Category Archives: Startups

South African Startup looking to disrupt workplace collaboration market in Africa

Connect-2-Me (C2Me) is a South African start-up founded in 2016 by Gary Swale, Ray Hayes, Eugene Theron and Lloyd Thompson – who were the previous owners of Knowledge Dimension, a company now own by IBM.

According to Gary Swale, the startup is a cloud-based business collaboration platform setup to removes barriers in work-space so that members of the workforce are engaged, empowered and in the process helping to transform the business.

“It creates an ecosystem that enables organisations to deliver meaningful and compelling value to people in and outside the organisation, through addressing gaps in communication, supporting responsiveness and driving innovation,”

“Many businesses continue to operate in silos, which compounds existing barriers to communication. Add to this, the disconnect in organisations between employees who are ‘online’ and those who aren’t, and an even larger rift in communication, productivity and efficiency is caused.”

Read: What is Cloud Computing?

“We are at a stage where we have proven the concept, both in terms of technology and customer acceptance, and would be open to holding discussions with parties who could assist with developing and growing the business from both a funding perspective as well as being able to open doors in terms of access to markets and customers,” says Gary.

Gary believes this could be an opportunity to create another South African success story.

The C2Me was developed in, and hosted in, IBM Bluemix, a cloud platform for developers to build and run modern apps and services. Hamilton Ratshefola, country GM for IBM SA, says Bluemix enables developers to launch quickly, iterate continuously and scale with success. he added that C2Me is a business partner to IBM and has a viable business model.

“However, before we brought them onto our Enterprise Development Programme, they did not have adequately skilled staff to enable them to scale up their business and elicit big deals,” Ratshefola points out.

Garry adds “We have successfully integrated selected IBM Watson services into the C2Me platform. So this is a South African world-class solution using state-of-the-art technologies.”

Watson is IBM’s artificially intelligent computer system is capable of answering questions posed in natural language. Watson wowed Tv viewers by beating the two best human contestants of a game in the Jeopardy show.

Read: Watson’s Sister Lucy is Growing Up With the Help of IBM’s Research Team

Source: ITWeb

19-Year-Old Ghanaian has Built a Search Engine to Rival Google and Youtube

Gabriel Opare, a 19-year-old Ghanaian student has built a new search engine to rival Google and Youtube. Gabriel built a free search engine for videos called Mudclo. Mudclo, an impressive metasearch engine, allows users to discover, search and stream video content from multiple sources on the internet all in one place.

Gabriel believes his search engine is good enough to compete in the search engine business and that it can scale globally. According to Gabriel, “YouTube is a video hosting website, Mudclo combines the power of YouTube and two other video hosting websites in order to create Mudclo,” Its users most popular searches include adverts, music videos and amateur content.

What Google Users Think About Africa

This is a big innovation coming out from Ghana which has seen countries like Nigeria and Kenya popping out series of tech innovations in recent times. Opare is only a level 300 sociology student of the University of Ghana and taught himself how to code by taking online courses during his free time. It is amazing for Gabriel to have come up with this innovation, considering the fact that his skills are not polished yet and he has not gone through high level coding programs like those of Andela.

Mudclo has already caught the attention of some tech companies, including more established video hosting sites, although, there is still some work to be done on Mudclo to fix bugs, boost the features and visual experiences it offers users.

How Kuli-kuli Should be Packaged and Branded

Kuli-kuli is a popular snack in Nigeria, Benin, northern Cameroon, Ghana and southern Niger. It is primarily made from groundnut: groundnuts are roasted and then milled into paste. The paste is stripped of oil and made into the desired shape. It is then fried with the oil removed in the process until it hardens.

Kuli-kuli is seen as a by-product of groundnut oil production and most of the kuli-kuli in the market are made mainly by elderly women manually. Young people shy away from the business because the process of making it is still not mechanized. Presently, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) is changing this. The organisation has designed a mechanized production process and machines for Kuli-kuli production.

How kuli-kuli is sold in the market

Kuli-kuli: most of the kuli-kuli in the market are sold without any form of packaging. image credit: Own work, Pulse.ng

The next downside in Kuli-kuli business is poor packaging and branding. Poor packaging and branding has always been an issue in local foods and drinks businesses in west Africa. Most of the kuli-kuli in the market are sold without any form of packaging. They are exposed to air and everything around. With a huge market opportunity of about 243 million potential customers, anyone would expect more investment in this snack.

Some Commendable Improvements

Packaged kuli-kulu with brand name in transparent sachets and plastic cans. Image credit: Nairaland, Kadun liadi’s blog, Conzee Space

Unlike most local African food, kuli-kuli has a long shelf life even without preservative. This makes it easy to package. Some young entrepreneurs are making commendable efforts to add value to the kuli-kuli in the market by making them more presentable. They package the kuli-kuli in transparent sachets or plastic cans and add their brand name. This is an improvement and their products are far better than what we regularly see in the markets. With these level of packaging, some modern stores and supermarkets may consider having these products on their shelves.

How kuli-kuli should be sold

To have a world-class product and to have a brand of kuli-kuli that can be sold in supermarkets across Africa, the kuli-kuli in our markets must be improved. There need to be improvement in its smell, taste and presentation. It has to have a standard packaging that will also improve its shelf life.

Kuli-kuli should be packaged in small, shiny and colourful fancy-sachets just like biscuits. Image credit: Elliotts of Oxford.

In my opinion, first, Kuli-kuli should not be produced as a by-product of oil but instead should be the main product of the production process. Kuli-kuli should be made to look like biscuit. It should be neatly and finely shaped (flat and round). It should be flavored and sweetened. Kuli-kuli should be packaged in small, shiny and colorful sachets just like biscuits.  It should be sold also in small packs for affordability. I believe any entrepreneur with a sound business model and kuli-kuli product with these improvements can dominate West African market .