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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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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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