Week 08: Low-cost MBA program piloted in South Africa, Africa’s first instant, on-demand, cargo insurance platform, TinyEco wins the H20 Hackathon

2018 seems to be keeping its promise to be a year of big change for South Africans. Providing the perfect counter-weight to the optimism felt during the SONA address made by new President Cyril Ramaphosa was the budget speech made this week by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. The speech provided a sobering view of a government desperately trying to keep up with growing debts and social responsibilities. Increased taxes across the board will come into effect from April this year including, increased VAT charged on items, higher petrol prices and Sin Taxes. All this promises to keep South Africans pockets lighter than expected.


Low-cost MBA program piloted in South Africa: First documented by author Laurie Pickard, the No-Pay-MBA concept is simple, avoid the excessive costs associated with studying a traditional MBA program by using only content provided by (MOOCS) Massive Open Online Courses. The course is being piloted in Cape town, in part thanks to a partnership between a South African NGO, Salesian Life Choices, and Tom Ryan, the co-creator of the UCT’s Graduate School of Business’ Executive MBA program. The 100-week long course will only cost the R38 000.
SiliconCape.com, LifeChoices.co.za, NoPayMBA.com

InsurTech startup Surefox offering Africa’s first instant, on-demand, cargo insurance platformShort for; Insurance on the Freight Open Exchange, the Surefox system promises to help you insure your cargo in minutes. Your cargo is accurately insured, based on a number of inputs from the user directly from the EmptyTrips website. The premium quoted and can then be paid and invoiced securely online. This innovation means that a process typically taking days can be now be completed in minutes, as and when your cargo needs to move.
VentureBurn.com,  EngineeringNews.co.za, TechMoran.com

TinyEco wins the H20 Hackathon: Thanks to a partnership between StartupBootCamp and the financial services provider RCS group, innovators from the Cape Town area were given a chance to showcase their talent in what was known as a water-saving Hackathon. The team from TinyEco walked away with the R20 000 prize money for their invention, the TinyLoop. The TinyLoop provides a closed-loop shower system allowing the user to enjoy a continuous shower whilst not needing more than 10 litres of water.
VentureBurn.com, Disrupt-Africa.com

Comic Con coming to Africa: The world-famous Comic Con event will be making it’s African debut at the Kyalami International Convention Centre from the 14th to the 16th September 2018.  The event panders to geeks of all shapes and sizes due to the variety of toys, gadgets, clothing, anime and manga on display. The event in Johannesburg will be attended by local and international celebrities including South African actors John Kani and Connie Chuime of Black Panther fame. Big companies such as Microsoft Xbox, ASUS and MSI have already signed to exhibit their wares at the event.
MyBroadBand.co.za, Fin24, TimesLive.co.za

The first ever AI Expo to be hosted in Century City Conference Centre, Cape Town: September 9-11 with see Cape Town host 27 different speakers, along with 28 different exhibitors, taking up the cause of educating the attending delegates of the role of AI in the world economy. Based on 6 distinct themes including; Connecting, Knowledge, Innovation, Education, Support and Business the event promises to bring industry role players together. Ticket sales open the 1st March and start from R4900.
TechSmart.co.za, SiliconCape.com, BizCommunity.com,  AIExpoAfrica.com

  • Vodacom to updates to important customer care, prepaid recharge and airtime balance check numbers Memeburn.com
  • Johannesburg based startup TradeSafe provides trusted Escrow services for buyers and sellers. SiliconCape.com
  • Venture Incubation Program applications close 28th Feb.  GSBSolutionSpace.uct.ac.za
  • Better year expected for South African startups in 2018. Disrupt-Africa.com
  • South African VAT hiked from 14-15% Fin24.com



Kenyan Tourism Sector to get 20% rise: The International firm Dei Technologies in January launched a social networking software called DeiPlaces at Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi. The product is the local answer to TripAdvisor, allowing people to discover, create and share places and memories with friends and families.The platform is anticipated to boost local tourism by 20 per cent at the end of the year by promoting and marketing tour spots and activities across Africa. According to the company’s business development manager, Dr Paul Bamutaze, technology and innovation are the forces behind the current aggressive tourism and travel campaigns that have taken root in the East African region. He added: “There are over a billion places across the continent worth visiting but people do not know about them. DeiPlaces is now here to help us market such places to the world”. techinafrica.com

SleepOut: is an online portal that puts Kenya’s local accommodations on the map. It can be used by backpackers, hotel aficionados, or tourists visiting the area. There are reviews, bookings, and contact information for all the hotels. It doesn’t sound revolutionary, but it’s something that was lacking in the country and in Africa in general. SleepOut was started by Mikul Shah, who launched EatOut Kenya in 2011. The company quickly became the most popular source for food reviews and locations. sleepout.co.ke: eatout.co.ke

Boda Boda riders launch bike-hailing app: In January, the Boda Boda Safety Association of Kenya launched a new app called JuuBike that will connect riders to customers in what the Association says will streamline the industry and inject discipline. Speaking in Nairobi when he condemned the ban of riders in Nairobi’s CBD, the national chairman of the association, Kevin Mubadi, said they have 800,000 members who are ready to join the app, which will work the same way taxi-hailing apps work, but with additional services.Mubadi added: „From the comfort of your seat, you will be able to order a ride, get courier services and enjoy the convenience“. bizcommunity.co.ke


Wikipedia ends no-cost mobile access for developing countries
The Wikimedia Foundation launched Wikipedia Zero in 2012 with the hopes of democratizing information through a simple concept: cellular carriers in developing countries would offer access to its crowdsourced knowledge without charging data fees. However, it appears to have run its course. The organization has discontinued Zero with plans to phase it out through 2018. Wikimedia has stopped forming new carrier partnerships, and will let its existing alliances end over time. There has been a significant drop off in involvement since 2016, Wikimedia said, and that participation is necessary to keep Zero alive.
engadget.com, blog.wikimedia.org

Hackers Infiltrated Tesla to Mine Cryptocurrency
While Elon Musk was busy planning how to launch his Tesla Roadster into the depths of space last month, a hacker was silently using Tesla’s computing power to mine an unknown amount of cryptocurrency. The unidentified attackers found their way in through cracks in Tesla’s cloud environment, according to a report issued by RedLock security on February 20. The miners were able to gain access via an unprotected Tesla Kubernete console—an open source system that manages applications. Once they obtained access to the console, the attackers were able to run scripts that allowed them to stealthily mine cryptocurrency.

Google Brain: Intelligent software writes Wikipedia articles: A team within Google Brain – the web giant’s crack machine-learning research lab – has taught software to generate Wikipedia-style articles by summarizing information on web pages. Although summarizing articles on web pages are not easy and they had a varying degree of success. Just like Google, Salesforce has been working on a model to create relevant and highly readable multi-sentence summaries of long text, such as news articles, significantly improving on previous results and their results weren’t bad. A paper, out last month and just accepted for this year’s International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) in April, describes just how difficult text summarization really is.
theregister.co.uk, tecknowlogic.com

      • Bill Gates: ‘A.I. can be our friend’ cnbc.com
      • Economy: How blockchain can end poverty wsj.com
      • Autonomous taxis: Daimler, Bosch to test self-driving cars soon reuters.com
      • Genome: Blockchain meets genetic testing in startup Nebula Genomics fortune.com