Luno, the digital currency company with offices in Cape Town, had just announced a US$9-million Series B funding round, and its plans to expand to several new European markets, taking its Bitcoin wallet to 40 countries in total.
It seemed like cryptocurrency and blockchain interest might be finally tipping from a fairly geeky quadrant of the internet to something a bit more mainstream.
Until in walked Gartner with a hefty, and probably justified, dose of realism around blockchain during its Symposium/ITxpo last week.
It is easy to dismiss low-commission, online estate agencies as corner cutters with unsustainable business models. They are alright for some, but surely the discerning property seller will pay for excellent service and the novice realises it would be foolish to go it alone when negotiating possibly the biggest deal of their lives? That dismissive view would be a mistake.
Sharks! I got to speak about sharks in my tech feature! This time it was all about voice recognition, gaming, drones, WiFi and some Shark Spotters.
When I rejoined academia this year I was a teeny bit concerned about how relevant universities still are. Being part of this project happily proved me wrong 🙂
Seedlab supports local companies navigating digital disruption
9 May 2017, Berlin, Germany and Cape Town, South Africa — German innovation consultancy, Seedlab GmbH, has expanded internationally with the launch of Seedlab South Africa in early 2017. The company helps corporates manage digitalisation successfully and brings seven years of experience and tested innovation methodology to South Africa.
Seedlab works with companies to identify new business models; introduces them to startups and entrepreneurial ways of working, such as the Lean Startup approach and rapid prototyping. It embeds innovation into their DNA and ultimately helps them take new, disruptive business models to market.
Seedlab South Africa was founded by digital strategist, Elli Gorgievska, and technology journalist, Vanessa Clark. German founder, Regine Haschka-Helmer plays an active role with local clients. The new company is currently working with estate agency RE/MAX Living to optimise the property sales cycle.
“I’m excited about applying our proven innovation techniques and methodologies in the South African market,” said Haschka-Helmer. “But it’s definitely not about parachuting in our ways of working. What we learn in a South African context will be applied during our work with clients in Europe too.”
The adoption of digitalisation by companies in African countries could contribute R4 trillion ($300 billion) to the continent’s economy by 2026, according to a recent report by Siemens, African Digitalization Maturity Report 2017. The report goes on to say that South Africa is leading digitalisation on the continent, with the continent generally tracking well when it comes to digital transformation.
Seedlab’s innovation approach — proven with companies such as Swiss Federal Railways and Volkswagen Financial Services — is to work with businesses to unlock latent creativity and problem-solving capabilities. In parallel the process resets the company’s way of working to be better suited to a disruptive, rapidly-changing, digital world. The Seedlab network of experts and startups ensures that the right brains are around the table to support the company as it interrogates its customer journey, assets and processes to figure out where the business opportunities lie. This helps address some of the major blockages businesses experience when trying to kickstart innovation programmes.
“We don’t think innovation should be outsourced,” said Gorgievska. “Not if you want it to be sustainable. But we do recognise the need that companies have in closing the gap between what they know they should be doing to innovate, and the practical steps they need to take to achieve this.
“For as long as it is needed, Seedlab creates the space and ensures the right people are involved to get clarity on what digitalisation means for the client, embeds innovation into their culture, and unlocks talent to help them achieve their business goals.”
As part of the job of supporting South African companies with digitalisation and innovation, Seedlab South Africa will introduce corporates to local and international startups, with a view to collaborating, forming partnerships and even acquisitions. In addition, the company and its German parent will form the nodes of a bridge between the startup ecosystems in Cape Town and Berlin.
“South African companies have a lot to learn from nimble, hungry startups,” said Clark. “Likewise startups can learn from companies that have weathered the ups and downs of the market. Unfortunately, they currently seem to be speaking different languages to each other, with a lot being lost in translation. Seedlab’s matchmaking of startups and established businesses is a double-edged sword, allowing startups to leapfrog to the next level of their growth plan, and companies to tap into startup mindsets and gain new capabilities and technology without building them from scratch.”
Seedlab South Africa works with companies looking to innovate, and creative agencies who want to widen their portfolio and offer innovation services to their clients.
About Seedlab South Africa
Seedlab South Africa, seedlab.co.za, is an innovation studio that supports businesses with the existential shift needed to embrace radical innovation. By helping companies disrupt their world before they are disrupted, Seedlab South Africa unlocks revenue streams in the new economy.
The company’s core belief is that sustainable innovation comes from within, so the focus is to unlock and entrench business’s own innovation and creativity to ensure growth and profits.
Ideate. Create. Build.
For more information, contact:
+27 82 335 1117
Here’s my latest CapeTalk technology feature from 2 weekends ago talking about the WhatsApp outage, Serious About Games, and phishing.
Listen here: Cape Talk tech feature: What’s up with WhatsApp?
In the wee hours of Sunday morning I chatted to CapeTalk’s Mpho Moletlegi about how Facebook is using AI to prevent suicide.