Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We’re incubating SA’s top talents – Google

Google has said its incubating South African’s top talents across all sectors of the economy.
Project Coordinator, Google Umbono, Mr. Justin Beswick, said that they have some exciting news from the startup community in South Africa, following on an event which held in Cape Town recently.

He said that Umbono, an incubator that focuses on high-growth tech startups with global potential, has made public the first four teams who will begin its six-month programme.

He also said that during these six months period, Umbono will help the teams develop their ideas and get their products off the ground, with the intention of seeing some international success stories being made by the chosen teams.

Beswick noted that the goal of Umbono is to help develop a vibrant and sustainable internet ecosystem across Africa.

“We hope that Umbono will encourage the growth of the developer community and support the South Africa’s already flourishing tech sector,” he said, stressing that there is a vibrant tech startup movement happening in South Africa, and Google Umbono has received hundreds of applications.

Presently, he said, they have four ambitious startups in the programme, namely LocalSort, TaxTim, Sampleboard and Starburst Games.

He explained that LocalSort is a service that helps hotels and hospitality businesses provide local information and recommendations to their guests. While TaxTim is a digital tax assistant to help South Africans make tax filing season simple.

In addition, Sampleboard, he said, is an online editing programme which helps designers create digital mood boards in minutes and thus share conceptual, visual ideas with colleagues and clients in the early stages of a creative project.

For Starburst Games, he said, it is a mobile game company which will be developing collaborative, multi-player games on a unique mobile handset delivery platform.

These teams, he pointed out, will each receive seed capital of up to $50,000, and mentorship from thought leaders and businesses in South Africa and around the world.

“This valuable mentorship will help them develop a solid business plan, transform their ideas into companies, and prepare them to get their products into the marketplace,” he said.

Even as at the end of the six months, he said, successful teams will receive follow-on funding from the local venture capital community or from investors overseas.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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