Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

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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 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 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. 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 domains

Speaking to the many tech entrepreneurs we meet locally, they all tell you they prefer registering .com domains over 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 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: 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, 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.

Double Standards: Why Facebook should be locked out of China

For those who don’t know it yet, China is now the second hottest hub for startups and internet based enterprises in the world ( after Silicon Valley). Investors and entrepreneurs everywhere you think of are cracking their heads to figure out a way to be a part of the world’s biggest market by internet users and most other metrics.

CSZ: Entrepreneurial Development Using ICT

We received the notification of this month’s Computer Society function and we thought we would share it with you. First because the speaker at the function, Mr. Cosmas Rashama, is one of Zimbabwe’s most known Cisco instructors, and second because he’s speaking on a topic most of you would love to discuss, Entrepreneurial Development Using ICT.

A critique of the Start-up Challenge

The depth of talent showcased at The Start-up challenge gave me renewed optimism for Zimbabwe. I wish to congratulate the deserving finalists and the organisers for putting on a fantastic show. Although some projects didn’t end up making the finals, most had strong concepts and I hope the entrepreneurs are not discouraged but continue to pursue their ideas. Even as we celebrate this success, we need to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the format used, to build on the strengths and improve on the weaknesses to ensure even more successful events in the future.

biNu registers rapid growth in Zimbabwe mobile app market

We came to know about biNu some several months ago when we wrote articles about eTXT. There was a lot of mention about it on our Facebook page. Readers compared it to eTXT and later Dasuba. The messaging component of biNu at least. I personally didn’t try biNu until 12 days ago, and what an impression it has left on me!

The stats we received from biNu are impressive too. biNu usage has grown rapidly in the country. According to the startup, just in the month of August 2011, biNu had in excess of 60,000 unique users, 1.9 million sessions and 22 million page views in Zimbabwe alone.

ZOL Start-up Challenge: Predict and win competition winner

Thank you for the overwhelming entries to everyone who participated in the ZOL Startup Challenge – Predict and Win competition. The winner of the 1.5GB ZOLspot voucher is Simbarashe D.

And the winner of the ZOL Start-up Challenge is…

We’re here at the Crowne Plaza in Harare and the winner in the ZOL Startup Challenge 2011 has just been announced. It is the Mukela Travel team. The prize money for Mukela Travel is US $10,000. Of that, US $5,000 is cash and the other half in Internet services.

ZOL Startup Challenge: Predict and win competition!

As you probably know, tomorrow is the big day; Five finalists in the ZOL Start-up Challenge will battle it out for the top prize at the finals. The top start-up will be awarded US $5,000 cash and US $5,000 worth of internet services from ZOL. Two runner-ups will each get US $2,500 cash and US $2,500 in internet services.

Today, we’re happy to announce that one of you our readers also get to win something in the challenge.

Startups, pride and open source

Since I started working with the internet back in 2001, I have used open source software to create. Indeed, back then open source software was the only opportunity to create online for a lot of people. I was in a Zimbabwean city called Gweru, and software piracy then was not as rampant as it the case now.

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: FUNZA

Funza is an online recruitment platform targeted at grassroots recruitment. It is the only concept stage startup to qualify for the finals. Escar concludes will also provide its development, placement and consultancy services in the greater sub-region.

Financial Express: a startup takes aim at Goliath

Not too long ago, Kabweza and l met Tommy Deuschle of Big Africa – a start-up that has gone through many pivots. According to Tommy, the current focus of the company is to become a virtual startup/business accelerator by leveraging on the power of relationships in business. His aim is to create a self sustaining network of businesses that compliment and consolidate each other. One of these startups that Big Africa is a part of is Finx (Financial Express).

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: Softwarehouse – Hardware Inventory

Hardware Inventory is a proprietary Windows based application developed by Softwarehouse, a local startup that began on the back of their Quickstem Suite-a floriculture management software that has been used by farmers in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Netherlands among others. Quickstem was beginning to gain traction until the global recession resulted in less demand for the product, combined with local challenges the flower growing sector has faced locally.

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: Ribe Networks

Ribe Networks is a local chat application that has set its sight on disrupting internet based messaging. It intends to do so by offering users across all mainstream mobile and pc platforms the ability to interact with peers through the lightweight and locally hosted Ribe Chat application. Users can link their Ribe account to Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, MSN, Yahoo Mail and others.

Startups: The International Telecoms Union is waiting for your pitch

Two weeks ago, ITU (the International Telecoms Union) launched a global competition that seeks to give 60 Young Innovators and Digital Innovators the chance to travel to its flagship event, ITU Telecoms World in Geneva (October 24-27). Entrants will be able to pitch their ground-breaking ideas to leaders of the world’s ICT industry. Techzim would have wanted to publish this sooner however we have just found out about it. And it’s not too late!

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: Mukela Travel

With just ten days left before the ZOL Startup Challenge finals, this short series will profile each finalist in the challenge, exploring what they hope to achieve and how they intend to do so.  Team: Tawanda Sibanda, Vimbai Hungwe , Takudzwa Mhlanga Sector: e-Tourism Product Summary: Online reservation and hospitality management Product Status: live Mukela […]

Startup Challenge: One swallow doth not a summer make!

I thought it important to share with you my recent experiences as a judge at the inaugural Zimbabwe Tech Start-Up Challenge. First of all go take a look at “3 more finalists are selected for the Start-Up Challenge” which will give you a good idea of what happened. Part one is on this link!

The long and the short of it is that the innovation and skills that were on show far exceeded my expectations, which were admittedly pretty low, but nevertheless……

3 more finalists are selected for the Startup Challenge

Yesterday, 16 August was an intense day at the Startup Challenge. A total of 10 tech startups pitched to the panel of judges and 3 were selected to go through to the next round. The startups that made it to the next round are, in no particular order: Software House (an Internet based tech hardware inventory tool), Funza (a recruitment company, looking to use the internet to implement some unique recruitment methods) and Ribe Networks (developing a chat aggregation social and social network & communication platform, Ribe Chat.)

Pictures: the Startup Challenge on 15 August 2011

We spent the better part of today at the Startup Challenge interacting with tech startups and watching them demo. It was an exciting day, filled with a lot of great ideas presented by some of the most interesting Zimbabweans in tech. It’s not easy to explain how it feels to be amoung such amazing people and watch them passionately talk about their startups.

Startup Challenge: Open for applications to 15 August qualifying event

At the qualifying Startup Challenge event, held last week alongside BarCamp Zimbabwe on 3 August, only 2 startups, Mukela Travel and Sadomba-Mahari, managed to make it to the finals. The target was 5 startups to battle for the collective prizes totaling $25,000 – sponsored by Zimbabwe Online (ZOL).