It has to be said that South Africans are nothing short of innovative. This is evident more than ever in the number of start-ups that have exploded on to the scene in the last few years. More and more people seem to be taking the plunge into the exciting world of entrepreneurship, much to the delight of their fellow South Africans who luckily get to reap the rewards of some seriously fantastic ideas that are being made into realities.
It has to be said that South Africans are nothing short of innovative. This is evident more than ever in the number of start-ups that have exploded on to the scene in the last few years. More and more people seem to be taking the plunge into the exciting world of entrepreneurship, much to the delight of their fellow South Africans who luckily get to reap the rewards of some seriously fantastic ideas that are being made into realities. Here are just four of the many fledgling South African start-ups worth keeping your eye on.
The brainchild of Neil Du Preez and Kobus Breytenbach and inspired by alternative means of transport available in Europe, Mellowcabs is an exciting Franschhoek-based taxi start-up. Tapping into the niche market of “last mile commuters”, Mellowcabs offers an ecofriendly, efficient, urban micro transportation option, and the best part is, it’s free. How do they make money then, you ask? Through banner ads, of course. The ads appear on the sides of the electric mini cabs and give advertisers a unique opportunity to promote their brands. The cherry on top has to be the on-board tablets that utilise geo-location software that trigger location-specific adverts. The taxi industry just took an exciting turn.
Co-found by Joe Botha, Werner van Zyl and Jan Pool, GUST Pay is essentially a quick and easy mobile payment alternative. The Stellenbosch-based start-up brings the idea of wearable technology to life with its NFC wristband technology, making payments at festivals and other large-scale events quick and painless. The GUST Pay mobile application is available on both iOS and android phones, and transforms a usually lengthy and fairly complicated payment process into a simple and fast one. Ultimately, it means shorter queues, cashless transactions and an overall seamless ticketing experience for both buyers and sellers. In a game where convenience is key, GUST Pay delivers.
The high costs of broadband and data connections across Africa is a nagging issue and one to which many South Africans are unfortunately more than familiar. The low data speeds mean lagging video steaming and ultimately, frustrated users. Enter Tuluntulu – a content distribution application for mobile phones. Launched by founder Pierre van der Hoven in 2012, Tuluntulu “is designed to meet the challenges of the developing world’s congested mobile networks and low-bandwidth environments”. Its main aim is to deliver users a viewing experience that is both inexpensive and uninterrupted. It’s built with South Africans in mind with the vision of combining low data speeds with video delivery in a way that allows access to TV anytime, anywhere.
Wherever you are in South Africa, there tends to be a strong sense of community. SPOTTM is a private social platform created for you and your neighbours that allows you to fight crime as well as connect socially. Think of it as a virtual notice board that can be used to report crime in your area, find your lost pet or invite your neighbours to a neighbourhood gathering. As SPOTTM says: “Our aim is to use technology to create safer and socially engaged neighbourhoods.” It’s an excellent way to connect with your neighbours, help prevent crime and hopefully live in a safer, more close-knit community.
South African talent is manifesting in a number of exciting and innovative small companies that are really going places. There’s no doubt that there will be many more start-ups to follow so watch this space.
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