Have you been harbouring an amazing, innovative idea that will turn the tech industry on its head? Well, tech entrepreneurs and visionaries listen up; Byte orbit’s annual startup competition, Startup Knight, is here again, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever.
If you haven’t heard of Startup Knight yet, then it’s time to get acquainted.
Startup Knight aims to empower and inspire up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs and visionaries in South Africa, by offer them the chance to showcase their ideas to investors and ultimately receiving a kickstart in their venture.
The competition is divided into two phases; the Startup Phase and the Concept Phase.
The Startup Phase has a prerequisite that all entrants must already have a working prototype of their product, or have their product already in the market. As for the Concept phase, this only requires entrants to have an innovative idea that is commercially viable or has the ability to attract high volumes of users.
The Concept Phase entrants will be required to demonstrate research into the concept as well as offering a revenue model and go-to market plan.
This year the theme for Startup Knight is ‘Technology That Enables’. To elaborate, this means that this year’s competition is aimed at startups and concepts that are focused on innovations that enable SMEs to operate more efficiently, more competitively and those that achieve scalability.
To give you an idea of the kind of concepts and startups they’re looking for think DropBox, Salesforce, MailChimp, Linode and FreshBooks.
What’s in it for me, you ask? Well, some pretty amazing prizes. (more…)
It’s one of the most talked about tech companies in the world right now, and if these latest sentiments by its CEO are to be believed, it is also one of the fastest growing companies in the world.
Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, has made some pretty impressive statements regarding his chauffeur-like service. So impressive, in fact, that Uber might be contributing to healthy chunk of job creation the world over.
Speaking at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Kalanick said that Uber is creating nearly 50 000 jobs per month. Yes, that’s right – 50 000.
“There are hundreds of thousands of partners connected to our system…[sic] We’re in the neck of 50,000 new jobs every month that are being created” he told the interviewer and surprised audience.
50 000 is no small number and considering that the company announced that they roughly create 20 000 jobs back in May, the growth rate of the company is nothing less than astonishing. (more…)
Viral media company, BuzzFeed, has just secured themselves their fifth round of funding, to the tune of a whopping $50 million.
The news media website, that was founded in 2006, has grown to be one of the world’s leading news and entertainment websites – steadily covering more news worthy subjects than simply posting cat videos and pop culture memes.
Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, is the latest investor to jump aboard the BuzzFeed train. Co-founder, Marc Andreessen, announced the investment on Twitter this morning.
Starting off by saying that he was ‘tickled pink’ to announce the investment in BuzzFeed, he then continued saying that him and his company would like to help BuzzFeed “realize it’s dreams of a profoundly important new media institution.”
But just what is BuzzFeed going to do with their $50 million investment? Well, according to a New York Times interview with BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief, Ben Smith, the main goal looks to be expansion.
The company plans on opening more offices outside of the US. They are currently looking at expanding to Japan, India, Germany and Mexico.
Along with opening new offices around the globe, Smith also said that this new investment will be used to fund an in-house tech incubator, create new categories on the BuzzFeed website and also help fund acquisitions.
The company is also planning to launch something called BuzzFeed Distributed. This division will mainly focus on creating content for other platforms including Tumblr and Instagram – rather than just the BuzzFeed site. (more…)
Undoubtedly one of the biggest and most newsworthy acquisitions of the year thus far has been that of Apple and Beats.
When we first broke the news in May that Apple will be buying Beats for a whopping $3 billion, we were just as intrigued as the rest of the world. And now, after months of formalities and approvals, the deal is done.
Apple had finally received US regulatory to acquire Beats and on Saturday, they posted a page to their website officially welcoming Beats to the Apple family.
The message read:
“Today we are excited to officially welcome Beats Music and Beats Electronics to the Apple family. Music has always held a special place in our hearts, and we’re thrilled to join forces with a group of people who love it as much as we do. Beats cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have created beautiful products that have helped millions of people deepen their connection to music. We’re delighted to be working with the team to elevate that experience even further.
And we can’t wait to hear what’s next” (more…)
Ladies, we all want the perfect boyfriend or husband. He needs to charming and witty and kind and he needs to do everything you ask him to without complaining, am I right? Well, now you can get your hands on the perfect man… at a price.
ManServants is a San Francisco-based startup that aims to provide women (or men) with the proverbial ‘perfect husband’ – at least for a day.
It’s important to note that ManServants is not an escort service, so you won’t be getting lucky with this service. Instead, the aim is to help or merely entertain customers for a day.
Your ManServant will basically cater to your every need. He can prepare meals and serve them, act as a butler for the day, be your handy-man and help you fix things around your house or merely keep you company when you’re alone. Almost like a bodyguard.
If you really need a pair of extra hands, your ManServant can also act as your PA or errand-boy and take you to and from meetings, deliver packages or documents or help you with your admin. All while being charming and friendly. (more…)
Apple seems to be continuing their recent shopping spree and is reportedly closing the deal on acquiring talk-radio app, Swell for a cool $30 million.
According to a report by Re/code, the talks between Apple and Swell are nearing an end and the official acquisition will go through soon.
Swell, which has been described by many as a ‘Pandora for talk radio’, is essentially a podcast app that you can tailor to your personal needs. The app claims to learn the listening habits of the user and then makes suggestions based on previous content.
Swell will the start building a personalized radio service just for you, so you can listen to the thing that interest you most. However, should you not want to listen to a specific podcast Swell chose for you, you can easily move on by simply swiping it away.
Swell is mostly designed for listening in your car. (more…)
A few weeks ago, we reported on what we thought could possibly be the world’s simplest app. Yo, the single-function app basically does exactly what it’s name suggests; it let’s you say ‘yo’ to your friends.
And while the app was considered rather strange by many critics and tech journalists, Yo has just gone and given the finger to all it’s naysayers after it received a second round of funding – to the tune of $1.5 million.
Betaworks, a seed-stage VP firm that is based in New York City is one of the investors along with Mashable founder and CEO, Pete Cashmore.
But just what is it about Yo that makes people want to invest large amounts of money into it? (more…)
Gartner, Inc. estimates that by 2020, there will be 7.3 billion personal devices and 30 billion sensors in things ranging from jewellery to appliances – up from 1.6 billion personal devices and 0.9 billion sensors in 2009. These devices communicating, transacting, and even negotiating with each other, lead into a new world – the era of the digital business.
“The digital business is the coming together of possibilities in the physical and virtual worlds to create new business designs that can drive competitive advantage,” said Jeffrey Mann, Gartner research vice president.
“As the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart objects meet cloud, mobile, social and information, the IoT will create entirely new combinations of technology at accelerated speeds,” said Mr Mann. “This will disrupt existing business models, reshape entire industries and redefine the role of IT.”
Gartner projects that by 2020 the total economic value-add for the IoT will be $1.9 trillion in this digital industrial economy.
Mr Mann added that it’s not about using technology as an enabler, but as a source of innovation for what the business could do. “Businesses need to put technology at the heart of how they generate revenue, seize competitive advantage and produce value.”
This digitalisation will completely change business technology and information architecture, what it needs from vendors, and how it deals with cyber security and risk. It will also require every business leader to have digital leadership skills.
“Especially in South Africa there’s been a lot of emphasis on cutting budgets to the bone,” said Mr Mann. “A lot of the decisions that were made to ‘do more with less’ can hurt digital business efforts if there isn’t enough flexibility to react to and take advantage of new opportunities.”
This year’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa will focus on emerging technologies, defining strategy, what leaderships skills are going to be necessary, and what you have to be ready for in the new digital industrial economy. It will also look at the more practical short-term challenges of how to run the business better, like how to decide on a collaboration platform or how to design an application portfolio.
As part of the agenda, vice president and Gartner Fellow Mark Raskino’s 2015 digital business scenario will look at the most important digital business actions each senior executive must take. Principal research analyst, Will Hahn, will explain why you need 53 African Strategies for success on the continent. Research vice president Brian Burke will look at how gamification motivates people to do extraordinary things. In addition, research vice president Frank Buytendijk will explore digital ethics at the centre of the digital business.
“Businesses can’t rely on old practices, safe relationships, legacy technologies and known vendors anymore in the new digital era,” said Rene Jacobs, Gartner Africa managing director.
“They have to explore, adapt and adopt new digital realities,” said Mrs Jacobs Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa 2014, the foremost gathering of IT leaders on the continent, will equip and inspire senior executives with new digital knowledge from our specially crafted agenda, peer networking and one-on-one discussions with Gartner analysts.
The Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa 2014 will take place at the CTICC from 10-12 September. A team of 18 of Gartner‘s leading research analysts will spend three days sharing more than 50 presentations with new global research and in-depth studies. The ITxpo will also showcase some of the latest service provider offerings. For more information and a full agenda, please visit http://www.gartner.co.za.