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Revealed: South Africa’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups 2018

November 29th, 2018 Posted by News Story, Press Release 0 comments on “Revealed: South Africa’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups 2018”

After just a few weeks of calling for nominations, close to 1,000 total entries and 141 unique entries were received for the Nedgroup Investments and Heavy Chef ‘SA’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups’ event on the 4th December 2018. Entries were closed on Friday 23 November, and yesterday a shortlist of 12 startups were announced. Today, we reveal the final five.

Donna Barnes, head of Retail Investments, says: “A rigorous structure was followed, which entailed sifting through the total entries to create a comprehensive list of the startups in the South African ecosystem.”

This list was sent to a panel of respected investors, entrepreneurs and community members. A final tally was taken, and then the final tally was ratified by Fred Roed, CEO of Heavy Chef.

Roed says: “The Top 12 is a strong list in its own right. The group of companies represented shows a healthy diversity across sectors in technology, race and gender – which is incredibly encouraging. It was really hard to leave companies out. For example, Augmentors is a strong favourite within the Heavy Chef team. There are also some great companies coming through the ranks, such as Click2Sure.”

“Getting to the Top 5 took over a week of constant emailing between twenty people, with the Top 5 list only being finalised on Wednesday 28th November.”

“By calling for nominations, we’re shining a light on all the amazing work that is being done in this sector. This is a celebration. This is intentionally the ‘most exciting’ startups, not ‘the best’ or ‘the most profitable’.

“In looking at the finalists, it’s important to note the spirit with which this event is intended. By calling for nominations, we’re shining a light on all the amazing work that is being done in this sector. This is a celebration. This is intentionally the ‘most exciting’ startups, not ‘the best’ or ‘the most profitable’. The final five looks at representation, inclusivity, diversity, and of course technological innovation.

“It’s only the second year we’re running this concept, but we are excited by how the community is responding.”

South Africa’s Top Five Most Exciting Startups 2018:


Using satelite and drone mapping, Aerobotics monitor crops and warns farmers about potential risks, scouts. The mobile app increases accuracy and saves time by planning targeted scouting trips. Farmers can receive accurate statistics for orchards with every drone flight including tree health, tree counts, individual tree size and canopy area. Benjamin Meltzer and his co-founder James Paterson are creating a global agritech business that is solving age-old problems for farmers, worldwide.


DataProphet is an AI startup that reduces risk in manufacturing by analysing data in factory production and uses machine learning to identify and eliminate defects and minimises downtime. Its primary product, Omni, seamlessly works on top of existing platforms and manufacturing environments. Isaac Matsa, a natural born salesman, is driving growth for this impressive startup and will be representing DataProphet on stage on Tuesday 4th December.



LifeCheq is making financial advice credible and authentic by moving personal financial advice from a biased, commission-based advisor to a subscription service that gives users access to a team of actuaries and experts. Co-founder Abu Addae is an Actuarial Scientist who cut his teeth at Old Mutual, and is now shaking up the industry by providing legitimate, non-biased financial advice at an accessible rate.


LifeQ is a world-leading science and technology company that aims to enable people from all walks of life to enjoy optimal health. LifeQ has made significant strides into international markets with its tailored health solutions. LifeQ aims to help people live longer, higher-quality lives. LifeQ’s founder Riaan Conradie will arrive in Cape Town this weekend, just in time to represent one of South Africa’s proudest startup exports.


eCommerce startup Thursdays (allegedly named because it was founded by Shona Macdonald on a Thursday) focuses on swimwear and lingerie for women c cup and up. Focused on empowering women in the clothing sector, this is a truly inspiring, fun and heartwarming social entrepreneur venture. Founder, Shona Macdonald, is tackling on the most challenging segments in business and has made healthy strides over the past year.

Montblanc Summit 2 is a Wear OS smartwatch for men and women

October 15th, 2018 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “Montblanc Summit 2 is a Wear OS smartwatch for men and women”

The luxury brand is back with another Wear watch

Montblanc Summit 2, the first smartwatch to come packed with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip is now available to buy.

The company’s second-generation Wear smartwatch, and follow-up to last year’s Summit, is designed for both men and women, with the case sitting at 42mm – considerably smaller and friendlier than the original’s hulking 46mm bezel. Inspired by the design of Montblanc’s 1858 collection, there’s also a number of finishes to choose from: black DLC steel, stainless steel, bicolour steel and grade 2 titanium.

Hands on: Montblanc Summit 2 review

That variety in customization is extended to the Summit 2’s strap options, with 11 different interchangeable options available including calfskin, milanese steel, rubber sport and nylon. As far as physical watch features, it also finds room for a rotating crown and two pushers (buttons) above and below the crown, which can be programmed to activate your favorite smartwatch apps and features.The Wear watch is up for grabs for a wallet-busting £845, with a feature set akin to the rest of the new generation of Wear watches. That means there’ll be an improved heart rate monitor on the underside, while fitness is bolstered even further by GPS and 5ATM water resistance. An exclusive Montblanc Runnning Coach app powered by biometric data analytics firm Firstbeat is also on board too. It enables runners to track fitness levels (based on VO2max) and help build personalised training plans. Live coaching to stay on top of the right pace and running intensity also enhances its skills as a luxury smartwatch that’s built for running.

New Qualcomm tech and Wear OS extras
But what about the improvements through the new Qualcomm chipset? Well, according to Montblanc, the biggest upgrade will be in battery life. And while it’ll only stretch to just over a day in regular mode, the company is debuting a Traditional Watch Mode which claims to stretch that life up to a week by switching to a ultra-low power co-processor and showing nothing but the time.

It will, of course, run on Wear OS when in its normal state, showcasing all the recent changes Google has made to the platform. That includes the new UI redesign, which aims to make it easier to navigate the OS, and the overhauled Google Fit. The usual tricks, such as customisable watch faces and notifications with smart reply support, will also be available on the watch.

Montblanc has also includes a handful of its own apps including the timeshifter app to help minimize jet lag and help travellers adjust fast to a new time zone. That’s also joined by the Travel Info app, which aims to provide relevant local traveller information. The inclusion of NFC to enable Google Pay means contactless payments make the cut too.

You can read our Summit 2 first impressions already, but we’re hoping it will leave a better impression in the long term than its predecessor. While we had a lot of time for the luxury build and slick performance, the pretty ordinary design and lack of extras meant you could get a feature-packed Wear watch for a whole lot less.

Now, with more features on tow and a design which appeals to a wider crop of people, Montblanc has addressed some of those concerns. The company is always going to sit the expensive side, but at least now potential buyers will be receiving more for their money with the new iteration.

3 SA startups mongst those selected for Nedbank corporate programme

September 11th, 2018 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “3 SA startups mongst those selected for Nedbank corporate programme”

South African startups Aerobotics, IoT.nxt and LifeQ are among the 10 selected by Nedbank, which is connecting innovative startups with major corporates and business leaders in partnership with Silicon Valley’s Plug and Play.

Nedbank last month announced the expansion of its US partnership with innovation platform Plug and Play to include South Africa for the first time, with the partners set to connect 10 entrepreneurs from around the world to business leaders at The Disruption Agenda to be held in Johannesburg in September.

The selected startups include three heralding from South Africa itself, namely satellite and drone-based crop management platform Aerobotics, Internet of Things solutions provider IoT.nxt, and health startup LifeQ, the latter of which is now headquartered in the US.

Four US startups have also been selected to take part, as well as companies from Belgium, Israel and the United Kingdom (UK).

“We’re incredibly excited for the 10 startups that are going to be part of The Disruption Agenda. The most important thing for Nedbank is to get pilots and experiments underway and push straight through to commercialisation where possible,” said Stuart van der Veen, head of disruption and innovation at Nedbank CIB.

“We’ve engaged with our most forward-thinking clients and they will be participating in both the deal-flow sessions and be present at the actual pitches of the startups.”

Dylan Garnett, chief operating officer (COO) of LifeQ, said the company was looking forward to taking part in the programme.

“I am very excited that LifeQ has been selected for Plug and Play as it will undoubtedly serve as a great platform to help identify and, along with others, address real needs that exist in South Africa and the broader African continent, thereby furthering LifeQ’s vision of improving human health and wellbeing at scale,” he said.

LifeQ presents at Swiss Re Institute NGIC 2017

June 26th, 2017 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “LifeQ presents at Swiss Re Institute NGIC 2017”

The fourth in the series, this year’s Next Generation Insurance Customer considered solutions for an ageing society. The conference asked four key questions: (1) How will we fund an increasing number of elderly in their upkeep, their health and their care if and when needed? (2) What changes can we expect to see in mortality and morbidity trends in older age? (3) How will our relationship with technology affect how we care and support those in older age? And (4) how can insurance continue to develop products and services for elderly consumers?

Nashina Asaria Bacorn, the Chief Commercial Officer of LifeQ, co-presented “How biology and technology can impact our health” at the Swiss Re Institute’s NGIC 2017: Solutions for an ageing society conference at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue.

LifeQ to take stage at CES 2015

December 1st, 2014 Posted by News Story, Press Release 0 comments on “LifeQ to take stage at CES 2015”

Health technology newcomer LifeQ will stand alongside the likes of Adidas and Under Armour when they take the stage at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January.

Held annually, CES draws over 152,000 attendees from more than 150 countries. As the largest consumer electronics expo in the world, it is the ideal venue for LifeQ to showcase its computational biology platform, designed by the company to enable wearable device makers to deliver a wealth of body monitoring and health information to wearers.

Riaan Conradie, Co-founder of LifeQ, will be speaking at the Living in Digital Times section of CES, as part of the Sport and Fitness Tech category.

Conradie, who also holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Stellenbosch said, “It’s a huge opportunity to stand beside internationally recognised brands like Adidas and talk about really cutting-edge technology. We want to change the way people think about their health, and new wearable technology is finally allowing us to do that. We can now deliver incredible insights to people about their bodies, potentially even predicting a heart attack. CES speakers are watched by millions of people so it’s a fantastic launch platform for us, a great place to engage with potential partners.”

CES will run from 6 to 9 January, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Next Wave Fitness Products Debut at FitnessTech Summit

December 1st, 2014 Posted by News Story, Press Release 0 comments on “Next Wave Fitness Products Debut at FitnessTech Summit”

From embedded sensors and biometrics to elite training and maximizing performance, the progressive world of fitness technology will take center stage at the FitnessTech Summit, presented by Living in Digital Times at the 2015 International CES®, January 6, 2015 in Las Vegas (8:30am 5:00pm in the Venetian, Level 2, Bellini 2004). The bond between fitness and technology is stronger than ever as the industry evolves into being less about devices and more about the human body.

Fitness technology has become a national obsession. It continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry a place for well-established brands like Under Armour, Adidas and Timex to join company pioneers like Polar, Jaybird and iFit with an astounding rich and diverse showcase of products, said Robin Raskin, founder and CEO of Living in Digital Times. As technology improves and consumers take charge of their own health and well-being, we think products like these will continue to dominate the market and really result in a healthier, more fit consumer.

We are starting to see fitness and technology move outside of the training camps, past the first adopter stages and into the main stream markets, said Julie Sylvester, producer of the FitnessTech Summit. Everything from wrist devices to embedded sensors to mobile fitness apps on smart phones will be high profile in 2015.

FitnessTech also has its own rockstars: the designers and thinkers behind the emerging category. At the FitnessTech conference, leading experts will unveil their latest products and fitness strategies. Featured speakers include:

Stacey Burr, wearable tech pioneer and adidas vice president, explains how the elite innovation and technology from their training program is now being shared with consumer enthusiasts.

Riaan Conradie, executive founder of LifeQ, will explore the next generation of fitness, technology and wearables as they continue to get smaller, faster and more accurate, with aggregated data that will blow attendees minds.

Dr. Steven LeBoeuf, president of Valencell, Inc. will discuss the advancements in wearable biometric sensor technology and how they can provide personalized insight into how consumers actions are affecting their fitness.

FitnessTech conference session highlights include:

Digital Fitness Revolution: Nicholas Lehman, president of digital at NBC Universal, will discuss how the media evolution, particularly video, has revolutionized fitness training everywhere, whether professional training arenas, home workouts or trying to stay fit while on the road.

Training for the Personal Best: Increasingly, professional athletes and fitness trainers are turning to technology to maximize performance. Judd Armstrong of Jaybird, Ruth Thomson of Cambridge Consultants and Michael Stashak of Wahoo Fitness, Marco Suvilaakso of Polar and Meg Burich of adidas will discuss how these leaders are influencing the utilization of fitness technology in reaching the entire fitness and training market.

Digital Interactions and Connectivity: Through fitness apps and social media, are users unknowingly sharing too much? Is the “like” button unwittingly announcing behavioral patterns? Join Eric Taub of The New York Times and Robin Thurston from MapMyFitness and Under Armour Connected Fitness as they discuss who uses this information and the balance between concern and the obvious benefits.

Barracudas on the Strip: Five app developers will pitch their fitness apps to a panel of experts who will determine the Best New Fitness App for 2015. The judging panel includes Michael Yang of Comcast Ventures, Ted Vickey of Canyon Ranch Institute and Denise Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do

In the Fitness & Technology marketplace, attendees will be able to interact with professional athletes, celebrity trainers and get hands on with the latest in fitness technology from Fitbit, Under Armour, Withings, Epson, Netatmo, Jaybird, Polar, Sensoria Fitness, iFit, Blue Ant Wireless, Fitbug and Life Fitness.

For updates on the intersection of technology and fitness, follow Fitness Technology on Twitter at@CESFitnessTec, like Sports And FitnessTech Summit on Facebook and follow the hashtag #FitTechCES.

About Living in Digital Times

Founded by veteran technology journalist Robin Raskin, Living in Digital Times brings together the most knowledgeable leaders and the latest innovations impacting both technology and lifestyle. It helps companies identify and act on emerging trends, create compelling company narratives, and do better business through strong network connections. Living in Digital Times produces technology conferences, exhibits and events at the International CES and other locations throughout the year by lifestyle verticals. Core brands include Digital Health Summit, FitnessTech Summit, Lifelong Tech, Kids@Play Summit, Family Tech Summit, TransformingEDU, MommyTech TV, Wearables and FashionWare runway show, Mobile Apps Showdown, Last Gadget Standing, Battle of the Bands, and the KAPi Awards. The company also works with various foundations and manages the Appreneur Scholar awards program for budding mobile entrepreneurs. For more information, visit and keep up with our latest news on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

About CES

The International CES is the worlds gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 yearsthe global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. As the largest hands-on event of its kind, CES features all aspects of the industry. And because it is owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the technology trade association representing the $211 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry, it attracts the worlds business leaders and pioneering thinkers to a forum where the industrys most relevant issues are addressed. Follow CES online at and through social media:

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