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Reserve Bank to pay R250 million back to Mark Shuttleworth

Published by on Oct 1st, 2014, 1 Comment

Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth is a very wealthy man and now he looks to add even more to his riches after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in his favour in his lengthy legal battle against the South African Reserve Bank.

The local tech entrepreneur – and first African in space – has been battling with the Reserve Bank for over a year about the pricey exchange control levies and today finally received judgement, which of course was in his favour.

The SCA has ordered the South African Reserve Bank to pay Shuttleworth R250 million, plus interest.

The official amount that the Reserve Bank has to pay to Shuttleworth is R250 474 893, 50 (plus the interest, of course). The sum is equal to that which Shuttleworth had to pay for moving his assets out of the country.

Shuttleworth has not been living in South Africa since 2001, when he moved to the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that the billionaire decided to take the rest of his money with him to the UK. He has a reported fortune of R2.5 billion. (more…)

Startup Knight 2014 – entries are open!

Published by on Sep 17th, 2014, 2 Comments

startupknight2014

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…)

Exactly how fast is Uber growing? Uber fast

Published by on Sep 9th, 2014, No Comments

Uber CEO

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…)

BuzzFeed receives a further $50 million investment

Published by on Aug 11th, 2014, No Comments

Buzzfeed

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…)

Apple and Beats are now officially together

Published by on Aug 4th, 2014, No Comments

Apple Beats Official

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…)

ManServants – a startup for the ladies

Published by on Aug 1st, 2014, No Comments

ManServants

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…)

Report: Apple acquires talk radio app, Swell

Published by on Jul 29th, 2014, No Comments

Swell app

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…)

Yo, the world’s simplest app, receives further funding

Published by on Jul 22nd, 2014, No Comments

Yo

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…)

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