pandodaily, did the unthinkable by travelling to Nigeria on a mission to unravel its startup scene.


Umuntu shares more information about Mimiboard. Our brief thoughts

We first got information about Mimiboard from the Umuntu founder, Johan Nel, some 9 days ago. Nel was to later announce the new service which at the just ended Mobile Web East Africa in Nairobi. Nel says they’ve had developers working for 7 months, to come up with the product , which he say is going to be “a game changer in the African market.”


Esoko seeks Zimbabwe partners

Ghanaian based mobile agri-business service platform startup Esoko, is seeking partners in Zimbabwe to extend its services to the country. In a request for tender published in Zimbabwe’s newspapers over the last several days, Esoko has invited local companies to apply to run Esoko in the country as ‘Prime Licensees’.


Dhiri suspends daily deals service to ‘regroup’

Zimbabwe’s daily deals startup dhiri.co.zw suspended sending out daily deals last Friday, apparently so they can ‘regroup’ and come back stronger. The startup sent out a tweet and a Facebook update on Friday advising it’s followers they were taking a short break that will last a couple of weeks.


The FinX website and email service go down

If you are a FinX subscriber and you somehow didn’t get your usual email news updates this morning, you’re not alone. The service is having problems today. We just got notified this morning by the FinX managing director, Nyaradzai Chigwida, that the service is down and that the FinX team is working to restore things.


Perspective: Africa’s top 20 startups as ranked by Forbes

The February edition of Forbes Africa has a feature profiling the top 20 startups from the African continent. As expected, mobile played a dominant role with Mxit coming up tops as the most promising startup. In the truest sense of the word startup, Mxit might not qualify as it went through institutional investors and is more than seven years old. Definitions and valuations aside, the geographical origins of the startups profiled serves as yet another call to action for those of us in Zimbabwe.


Apps4Africa Climate Challenge for Southern Africa begins today

Today, 1 February 2012, is the commencement date for the southern Africa region Apps4Africa Climate Challenge. The challenge will run for 2 months to end of the 30th of March and invites African innovators to develop innovative, web-based and mobile technology solutions to local climate change challenges. According to the Apps4Africa website the challenge centers around the strategic themes that were debated and decided upon by world leaders at the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) conference in South Africa last year. The challenge is sponsored by the US government.


Our information technology predictions for 2012

Another exciting year in information technologies lies ahead with a lot of promise for the continued growth of the sector. Below, we provide our thoughts on what we think 2012 holds. It would be great to know what you the reader think in the comments.


The top Zimbabwe tech stories we covered in 2011

With less than two days left before the close of the year, we thought we’d post a listing of all the top stories we covered this year. This has been our busiest year since.


Digital music sales in Zimbabwe. Taking it to the next level

Online music stores have been on the rise globally and continue to gain momentum. Selling music files on a per-song, albums and/or subscription basis at lower prices has become a phenomenon. Online music stores such as iTunes and Amazon MP3are now the biggest music retailers in the US, selling almost 25% of all music in the US. This represents opportunities for businesses in developing ICT markets like Zimbabwe and can help revive the countries’ music industries which have been on a downward spiral.


iZimbabwe announces business directory

Yesterday, iZimbabwe, the new portal by Umuntu media announced the availability of a business directory platform on their website. Business directory means online classifieds in the mould of the Zimbabwe’s leader of online classifieds classifieds.co.zw.


Dhiri launches. First dhiri: Half price pizza at Pizzazz

It is 01 December 2011. D-day for Dhiri. The new startup promised two weeks ago they’d launch today. And launch they have, with their first daily deal sent to subscribers on email and SMS:


Now you can Tweet for a cab in Harare

So, how do you currently call for a cab in Harare when you need one? Give the cab driver a call? An SMS? Does it cost you airtime every time to do this? Do you always get a response on time? If you have a smartphone, (or just a regular internet connection at a desktop) there’s a new service in town you might want to give a try. It’s called Tweet-A-Cab.


A new local daily deals site called Dhiri to launch

If you’re one to keep your ear on the ground about new local web based services you’ve probably already heard about dhiri.co.zw. You guessed right, it’s a local deal-of-the-day site offering discounts on products available at merchants. The site is by C2 Media, a local creative digital agency with offices in Harare, and in Australia.


Webdev launches its social network. Names it SHA

Last week, Webdev opened its social network to the public. The name Social has been discarded in favour of a shorter and simpler sha.co.zw. SHA is short for the ‘Shamwari’, the Shona word for ‘friend’. There’s already some activity on the site, and I have received a few friend requests from some familiar faces.


Mukela.com: Selling the Dream

This post is by Mukela co-founder, Tawanda Sibanda, was originally posted on Launching Tech Ventures. It contains Mukela’s experience selling their idea to Hotels locally. Some great advice in there for tech start-ups. Mukela won the the inaugural ZOL Start-up Challenge in September this year.


Are women afraid of venturing into ICTs

We came across a lively young lady after yesterday’s Breakfast Briefing on Cloud Computing. While the event was a success, this young lady touched on a few details that could make such events even better. The highlight of her feedback was that there were only four women in attendance at the event and that promoting a more balanced atmosphere is good for the sector.


Why Zimbabwe needs more .co.zw domains

Speaking to the many tech entrepreneurs we meet locally, they all tell you they prefer registering .com domains over .co.zw. It is way easier, cheaper and faster the argument goes. “Why do I need to wait a couple of days just to get a domain registered?” is the question that follows.


Matchio boldly attempts to conquer the world’s colleges

We first met Tatenda Furusa on the sidelines of Zimbabwe’s inaugural BarCamp early this year. While he briefly mentioned his startup at the event, it only required taking a look at the product to understand just what he is up to. Matchio the kind of product that just feels right, it was after all built in the land that birthed Silicon Valley and a plethora of the world’s greatest internet platforms.


ZimCarSales, new online car marketplace

On 1 August 2011, a startup called ZimCarSales launched a new online car marketplace. It’s available on www.zimcarsales.co.zw. You’ve probably come across it in adverts in the press and some motoring events the startup is already sponsoring locally. We had a chat with the startup’s managing director, Nyasha Makuyana, last week and discussed what they have achieved so far and where they’re taking this.


World of Avatar acquires MXit

World of Avatar (WOA) has just acquired 90% of the legendary South African mobile social network and chat application, MXit. According to Memeburn the deal is valued at a reputed R500m(USD $71 million) and also involves Craig Knott Jnr taking over as CEO of MXit.


Crossing the line: G-Tide building a database of phone numbers

If you’re a civil servant in Zimbabwe, and one day you receive an SMS from G-Tide that you never subscribing for, you’re going to wonder how they got your number. Here’s how:


Gikko.net strikes new deals

Gikko, a start-up we featured here not too long ago has continued to gain ground with its offline & online thrust. The start-up recently concluded a nationwide deal with OK Supermarkets and has begun running a competition across most stores. It has also sealed an extended partnership with TM which will see its flagship till slip advertising having a presence across retail outlets owned by the retailer. The last time we sat down with Winston Taylor of Till Roll Ads (the company behind gikko.net), he ran us through his company’s holistic presence on the web, mobile and offline.


Some thoughts on the ZOL Startup Challenge

Nearly 2 weeks ago, we had our first ZOL Startup Challenge final where 3 talented winners were chosen from a very strong field. Since then the dust has settled and a number of people have made comments on the Challenge and process. I thought I’d give some thoughts as the idea originator, main sponsor and one of the four judges.


Eco-cash:Opportunities for Zimbabwe’s technology entrepreneurs

The announcement that Econet will be launching Eco-cash, a mobile payment solution is good news for the country. This will bring in new opportunities for technology entrepreneurs if the service takes off. We have to start thinking about businesses that will run on the platform. I will share some of the businesses that could be set up, using examples mostly from Kenya where the M-Pesa mobile money service has been very successful.