Seedstars Africa Regional  Summit startups- TechMoran


Here are the ten startups from Johannesburg’s startup scene selected to compete at the fourth edition of Seedstars Johannesburg for a chance to represent the country at the Seedstars Africa Regional  Summit and the global Seedstars Summit in Switzerland.

The top startups to advance to the finals are:

  • Busymed: links local pharmacies in one place for consumers to conveniently search, find and buy medicine (prescription & non-prescription) and have it delivered where ever they are.
  • Franc Group: is a self-insurance platform that offers customers the opportunity to grow their wealth and manage their personal risk.
  • Frugily: a retail tech startup that aims to assist shoppers to spend their money smarter by keeping track of their basket size in relation to their budget in grocery stores, create shopping lists and view shopping history across different retail chains.
  • Kenai: is a visitor and worker management solution that uses facial recognition to facilitate the fastest and most secure sign-in possible.
  • Maxicash: a financial support ecosystem built around remittance and payments for the African Diaspora to support their families financially.
  • Necta: ONE app, unlimited events. Necta is an open platform for exhibitors at any event (expo, market, conference) to generate leads in an automated way.
  • Prospa: a mobile savings wallet for the 10 million low-income earning South Africans.
  • Sendeddy Technologies (Pty) Ltd: an on-demand delivery platform that drives down the costs of moving anything from an envelope to large machinery and equipment.
  • Snapslip: “Snapslip is a digital receipting and analytics application, that eradicates paper receipts by sending these receipts digitally to a customers profile within the application.
  • Uthini: a language learning platform that connects busy professionals who need to learn a language to people who can speak it using a structured learning path and chatbot technology.

Some #FreeBobiwine Tribute concert


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12:00 noon the set is being setup

14:00 a few guys working on the concert and the crowd trickles in a bit slower than usual and the sound is all setup

14:30 Alfajiri the band finish doing their sound check, sampling some BoB marley songs , Gregory Isaacs cruise ships sailing in the ocean.

15:00 the line up is set and its a tribute for sure, “The ever fresh doing their sound check. We have performing as part of free concert . Come through.

17:00 Some of the artists still haven’t shown up but the DJ is doing his thing, drinks going for 200 bob and the bar area is a bit scare… Octopizzo is in the house with his “branding ambassador”

the hour is late though for such technical appearances

 

17:30 the one we had been waiting for the day arrives for the talk… some hispanic journalist was eargerly waiting for this photo opp…

 

 

SSD DANCE CREW


For a few months now for those who don’t know, my dancing skills are improving and the more this happens I might have to start hanging out with more dancers than usual. The dance crew comprises of half a dozen youthful dancers of south sudanese dancers who reside in the country.

They have a performance tomorrow somewhere around town and they invited me to their rehearsals. So I have to make a few preparations before that happens and also plan not to tire myself before tomorrow.

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The crew have featured on citizen televisions “10 over 10” and have been in existence for the past 2 years in the professional dance scene. they have a youtube channel and the necessary social media outlets where you can get them as ssd crew.

 

Microsoft Pop up labs Kenya


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June was an exciting month for Kenya’s tech scene where we got to host some big shots from the Microsoft team to interact with and learn a bit from them at the Industrial area where the heart of industrialization in Kenya once thrived(-not so long ago). The event was sold out and the venue was the newly refurbished Gearbox head office, a modern fabrication laboratory that allows individuals( You and me in this instance) who is interested in using their workshop from doing laser stuff, 3D printing, PCB(polarized circuit boards) design and manufacture and the most fun part tech young kids how to do robotics.

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MS team Nairobi, Kenya offices

The core focus of the Microsoft and gearbox combo was to tackle the topic AI(artificial intelligence) being fused with IoT(internet of things).

Gearbox has seen quite a number of builders that have passed through this space which is under the former University of Nairobi Lecturer Doctor. Kamau Gachigi and is currently being managed by Felicity’s team that also includes female techies. Felicity is into robotics and Dr. Kamau is into 3D advancement and fabrication labs.

 

 

Gearbox as a space has now been successfully operating and dishing out real talent to the Kenyan startup industry. They just recently finished showcasing their innovations on the #ishow and you should look that up on twitter kenya for more on those ideas if you are into their vybe. Gearbox is an advancement of the once famous BELL labs in the USA that were exclusively meant for the advancement of the telephone cable lines and the founders of the “internet”. The lab has positioned itself in the market as a competitor for the traditional workshops by letting you the user to design a product based on your specifications.

IoT, The internet of things is something that has been a bit of a fuss lately where everyone is looking to make that whole experience of inter-connectivity between devices work for them and make their day to day operations really easy. some IoT innovations work but one will have to ask why they would need that type of innovation in their day to day life. The Microsoft Azure developer Jan…

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Jan schweda takes the gearbox audience on the ones and twos of cloud computing

…was trying to convince us in the beginning to  get to understand the main purpose of using Azure as a platform for running your innovation and it became really simplified in the sense that the Microsoft platform should be looked at as a hardware or Software that lets you store anything from programs to software applications that allow you to run them anywhere Microsoft operate. That has an advantage compared to your traditional (Website) hosting services for example because Azure has already hosted the program for you everywhere.

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AI, Artificial intelligence on the other hand has other dynamics my friends. from the definition and what exists as AI, its a bit wanting information for me to share. But we are in luck, do not fear. Here are a couple of points the developers who know these things can pick up from:

  1. Contribute to the Github repository and remember to signup and follow what you are comfortable doing. nowadays Microsoft azure uses the C# programming language but c++ can be a start
  2. Engage the community of developers on the intelligence systems out there to see if they pass the test.
  3. Edit written documents and programs in the communities you follow
  4. Upload stuff for a reason
  5. Attend at least 3 locally organized meet ups on technology and startups or even art
  6. Write and write more stuff.

 

 

 

 

Huawei 2018 Graduate Recruitment


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Huawei technologies Kenya Limited has announced a recruitment drive that targets the student who will graduate from university in this 2018 period. The applications are to be made directly to the official application email address kenyagraduates@huawei.com

The employer would be looking at internship positions, with openings in the following areas:

  1. Network technology
  2. software
  3. core network
  4. I.T (information technology)
  5. procurement
  6. project management

The technology company boasts itself as the world number 2 patent filer in the world. The number 1 position has been held by IBM  (International Business Machines ) for years in their quest for PC technologies. Huawei has also been trying 5g tech in the african peninsula and they assured us that Kenya is not so far away in the 4G to 5G migration.

“Why would you want to work for Huawei? is Huawei for you? are you for Huawei?”

Faith Nancy, Senior HR manager Huawei Kenya.

“we influence the telecommunications in Kenya, we want you to be part of this. If we have bad quality products, we are not going to have customers thus we all care about the company having good quality products ” added Faith from HR.

the applicants are to indicate the area they are applying in either its network technology or project management.

 

 

How to make Bots Using Windows


via Everything You Need to Build A Chatbot

Chat bots are all the rage in the dev world. They represent the face of a new era of computing, one where we will not just use our computers, but communicate with them. Conversation is increasingly integral to our interactions with technology – most tech companies are adopting digital personal assistants, and many companies outside of the tech space are adding chat components to their sites to streamline customer service. But bots go way beyond these use cases, and are in fact part of a bigger story: the democratization of AI.

What is a chat bot? What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence is not a new idea, but until recently it has been reserved for advanced researchers and big-dollar-backed computer scientists. In the last two years, tech giants have released cloud-based services to expose the rich capabilities of artificial intelligence to the average developer, in the form of SDKs and APIs. These tools have enabled devs like me to build intelligent chat bots without having to learn deep machine learning techniques. Here are the tools I use to build my bots, teach them, and deploy them to the public!

Build It

Microsoft Bot Framework  |  Language: C# or Node.js

At their annual developer conference in 2016, Microsoft announced its commitment to Conversations as a Platform, and along with it a suite of new tools to develop apps that fit this movement. The Bot Framework is an open source SDK for bot development that allows developers to easily implement conversational capabilities into their apps, like dialog, context, and prompts. Here is a simple bot that prompts the user to enter their name and says “Hello <NAME>” to the user.

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For more code samples of the Bot Framework at work, check out and star my botdemo project on GitHub (see the full repo here).

Teach It

A bot without brains is just a series of automated processes. In order to develop a bot that can seem human, you have to implement components of intelligence that will allow your bot to perform smarter tasks and gain a richer understanding of the user so it can provide better results. To do this I use Microsoft Cognitive Services, a set of APIs that expose rich machine intelligence capabilities under five different categories: Vision, Speech, Language, Knowledge, and Search. I like to think of these as the five sense of intelligent computing, because each category tackles a different form of interaction or capability. Here are some of my favourites:

LUIS – Language Understanding Intelligence Service. Leveraging machine learning, LUIS is an API that lets your app determine user intent, and is an absolute must for bot developers. LUIS has a web portal where you can build a model of your own customized intents and entities, and train it on specific utterances that a user might use. Each intent represents a user action, and each entity is a potential user input that relates to those actions. For example, if you’re building a bot to make travel plans, your user might want to book a car, book a hotel, or book a flight. These would each be separate intents, and the city name, travel dates, and other key bits of information would be the entities. You would then train the model using different phrases that the user might enter – “I want to book a flight to Munich,” “Book me a hotel in Tokyo next week,” or “I need to book a car to drive from Toronto to Ottawa on May 3rd.” The more you train the model, the more it will understand the different ways a user might initiate the dialog. This will allow your bot to make an educated guess and guide the conversation correctly even when the user inputs a sentence in a way it has never seen before.

In the below screenshot, a simple intent matching is demonstrated. Using a LUIS recognizer (an element of the botbuilder SDK), and depending on which intent it recognizes, we trigger a different corresponding dialog.

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Emotion API. With face detection, this API detects the landmarks of the face and identifies the emotion that the identified face is displaying.

Text Analytics. This API serves a variety of purposes, exposing information about the text, most likely in this case the user input. This includes sentiment information, which gives a score of the user’s positive/negative sentiment; key phrase extraction, which returns key “talking points” in the input string; topic detection, which returns the main topic of the input, and the language of the input.

There are currently 25 APIs available in the Cognitive Services suite, which makes for a lot of brainpower for your bots!

Deploy It

One of the biggest benefits of bots over other apps is they allow you to truly meet your users where they are; instead of having users download a new app, you can make your bot available on platforms that users are already on, like Messenger, Kik, Slack, Skype, and so on.

The Bot Framework offers great connectivity to these platforms through the Bot Connector Service. It guides you through the process of obtaining all the keys and components necessary to publish your bot to each platform, and helps you submit it to be published.

For more code samples of the Bot Framework at work, check out and star my botdemo project on GitHub (see the full repo here).

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Note: although I work at Microsoft, this post was not incentivized by the company in any way. I use these tools at work and in my personal projects, because I genuinely find them to be effective tools for developing great bots!

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