Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

Jumpstart announces BarCamp Zimbabwe 2012 & ZOL Jumpstart Challenge

So it’s been a whole year since the first BarCamp and Startup Challenge, an another one is on the cards. This year’s challenge has been announced today on the Jumpstart website. The BarCamp Zimbabwe event is basically meant to get tech entrepreneurs, developers, designers and really anyone passionate about mobile and web tech into one place for a […]

mTutor marches towards commercial launch on Econet network

After their success at the FMNA ZeTXT Apps Challenge we caught up with the team behind the winning app mTutor to see how much progress they have made to commercialise their product. mTutor the brainchild of developers Prince Kaguda and Douglas Chifetete was a case of second time lucky as they had participated in last […]

B-Connected pioneers mobile marketing product

Tech entrepreneur Smauel Dzinotyiwei believes Zimbabwe is ready for a mobile marketing revolution. He expressed this sentiment to Techzim as he finalises the official launch of his product B-Heard. His company B-Connected has offices in Glen Lorne, Harare and is launching new mobile advertising products which Samuel believes due to their uniqueness will offer an […]

biNu in explosive growth

biNu the Sydney based startup founded in September 2008 by Gour Lentell and Dave Turner recorded a jaw dropping 112% increase in unique Monthly Active Users (MAUs) for Zimbabwe in nine months. This is based upon stats that biNu has released to Techzim. The startup is on a tear recording similarly impressive growth in other […]

mTutor wins Forgetmenot app challenge

This weekend witnessed the exciting finale to the Forgetmenot eTXT Apps Challenge (16 – 17 June 2012). The finals featured seven teams of developers three of whom had travelled from outside Zimbabwe’s to participate in the challenge, namely from South Africa and Zambia. The challenge which was organised by Forgetmenot Africa (FMNA) who are based […]

Gwatamatic the technical marvel – Part II

William Gwata next to his iconic machine So how does the Gwatamatic work? Well basically there are 2 models of the Gwatamatic: The Gwatamatic 2000 and the Baby Gwata. As you can probably deduce from the names the Baby Gwata is the smaller version of the two.The Gwatamatic has been patented, among other patents, under […]

Jumpstart tackles funding for startups

At Jumpstart’s last meeting held on 13 June 2012,  entrepreneurs had a chance to explore various funding models available to them. The keynote speaker at the event was Munya Chiura, Head of Africa Operations for Grow VC a venture capital platform specialising in matching investors and start-ups using the crowdfunding model. The core of Chiura’s message […]

Lendme in landmark $1.8M deal

A while ago we wrote about and now they have announced an exciting deal worth US$1.8 million. This was revealed by Lendme’s founder Michael Charangwa, who explained that Lendme (UK) have signed the $1.8 million deal with Buildvest (Pvt) Ltd a Zimbabwean registered micro-lender. The development means that Lendme will now have added capacity […]

William Gwata an entrepreneurs’ journey – Part I

I usually don’t eat sadza at 9am but for once I was truly looking forward to a hot plate of the staple at such an early hour. I had been invited by William Gwata, inventor of the Gwatamatic to visit a site with one of his Gwatamatic installations. Yes like some I had heard of […]

Is Zim ready for a 4th mobile network?

We recently caught up with Geoff Goss a VC with Matamba Anonaka about whether he was still pursuing his initiative to establish an MVNO (Mobile virtual Network operator) in Zimbabwe. Goss a serial entrepreneur in the IT industry has been involved with Compaq Zimbabwe, Sophos and Celsys is clearly eying his next opportunity to establish […]

ForgetMeNot Africa announces the Apps Challenge Test Drive shortlist

If you entered an App in the ForgetMeNot Africa eTXT Apps Challenge, we have some good news for you today. ForgetMeNot Africa just released the shortlist of the apps that will fight it out at the finals event, the Test Drive, to be held in Harare in a little over a week from now. If […]

Whatever happened to the Gwatamatic?

Imagine you are a bachelor coming home from another stressful day at work, just the thought of cooking supper definitely saps the last ounces of strength from your body. And looking at a rather tardy stove is enough for you to send a halfhearted plea to the heavens to conjure a miracle in the form […]

Rent-Or-Buy Zimbabwe will help you find properties online

There are a couple of online services available today to help you find a place to rent in Zimbabwe (well, Harare). Our favourite is Dipleague, mainly because of its active community of users. But if you’ve used this giant classifieds mailing list, you also know that the super charged activity that makes it an attractive […]

VictoryTxt: an sms platform to help you save

In a pioneering effort to promote a culture of saving, wealth creation and empowerment among Zimbabweans a local company has created the Victory Savings Club. The club which has been running in beta mode for about a year formally adopted a constitution and was launched on the 18th of May 2012. What is interesting about […]

The definitive start-up guide for challenging environments

After I wrote my last article 5 Startup Lessons from Facebook IPO, I realised that in as much as there where some valuable lessons from the story of Facebook of which I had touched on just a few, there remain lots of gaps about the value of the model with regard to building a technology […]

5 Startup lessons from Facebook IPO

So you are Tengesa, ForgetMeNot, Dariro, 6tm solutions, and countless other Zimbabwean and African startups that are hoping to change the world and you are looking at Facebook’s IPO; you realise that Mark Zuckerberg and co have reached the promised land. And that’s $104 billion worth of real estate. For perspective Econet has a market […]

8 days to go before eTXT Apps Challenge deadline. Have you submitted your app yet?

Developers in Zimbabwe have just 8 days, specifically until next week Friday the 25th, to submit their eTXT apps for the ZeTXT Apps Challenge that has been going on since March. The challenge has presented local developers with an opportunity to develop mobile based applications for the eTXT platform available on the Econet network. The best app will win prizes and an opportunity to be launched on the Econet network to earn the developer ongoing revenue.

Academy launches to provide Zimbabwe film, graphics and creative tech skills

So what do you do when you find yourself in an environment where specialist skills are rare with the few talented individuals that can provide specific skills not able to deliver on what they not so good at leaving your job somewhat patchy and therefore mediocre at best? What do you when the ecosystem of talented graphics designers, film production professionals, software developers and others that you need for a job is just not there?

Zimbabwean launches startup in Silicon Valley at NewMe Demo Day

One of the young that pitched at last year’s Startup Challenge, a startup competition for Zimbabweans that we ran last year with ZOL, is one called Yose. It was basically mobile telecoms service, that the judges it was very innovative and quite a great business model, but one whose chances of seeing the light of day in the current circumstances (mobile operator relationships needed especially) were very limited.

Developers, The eTXT Apps Challenge initial ideas deadline is nigh

As you probably already know, the initial ideas deadline for the ForgetMeNot Africa ZeTXT Apps Challenge is near. By the end of this coming Friday, 4 May, all ideas must have been submitted via the eTXT Developer platform to be considered for the challenge.

An internet business working backwards: building a web start-up in Zimbabwe

We wanted to be online but the Zimbabwean public wanted to pick up the phone. What was amazing was that the reservations number on the website was just above the booking form but they would still prefer to pick up the phone and incur the cost of calling us…

Zimbo Jam finally launches new site after one week of down time

Zimbabwe’s most trafficked entertainment and lifestyle news website, Zimbo Jam, is finally back. The site went down on 13 April as the team there upgraded it to a new version. During the upgrade however, things didn’t go as planned; a major component failed, derailing the whole upgrade process. will lend you mobile airtime, at no extra charge

Zimbabwe has over the years become a predominantly cash society while mobile communication continues to grow and be pivotal to most consumers in the informal sector. We recognise the inherent burdens airtime pre-payment inflicts on consumers.

Making diesel out of waste plastic – a SIFE-MSU Project

Amoung the inspiring presentations made at the event was this project by a BOOST-SIFE Zimbabwe team of students at the Midlands State University (more about the BOOST-SIFE initiative here), which I thought would be great share here. The project is called Gre-Cycling and it’s basically research on a machine that converts waste plastic to diesel.

SMS, USSD and the mobile web: Zimbabwe is not that country

It was just a few months ago, sitting with the CEO who had moved back into the country after working as a successful starter-up in the US. The interview part hadn’t started and I was shaking a bit (he had come to pick me up in a classy vehicle and drove me to his classy house so yes I’m not used to being so..I don’t know). He was narrating his experiences in the States and how you could earn big from the silliest of apps or nothing from a huge idea. Then he leaned forward, reached in his pocket and brought out a monochrome phone and said “If you want to be big in Africa, you can’t go wrong with mobile. This is the only way. The regular guy knows SMS…[bla bla bla]“. I nodded and shook (50-50). He was definitely not the first to tell me this, and wasn’t the last but I wasn’t and still am not convinced.

In just 3 months, Google’s Woza Online publishes 11 200 business websites

In January this year, Google South Africa in collaboration with Vodacom and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) South Africa launched Woza Online, an online business directory whose mission is to help put small and middle sized businesses online. The move has paid off as the company’s Country Manager said at an event that they have published 11 200 websites since launch (their target was 10 000). He also highlighted that there is clearly a strong appetite among SMEs to get online and take advantage of what the web has to offer.

The role of government in fostering an active tech startup ecosystem

One issue often mentioned in discussion about mobile and the web as platforms for technology entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe is the issue of an environment that doesn’t encourage innovation, and one that doesn’t reward on merit. It is no secret that Zimbabwe has fallen behind other top nations in Africa in harnessing the potential of these platforms for economic development. While adoption of mobile phones and the internet has significantly increased, we still just use these platforms to make calls, access emails, Facebook and for the academics, some research.

Of installing open source software and starting an internet business

Classifieds (and business directories), like Social Networking, are a favourite with local tech startups. Very much so you’d think with all this work addressing the classifieds problem, it’d be solved by now. That an ordinary person would be able to easily post an ad to platform with any device they have and within minutes be getting calls, and hopefully by the end of the day have a couple of serious leads. You know, the way it works when you throw a classified ad in the paper.

SA micro-payments startup, ZunguZ, allows money transfer via Facebook

South Africa’s Rob Sussman and Lance Fanaroff introduced (officially) in December of 2011 a cost-free money transfer system that allows anyone on Facebook to transfer money to anyone else on Facebook. The two founders have taken the concept to Facebook’s Palo Alto offices and to prominent banks and financial institutions where they have received the nod of approval.

Kubatana’s Freedom Fone open source project wins award

The Kubatana initiated open source project, Freedom Fone, won an award for Innovation in Media technology at a ceremony organized by the Index on Censorship. The award category recognized Kubatana for innovation and original use of new technology to circumvent censorship and foster debate, argument or dissent. The category is supported by popular web giant, Google.