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Big moment for women in tech

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The Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa competition this year provides a life-changing experience for women tech entrepreneurs. In its third year, the competition offers the immense benefit of traveling to Israel for a week of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities with some of the world’s leading tech and start-up experts. The winner will spend five-days, all-expenses paid, in a start-up experience in the heart of Tel Aviv in September 2016, during the innovative DLD Festival.

South African entrepreneurs can benefit immensely from the lessons of Israeli start-ups, with the country known as a start-up nation, and ranking third in the world, behind only Silicon Valley and New York CIty, as a hub of start-up activity. This competition aims to create networks between businesses and to deepen relationships for the benefit of South African start-ups.

The 2015 winners, Where Is My Transport and Funda Technology, both have become successful and sustainable tech companies and benefited greatly from the opportunity afforded by the competition.

Where Is My Transport is described as a “platform for smart urban transport in the emerging regions of the globe. Integrating formal and informal transport. Connecting cities, operators, and commuters for a sustainable, efficient transport system.”  The company operates in Southern Africa and is determined to turn commuter data into a system that serves cities and users alike.

“Start Up Tel Aviv and the DLD Innovation Festival were an excellent opportunity to showcase our technology and connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs and innovators,” says Devin de Vries, founder of Where Is My Transport. “The network of like-minded, enthusiastic founders and innovators that it brought together has been a valuable source of insight, encouragement, and connections to start-up communities worldwide.

“Aside from contact with VCs and investors, the event also provided an unique opportunity to receive feedback from investors on an international level and to hear pitches from various corners of the globe. Such feedback and insight is especially valuable coming from such a diverse community.”

A second 2015 winner, Funda Technology, is a 100% black owned educational technology company with 30% female ownership. It develops and provides ICT-powered learning material for education and learning environment.

“Attending the DLD festival was an incredible experience, and the exposure to young, bright and like minded professionals was an invaluable experience as it helped me re-focus our business goals,” says founder Kennedy Kitheka. “Seeing first hand what the start-up community in Israel has managed to achieve with the challenges the country has faced over the past few years has been a true inspiration and has motivated us to be more positive and assertive in achieving our goals.

“I was also introduced to investors, media personalities and entrepreneurs who contributed to how I could steer my business in a direction to have a successful exit in a few years. The conversations and introduction to leading entrepreneurs and investors helped me understand this and contributed significantly to the future growth we have achieved.”

The 2016 version of the competition is open to all South African women who are the founders or senior managers of any company in the hi-tech field that is in early stage seed funding. This year the competition has a particular focus on women tech leaders and aims to reward innovation and entrepreneurship in the hi-tech sector.

Within the team of internationally respected judges are some formidable and respected South African women, including Noluthando Gosa, former Investment Analyst and a longstanding member of a number of professional organisations like the Institute of Directors of South Africa, Business Women’s Association of SA (Gauteng), and the Black Business Council; Tanya Kovarsky, PR and Communications Lead of Core Group and an award-winning parenting blogger with more than 12 years of experience in magazine and newspaper journalism; and Hillary Joffe, one of South Africa’s most talented financial journalists.

The panel of judges also includes Toby Shapshak, described by GQ as “the most high-profile technology journalist in the country” and one of South Africa’s top 30 men in media and Editor-in-Chief of Stuff Magazine, and Arthur Goldstuck, award-winning writer, analyst and technology commentator and head of the World Wide Worx.

The prize winner will travel to the DLD Festival in Tel Aviv to participate in lectures, workshops and meetings with leading Israeli investors and professionals. The winning startup experience takes place during the DLD Festival week (www.dldtelaviv.com), Israel’s largest international hi-tech gathering, featuring hundreds of start ups, VCs, angel investors and leading multinationals.

The South African winner will have the opportunity to meet the coolest and smartest companies, techies, investors, designers, artists, scientists, and cultural drivers from Israel and abroad.

* Closing date for entries is 3 June 2016. For more information and to enter, visit http://startuptelavivsouthafrica.com/

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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