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Posts Tagged ‘K. The’

CircleUp Opens Today to Help Other Startup Investors

April 17th, 2012 04:30 admin View Comments

circleup-150.jpgThe JOBS act supposedly paves the way for additional crowdfunded investments. But starting today, a new crowdfunding operator is in business hoping to take out some of the risk for anyone who wants to invest.

Called CircleUp.com, the company is taking a different approach to get around the 270-day waiting period for investors and small businesses to take part in the crowdfunding allowed by the new act. CircleUp is already an approved broker-dealer and has begun prescreening ventures that are ready to be funded. The idea is to become a Kickstarter for small, established companies, and to offer a small piece of equity to the general public.

Well, not all of the general public. As with any investment vehicle in the precrowdfunding era, investors have to meet certain income and liquidity tests, meaning that you already have to have some money in the bank. The threshold is someone who makes $200K a year or a couple with a combined annual income of $300K.

The founder of the company is Ryan Caldbeck, and he is not a newcomer to the world of small business financing. Caldbeck spent seven years as a consumer-focused growth equity investor helping to evaluate and fund companies that had at least $10 million in revenue. He realized that there were angels out there who wanted to invest in companies they believed in, but didn’t have access to those companies. “It takes a lot of networking and knowing the right people at the right time,” Caldbeck says. “I wanted to build some transparency into the system.” That was the idea behind CircleUp.

circleup_screen.jpg
So what the service does is present investment opportunities to the public. Each potential opportunity is prescreened by the investment advisors at CircleUp, and the site collects on one page all kinds of company information, including financials and details about the actual business. At the moment, CircleUp is only looking at established consumer-product companies with merchandise already available in physical stores. The idea is to bring an element of reality to this sector and give potential investors some firsthand experience in the brands in which they want to invest. “For the companies looking to raise capital, CircleUp’s investor network not only provides capital, but also an informed, passionate constituency of support to help the company reach the next level,” Caldbeck explains.

Right now, the CircleUp site only lists three ventures. Investments are going for less than $5,000 per unit, a manageable level for first-time equity investors. Whether the idea will scale and attract the kind of investors that Caldbeck predicts, is hard to say. But it certainly is a site to watch as the crowdfunding arena heats up.

Source: CircleUp Opens Today to Help Other Startup Investors

New Agile Cloud Management Solutions From CA

November 14th, 2011 11:00 admin View Comments

When you are as large as CA Technologies, you typically announce a bunch of new products (as we covered this past July) and especially around its annual CA World conference that is being held in Vegas this week. Today CA announced two new identity and access management cloud security services IdentifyMinder and FedMinder; the Cloud 360 process for cloud management; and Cloud Commons Marketplace and Developer Studio for buying and selling cloud-based development projects. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

IdentityMinder as-a-Service provides user management, provisioning and user access requests for either on-premises or cloud apps. The FedMinder as-a-Service helps provide single sign-on across domains and federated identity management so that users can securely access the data and applications or cloud services outside their own domains. These are just two of other complementary services that are part of CA’s cloud services offerings.

The Cloud Commons ecosystem is a thriving community of more than 3,000 members. Think of it as an app store for the SaaS set. Current Marketplace cloud solutions include all kinds of SaaS, IaaS, and Paas submissions, and span hosted their own AppLogic-created apps but also Microsoft based appliances, cloud control panels, virtual desktop and mobile hosting, and other vertical industry applications. The Marketplace provides ISVs a new channel distribution opportunity and inbound marketing tool, while service providers can easily add to their service catalog, aggregate richer solutions and reach new customers with more robust offerings. And it isn’t just buying the apps, but being able to host it and provision it too.

Within the Cloud Commons Developer Studio, developers can use a free version of CA AppLogic software and reserve time in CA AppLogic test grids to build and test cloud solutions in an off-site cloud infrastructure grid. Normally, AppLogic starts at $100,000 and are based on per-CPU licenses.
CA Cloud 360 graphic3.jpg
Cloud360 has a free one-day workshop to get the lay of its landscape. It is normally sold as a three-month engagement at $180K. The base package includes a workshop as well as a Cloud Application Discovery and Portfolio Analysis Service, CA Clarity PPM On Demand, CA Oblicore Guarantee On Demand, CA Capacity Management and Reporting Suite, and CA Virtual Placement Manager. Services implementation run at $150K, for a total of $330K.

Source: New Agile Cloud Management Solutions From CA

Smart Lending: On Deck Gives Your Startup A Credit Score So You Can Secure A Loan

May 19th, 2011 05:00 admin View Comments

We talk a lot about the startups and companies that receive venture capital and angel funding, but what about the other subset of small businesses that are fundamental to the success of the economy, but may not be on the radar of VCs and angels? These companies, from restaurants and small retailers to salons and florists, may not be high-potential startups like a Google or a Facebook, but they provide services we use on a daily basis and are, therefore, equally as deserving of the necessary capital that would help them get off the ground. Of course, traditionally it’s been very difficult for them to secure bank loans.

Generally speaking, these small businesses likely don’t have traditional finance departments, spend little on finance, keep small cash reserves, and often don’t have the collective experience to complete a 14-item loan package that makes them attractive to lenders. On the flip side, financial institutions can’t afford to spend a lot of time evaluating and working with businesses seeking sub-$100K loans. As a result, banks tend to fall back on personal and consumer credit scores, treating these startups as individual borrowers, rather than evaluating the credit potential of the business itself.

As a result, On Deck Capital was founded in May of 2006 to bring a technological spin to streamline the process of bringing loans to Main Street businesses and startups. Instead of simply looking, say, at an applicant’s tax returns when evaluating businesses, On Deck uses software to examine a business’ day-to-day operations. The software investigates how many customers the business has, cash flow, sales, and registered complaints, for example, in order to judge whether or not the company is solid enough to repay a loan.

Considering the fact that banks have lacked an efficient way to analyze businesses for sub-$100K loans and have underwritten commercial loans based on a consumer credit score, multitudes of creditworthy small businesses have been deprived of the capital they need to grow. As such, On Deck is today announcing its On Deck Score, a business credit score developed to provide lenders with an effective measure of a small business’ creditworthiness. The startup partnered with Equifax, which collects, organizes, and manages various financial, demographic, and employment data to develop and implement the On Deck Score. Equifax will be hosting the On Deck Score.

The cloud-based On Deck platform enables small businesses to go to create a business profile, which links to electronic data sources, including online banking, accounting and merchant processing. On Deck then combines that information with social, tax, and industry data to create a comprehensive financial profile of the business. And now banks and lenders will be able to not only have access to this complete financial profile, but an accurate business credit score, through On Deck Score, in the name of streamlining the lending process.

For a somewhat unusual approach to small business lending, On Deck has been able to spend 5 years developing the technology of its business, thanks to the attention of big-name investors. RRE Ventures, SAP Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, among others, have contributed over $30 million to the On Deck platform.

On Deck Founder and CEO Mitch Jacobs tells me that there are currently 5 million businesses that have 25 employees or less — a segment the U.S. economy relies on for 40 percent of its jobs. So, facilitating the financial underwriting of these businesses is an important goal, especially as the U.S. pulls itself out of a recession. These small businesses provide the key to a full economic recovery — and future success.

“There’s been a transformation over the last 10 years, as businesses have been going from paper-based islands of inefficiencies to adopting lots of software that’s connected to the cloud”, Jacobs said. “Banks have traditionally used less realtime information than the average 10-year-old, but now the time is right, the adoption of software by businesses is high, and there’s an opportunity for businesses to quickly create a full data profile that minimizes risk for lenders and opens up a vast sum of capital for the small business owner”.

Jacobs went on to say that the the typical loan application and approval process can take up to 3 months, but the On Deck system streamlines the lending process so that businesses can be receiving capital in as little as 2 days. As this is the case, and considering that the service is free to use, On Deck has already facilitated over $125 million at an average of loan size of $30K. The ceiling price for an On Deck loan is $150K.

For more info on the free service, check out the overview here.

Source: Smart Lending: On Deck Gives Your Startup A Credit Score So You Can Secure A Loan

Silicon South Africa: Google Launches Incubator For African Startups

April 8th, 2011 04:53 admin View Comments

Google has announced that it will be launching a startup incubator in Cape Town, South Africa, called Umbono. The incubator aims to support the local tech ecosystem in South Africa by offering local startups access to seed capital, Google mentorship, and angel investors.

Umbono will focus on web and mobile-based startups building solutions to local problems, which also have regional appeal, in an effort to help them “transform their ideas into companies”, according to Google SA country manager Luke Mckend. Fittingly, “umbono” happens to be the very Zulu word for “vision” or “idea”.

The South African incubator will be structured as a 6-month program, in which 5 startups chosen by Umbono’s panel of angel investors and Google representatives will receive a seed investment of $25K to $50K. The teams will also have access to Umbono’s free office space, bandwidth, and a mentorship network of Google experts, ready to advise the startups on issues from “product design and commercialization to legal incorporation and valuation”, Google said of Umbono in its announcement.

Local bandwidth is expensive in Cape Town — so this will likely be very attractive to young tech startups in South Africa. Not to mention the added bonus of $25K.

Umbono’s home city of Cape Town, located on the southwestern shore of South Africa, has for years been attempting to position itself as a hub of innovation and technology in subsaharan Africa. The Cape IT Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing information and communications technology in South Africa, has been lobbying Google (and others) to locate their incubators in Cape Town for some time.

Along with Cape IT, Cape Town is home to Silicon Cape, a similar initiative aimed at fostering tech entrepreneurship in South Africa, as well as veteran incubators, like the highly-regarded, 10-year-old Bandwidth Barn.

South Africa has also produced its fair share of successful (and well-funded) startups, like Yola, a website creator that has raised $25 million, MXit, an instant messaging app with over 27 million subscribers, and Twangoo, Twangoo, a group buying club, which was acquired by Groupon earlier this year — to name a few. And now the country’s startup ecosystem adds another notch to its belt by luring Google’s business development talent to its shores.

When I asked Umbono spokeswoman Julie Taylor about why Google chose South Africa and whether or not it has plans for incubators elsewhere in Africa, she told me that, at this point, Umbono is a pilot project. The incubator will test the African waters, and if the model proves to be viable — and beneficial –Google will look to expand into other emerging markets.

“South Africa is recognized as one of the innovation leaders on the continent, particularly with tech startups,” she said, “so we are enthusiastic about the possibilities here”.

Source: Silicon South Africa: Google Launches Incubator For African Startups

Meet ‘Disco’, The Group Texting App Built Secretly Inside Google

March 25th, 2011 03:39 admin View Comments

It seems like Google has made a foray into the group messaging space today with Disco, a new iPhone app and website. Well, they sort of have.

The service utilizes the Disco.com domain that Google bought at Domainfest last year for $255K. The Disco.com site went up today and the beta app hit the App Store yesterday, but no one noticed it — until now. And here’s the thing: it was made by Slide.

We’ve been testing the app here at TC HQ and thus far its pretty fast, perhaps because it’s initial build is more bare-bones than fellow group messaging contenders like Fast Society, Beluga and GroupMe. It’s actually pretty similar to the initial build of GroupMe before it added push notifications.

Again, the app is made by Slide, the storied social apps property which Google acquired in August for $182 million. Slide has made iPhone apps before, but the last one was Super Poke, an app created pre-Google acquisition. But Slide is being run as an autonomous business unit within Google, so this app is unrelated to any Google “Plus One” social projects, we hear.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment on the app and will update when we hear back.

How the app will fare competing in the already saturated group messaging space remains to be seen. In the meantime here’s two fun facts: that’s Slide founder Max Levchin’s Facebook photo in the app screenshot (he’s the one on the bike) and the sample group on the Disco homepage is named GaGa Fan Club, interesting light of Lady Gaga’s recent Google visit.

Source: Meet ‘Disco’, The Group Texting App Built Secretly Inside Google

LaunchRock And Vencorps Want To Give $30K To The “Best” Startups #SXSW

March 13th, 2011 03:25 admin View Comments

LaunchRock, the startup that wants to help companies launch by setting them up with viral launch pages, is also launching  a “Battle of the Startups” contest during SXSW. Companies that use LaunchRock pages to get beta signups will now have the chance to win $30K ($25K as a standard angel investment from collective VC firm Vencorps).

The contest is sponsored by LaunchRock, CloudSponge, HootSuite, Posterous, Rapleaf and VenCorps and consists of two parts: The first part is how many signups a startup is able to generate using the LaunchRock, up to $5K. The second consists of the VenCorps’ contribution, where LaunchRock startups who generate the most “social proof” via @ mentions in tweets and votes on Vencorps.com (from March 15th onwards) win 25K . Technically two different startups could win each contest.

Signups for the first part have already started, but the voting for the second will commence on March 15th and run through April 15th (sign up here). The top nine companies in terms of buzz will enter into the finals, and the winner of that contest will be announced on April 31st.

LaunchRock has also set up a leaderboard for SXSW startups on top of the Chupacabra at 400 E 6th Street and Trinity, and is ranking startups based on tweets in a number of categories. Right now it looks like Instagram is #winning in overall.

Source: LaunchRock And Vencorps Want To Give $30K To The “Best” Startups #SXSW

A Twitter Snapshot Of The Tunisian Revolution: Over 196K Mentions Of Tunisia, Tweeted By Over 50K Users

January 16th, 2011 01:57 admin View Comments

After four weeks of civil unrest, the fall of the Tunisian president Ben Ali played out for all the world on Twitter this Friday, some dubbing it a “Twitter Revolution” like the election protests in Iran and Moldovia. Increasingly, collective events from TV shows to the World Cup to #lessambitiousmovies to the fall of dictatorships cause spikes in related conversation on the microblogging network which, with its broad media influencer adoption, has become the world’s eminent news amplifier.

Christopher Golda of Backtype (which does Twitter analysis) provided us with snapshot of Tunisa mentions on Friday January 14th. Not surprisingly the hashtag peaked at 28 tweets per second at 21:27:56 Tunisian time (20:27:56 GMT, 12:27:56 PT), a couple hours after the first reports that Tunisan president had left the country at around 9:30 PT. At the end of the cycle, total tweets mentioning Tunisia (including those using the #Tunisia hastag) were over 196K. Total tweets for #sidibouzid (the province where the protests started) were over 103K.

The total number of people mentioning Tunisia in tweets was over 50K, which was less than the 81K boasted by the recent #Lessambitious movies Twitter trend. Golda says this is probably because the latter was “more engaging, more participatory.”

According to Backtype, the top ten Tunisian related tweets were:

Voice of Freedom@Voiceoftunisia
Voice of Freedom

Tunisians too early for congratulations, we did not succeed yet. power is still in the corrupt RCD party. #sidibouzid #tunisia #jasminrevolt

January 14, 2011 10:53 am via webRetweetReply

Mona Eltahawy@monaeltahawy
Mona Eltahawy

Every #Arab leader is watching #Tunisia in fear. Every Arab citizen is watching Tunisia in hope and solidarity. #Sidibouzid.

January 13, 2011 10:39 am via webRetweetReply

Fouad Alfarhan@alfarhan
Fouad Alfarhan

الجزيرة تقول أن بن علي متجه لدولة خليجية! ريتويت إذا كنت سعودي وترفض تقذير وطننا بإستضافة فرعون تونس الفار #sidibouzid #tunisia #BenAli

January 14, 2011 12:40 pm via Twitter for iPadRetweetReply

Twitter@twitter
Twitter

Follow Tweets from Tunisia through search.twitter.com so that If you’re in Chrome you can use Google’s Auto Translate: http://t.co/QMmYNYH

January 13, 2011 1:50 pm via webRetweetReply

BBC Breaking News@BBCBreaking
BBC Breaking News

Tunisia’s President Ben Ali steps down amid ongoing protests and leaves the country

January 14, 2011 9:52 am via TweetDeckRetweetReply

Sultan Al Qassemi@SultanAlQassemi
Sultan Al Qassemi

BREAKING NEWS: Al Jazeera Tunisian dictator Ben Ali has left Tunis and Tunisian Parliament Speaker Fuad Mbazaa has taken power

January 14, 2011 9:27 am via webRetweetReply

Dima Khatib أنا ديمة@Dima_Khatib
Dima Khatib أنا ديمة

I repeat. Situation in Tunisia is critical. Violence has spread amid chaos. Masked men like militias are attacking civilians #sidibouzid

January 14, 2011 2:40 pm via webRetweetReply

Breaking News@BreakingNews
Breaking News

Tunisian president Ben Ali has left country — @Alan Fisher of Al Jazeera reports http://bit.ly/fYZ7r3

January 14, 2011 9:33 am via breakingnews.comRetweetReply

BBC Breaking News@BBCBreaking
BBC Breaking News

Tunisia parliament dissolved

January 14, 2011 7:38 am via twitterfeedRetweetReply

CNN Breaking News@cnnbrk
CNN Breaking News

President of #Tunisia dissolves government. http://on.cnn.com/dRGcXP

January 14, 2011 7:27 am via webRetweetReply

It’s interesting to note that only three of the top tweets are from a mainstream media source (only one from the US), four (including @alfarhan’s) are breaking the news of Ben Ali’s departure and two are breaking the news of the dissolution of Parliament. The most retweeted account, @VoiceofTunisa with its 496 followers, was retweeted over 400 times.

The top sites being shared on Twitter relating to Tunisia were:

1. facebook.com
2. bbc.co.uk
3. guardian.co.uk
4. youtube.com
5. english.aljazeera.net
6. liveword.ca
7. nytimes.com
8. cnn.com
9. twitpic.com
10. news.yahoo.com

The fact that Facebook, like Twitter, sees an increase of activity around times of political change and facilitated communication between activists this time around explains its appearance at the top of the leaderboard here. More active international media like the Guardian, the BBC and Al Jazeera round out the top five. The first US-based traditional media source, The New York Times comes after the Liveword.ca blog at number seven.

Since we spend so much time on the sites ourselves, there is a tendency for bloggers and reporters to be myopic when it comes to the use of Twitter in mediating significant events. Because news about Tunisia saturated our Twitter streams, it can seem like Twitter played a crucial role in instigating the news itself.

And while the jury is still out on just how much tweets can influence something as monumental as the fall of a government, it is worth noting that the critical mass of Tunisia related activity on Twitter happened after Ben Ali fled.

Word cloud: Backtype

Source: A Twitter Snapshot Of The Tunisian Revolution: Over 196K Mentions Of Tunisia, Tweeted By Over 50K Users

A Twitter Snapshot Of The Tunisian Revolution: Over 196K Mentions Of Tunisia, Tweeted By Over 50K Users

January 16th, 2011 01:57 admin View Comments

After four weeks of civil unrest, the fall of the Tunisian president Ben Ali played out for all the world on Twitter this Friday, some dubbing it a “Twitter Revolution” like the election protests in Iran and Moldovia. Increasingly, collective events from TV shows to the World Cup to #lessambitiousmovies to the fall of dictatorships cause spikes in related conversation on the microblogging network which, with its broad media influencer adoption, has become the world’s eminent news amplifier.

Christopher Golda of Backtype (which does Twitter analysis) provided us with snapshot of Tunisa mentions on Friday January 14th. Not surprisingly the hashtag peaked at 28 tweets per second at 21:27:56 Tunisian time (20:27:56 GMT, 12:27:56 PT), a couple hours after the first reports that Tunisan president had left the country at around 9:30 PT. At the end of the cycle, total tweets mentioning Tunisia (including those using the #Tunisia hastag) were over 196K. Total tweets for #sidibouzid (the province where the protests started) were over 103K.

The total number of people mentioning Tunisia in tweets was over 50K, which was less than the 81K boasted by the recent #Lessambitious movies Twitter trend. Golda says this is probably because the latter was “more engaging, more participatory.”

According to Backtype, the top ten Tunisian related tweets were:

Voice of Freedom@Voiceoftunisia
Voice of Freedom

Tunisians too early for congratulations, we did not succeed yet. power is still in the corrupt RCD party. #sidibouzid #tunisia #jasminrevolt

January 14, 2011 10:53 am via webRetweetReply

Mona Eltahawy@monaeltahawy
Mona Eltahawy

Every #Arab leader is watching #Tunisia in fear. Every Arab citizen is watching Tunisia in hope and solidarity. #Sidibouzid.

January 13, 2011 10:39 am via webRetweetReply

Fouad Alfarhan@alfarhan
Fouad Alfarhan

الجزيرة تقول أن بن علي متجه لدولة خليجية! ريتويت إذا كنت سعودي وترفض تقذير وطننا بإستضافة فرعون تونس الفار #sidibouzid #tunisia #BenAli

January 14, 2011 12:40 pm via Twitter for iPadRetweetReply

Twitter@twitter
Twitter

Follow Tweets from Tunisia through search.twitter.com so that If you’re in Chrome you can use Google’s Auto Translate: http://t.co/QMmYNYH

January 13, 2011 1:50 pm via webRetweetReply

BBC Breaking News@BBCBreaking
BBC Breaking News

Tunisia’s President Ben Ali steps down amid ongoing protests and leaves the country

January 14, 2011 9:52 am via TweetDeckRetweetReply

Sultan Al Qassemi@SultanAlQassemi
Sultan Al Qassemi

BREAKING NEWS: Al Jazeera Tunisian dictator Ben Ali has left Tunis and Tunisian Parliament Speaker Fuad Mbazaa has taken power

January 14, 2011 9:27 am via webRetweetReply

Dima Khatib أنا ديمة@Dima_Khatib
Dima Khatib أنا ديمة

I repeat. Situation in Tunisia is critical. Violence has spread amid chaos. Masked men like militias are attacking civilians #sidibouzid

January 14, 2011 2:40 pm via webRetweetReply

Breaking News@BreakingNews
Breaking News

Tunisian president Ben Ali has left country — @Alan Fisher of Al Jazeera reports http://bit.ly/fYZ7r3

January 14, 2011 9:33 am via breakingnews.comRetweetReply

BBC Breaking News@BBCBreaking
BBC Breaking News

Tunisia parliament dissolved

January 14, 2011 7:38 am via twitterfeedRetweetReply

CNN Breaking News@cnnbrk
CNN Breaking News

President of #Tunisia dissolves government. http://on.cnn.com/dRGcXP

January 14, 2011 7:27 am via webRetweetReply

It’s interesting to note that only three of the top tweets are from a mainstream media source (only one from the US), four (including @alfarhan’s) are breaking the news of Ben Ali’s departure and two are breaking the news of the dissolution of Parliament. The most retweeted account, @VoiceofTunisa with its 496 followers, was retweeted over 400 times.

The top sites being shared on Twitter relating to Tunisia were:

1. facebook.com
2. bbc.co.uk
3. guardian.co.uk
4. youtube.com
5. english.aljazeera.net
6. liveword.ca
7. nytimes.com
8. cnn.com
9. twitpic.com
10. news.yahoo.com

The fact that Facebook, like Twitter, sees an increase of activity around times of political change and facilitated communication between activists this time around explains its appearance at the top of the leaderboard here. More active international media like the Guardian, the BBC and Al Jazeera round out the top five. The first US-based traditional media source, The New York Times comes after the Liveword.ca blog at number seven.

Since we spend so much time on the sites ourselves, there is a tendency for bloggers and reporters to be myopic when it comes to the use of Twitter in mediating significant events. Because news about Tunisia saturated our Twitter streams, it can seem like Twitter played a crucial role in instigating the news itself.

And while the jury is still out on just how much tweets can influence something as monumental as the fall of a government, it is worth noting that the critical mass of Tunisia related activity on Twitter happened after Ben Ali fled.

Word cloud: Backtype

Source: A Twitter Snapshot Of The Tunisian Revolution: Over 196K Mentions Of Tunisia, Tweeted By Over 50K Users

Possible Room Temperature Superconductor Achieved

July 27th, 2010 07:55 admin View Comments

TechkNighT_1337 sends news that surfaced on the Next Big Future blog, concerning research out of the University of Bengal, in India. The report is of a possible superconducting effect at ambient room temperatures. Here is the paper on the ArXiv. (Note that this research has not been peer-reviewed or published yet.) “We report the observation of an exceptionally large room-temperature electrical conductivity in silver and aluminum layers deposited on a lead zirconate titanate (PZT) substrate. The surface resistance of the silver-coated samples also shows a sharp change near 313 K. The results are strongly suggestive of a superconductive interfacial layer, and have been interpreted in the framework of Bose-Einstein condensation of bipolarons as the suggested mechanism for high-temperature superconductivity in cuprates. … The fact that the results described above have been obtained from very simply-fabricated systems, without the use of any sophisticated set-up and any special attention being given to crystal purity, atomic perfection, lattice matching, etc. suggests that the physical process is a universal one, involving only an interface between a metal and an insulator with a large low-frequency dielectric constant. We note in passing that PZT and the cuprates have similar (perovskite or perovskite-based) crystal structures. This resemblance may provide an added insight into the basic mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity.”

Source: Possible Room Temperature Superconductor Achieved

Silicon South Africa: Google Launches Incubator For African Startups

November 29th, 2001 11:00 admin View Comments

Google has announced that it will be launching a startup incubator in Cape Town, South Africa, called Umbono. The incubator aims to support the local tech ecosystem in South Africa by offering local startups access to seed capital, Google mentorship, and angel investors.

Umbono will focus on web and mobile-based startups building solutions to local problems, which also have regional appeal, in an effort to help them “transform their ideas into companies”, according to Google SA country manager Luke Mckend. Fittingly, “umbono” happens to be the very Zulu word for “vision” or “idea”.

The South African incubator will be structured as a 6-month program, in which 5 startups chosen by Umbono’s panel of angel investors and Google representatives will receive a seed investment of $25K to $50K. The teams will also have access to Umbono’s free office space, bandwidth, and a mentorship network of Google experts, ready to advise the startups on issues from “product design and commercialization to legal incorporation and valuation”, Google said of Umbono in its announcement.

Local bandwidth is expensive in Cape Town — so this will likely be very attractive to young tech startups in South Africa. Not to mention the added bonus of $25K.

Umbono’s home city of Cape Town, located on the southwestern shore of South Africa, has for years been attempting to position itself as a hub of innovation and technology in subsaharan Africa. The Cape IT Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing information and communications technology in South Africa, has been lobbying Google (and others) to locate their incubators in Cape Town for some time.

Along with Cape IT, Cape Town is home to Silicon Cape, a similar initiative aimed at fostering tech entrepreneurship in South Africa, as well as veteran incubators, like the highly-regarded, 10-year-old Bandwidth Barn.

South Africa has also produced its fair share of successful (and well-funded) startups, like Yola, a website creator that has raised $25 million, MXit, an instant messaging app with over 27 million subscribers, and Twangoo, Twangoo, a group buying club, which was acquired by Groupon earlier this year — to name a few. And now the country’s startup ecosystem adds another notch to its belt by luring Google’s business development talent to its shores.

When I asked Umbono spokeswoman Julie Taylor about why Google chose South Africa and whether or not it has plans for incubators elsewhere in Africa, she told me that, at this point, Umbono is a pilot project. The incubator will test the African waters, and if the model proves to be viable — and beneficial –Google will look to expand into other emerging markets.

“South Africa is recognized as one of the innovation leaders on the continent, particularly with tech startups,” she said, “so we are enthusiastic about the possibilities here”.

Source: Silicon South Africa: Google Launches Incubator For African Startups

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