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Applications open for ZAR50million WeChat Fund   

Late last year, leading social communication platform, WeChat launched a ZAR50million fund to be used for investment in promising mobile startups in South Africa.

At the moment, applications for the Summer 2016 cycle of fund are being accepted.

The fund is open to startups with a developed and tested MVP (minimal viable product), that can demonstrate strong growth/traction in the South African market and has the ability and appetite to expand into other markets on the WeChat platform.

Also, startups must not be a competitor to other official WeChat accounts (e.g. a business which directly competes with PicUp or Money4Jam).

During the application process, startup founders would be required to describe their startups in a tweet and upload a 2 minutes video to YouTube with details about their startups.

After the application process, selected startups will be invited to participate in a series of purpose and strategy workshops in Johannesburg or Cape Town in March 2016.

At the workshops, the strategic fit with the WeChat platform of the startups will be further assessed, and will help in determining the kind of support the startups will require.

Only Startups that integrate into the WeChat platform will be funded.

“Our fund aims to provide financial support to businesses so that they can effectively get on the WeChat platform,” Head of WeChat Africa, Brett Loubser said when the fund was launched last year.

He added, “This will include technical integration and communications tactics across Naspers’ stable and other suited channels.”

Interested startups should apply here before February 2, 2016. Successful applicants will receive an email by 26 February.

Naspers-backed WeChat has invested in South African startups such as M4JAM, PicUp and Order In, and this fund is another avenue to further invest into more startups.
Source: TechLoy 20 January 2016

Google will partner with CcHub, M-Lab and iHub to organise monetisation workshops across Africa

Businesses, as a rule, exist to make a profit. Internet startup companies typically generate revenue from product (or service) sales, subscriptions or paid advertising. Search and advertising behemoth, Google is planning a series of educational workshops, about web and mobile app monetisation best practices and business strategies.

The training sessions will focus on Google’s monetisation suite: AdSense, DoubleClick for Publishers, AdMob and Google Analytics. Topics include:

    How to improve your ad placements, optimal ad sizes
    How to increase the coverage.
    The latest BETAs such as Matched Content and Google Consumer Surveys.
    How to evolve with your mobile users.

Google AdSense is a free, simple way to earn money by placing ads on your website. AdSense works by matching text and display ads to your site based on your content and visitors. The ads are created and paid for by advertisers who want to promote their products.

Google AdMob brings together best-in-class technology in a single platform, so you can gain insights about your users, drive more in-app purchases, and maximize your ad revenue. With the largest source of global advertiser demand, flexible ad controls, and an industry-leading mediation service, AdMob is the best platform to monetize your apps and maximize your ad revenue through app advertising.

Google DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) Small Business is a free ad management solution that helps growing publishers sell, schedule, deliver, and measure all of their digital ad inventory.

Google’s analytics solutions is a tool that collects data about customer behaviour, and helps translate that into an actionable plan for your business.

The workshops are in partnership with three technology hubs across Africa, namely:

1. Co-Creation Hub, Nigeria
2. iHub, Kenya
3. M-Lab, Kenya

You can register here
Source: TechCabal 18 January 2016

Cape Town’s RLabs opens applications for InnovIA accelerator

Cape Town-based social impact incubator RLabs has opened applications for the 2016 cycle of its Innovation, Incubation and Accelerator (InnovIA) Programme, aimed at turning innovative ideas into scalable social enterprises.

Founded by Marlon Parker in 2008, RLabs is a global movement and registered social enterprise that provides innovative solutions to address various complex problems.

Its core activities are skills and training, community development, social and disruptive innovation, mobile and internet solutions, social enterprise incubation, impact investing and social franchising.

Disrupt Africa reported in November the incubator showcased 10 new startups that graduated from the InnovIA programme, bringing the total number of innovations it has produced in four years to 47.

“The RLabs InnovIA programme, now in its fifth year offers an exciting and invaluable opportunity for innovators and social entrepreneurs to grow and build their enterprises. This 12-week programme is designed to assist participants during their startup’s most vulnerable period, and support taking an idea or product to market,” RLabs said.

Aspirant social innovators and entrepreneurs are invited to apply online, http://rlabs.org/ with applicants to be subjected to a selection process. If successful, they will be expected to commit themselves or one team member to the programme.

The projects showcased in November included design and creative startup Design Lunatics, audio streaming widget CatchUP, which this week began a pilot period with the BBC World Service, jobs platform Kaazi, educational service RLabs U, and web-based innovation hub management platform HubBox.

Also showcasing was the mToto initiative, a flagship early childhood development (ECD), and its mToto bitcoin crowdfunding platform. Rewards solutions Zlto, informal trader ordering solution Spazaa and RLabs Radio, an incubator for digital radio innovations, completed the list.

“Following the RLabs incubation and support programmes, we believe that these projects have the best possible chance of success,” said Parker.