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African Tech News Tidbits: Week of April 10th

Startup Weekend Dakar

Back for another session of ATNT, and I got some good reads for you. This week the topics covered include disruptive technology in an African context, startups raising funds, hackathons, and a robbery/kidnapping victime saved by Twitter, yes you can believe it!

  • The always-on-point Will Mutua at AfricanBrains gives us an excellent take on the opportunities for disruptive technology in an African context, highlighting current examples of such technologies and what the opportunities in the field are. If you are looking for a good idea on a startup, you might find some inspiration there. Mutua also has a preview of theKenyan Innovation & Startup Report for 2012 available for download.
  • Talking about disruption, it pays to be disruptive as Accion, an international microfinance and investment firm, has launched Venture Lab, a $10 million investment vehicle which will provide seed capital and management support to financial inclusion startups in East Africa, focusing on those companies developing game-changing technologies and disruptive business models with the potential to transform the quality and scale of financial services available to the world’s un- and under-banked.
 
  • Raising capital: Jason Njorku, the maverick Nigerian internet entrepreneur and founder of Iroko Partners, the holding company behind the immensely successful NollywoodLove, has confirmed that his company has raised $8 million in venture capital from Tiger Global Management, a New York-based private equity and hedge fund run by billionaire Chase Coleman, and other investors.
  • Quick News from the Tech Scene in Cameroon: The Cardiopad, which we had talked about previously, has just secured funding from the government to the tune of about $40,000. Cameroon is also seeing a boom in USB mobile hotspots and competition is intensifying between the various providers. Bandwidth is still an issue though (500Kb/s tp 650 Kb/s) . Cameroon will also celebrate Women In ICT Day on April 26th 2012
  • Some news out of Senegal:  March 30th to April 1stwas Startup Weekend Dakar which saw about 150 participants competing with apps about agriculture and art. The winners were My African Touch, a virtual art village and e-commerce platform that enables foreign African art lovers to purchase rare and unique pieces like statues, clothes, painting, The second team Innov’Atif, developed a mobile app that helps farmers manage their production and increase their yield. The third team, Smart Pagel, created a mobile market place where land buyers and owners can interact and share reliable information. Read the interesting summary here
  • Cool Website: Insight Africa provides insight in the media habits of consumers in Sub Saharan Africa.
  • Check out Rasello, a Foursquare like startup in Tanzania.
  • Check out this story on Cashless Lagos over at Techloy, which gives an account of living in Lagos four days into the government’s backed Cashless Nigeria Policy, which aims to reduce the amount of cash in circulation.
  • A good article on the impact of language in ICT projects over at ICTWorks.
  • An interview with Microsoft Head for Central and West Africa, Simon Ouattara about IT in West Africa.
  • The incredible story of this South African man robbed, put in the trunk of his car and whose SMS to his girlfriend generated a tweet and...just read the story.

That is all for this week. See you in a couple of weeks. Until such time!