by Nina Joubert

It goes without saying that innovation changes the world. Take a minute to think where we’d be without the light bulb or the telephone. The nature of innovation is that it gives birth to more innovation. For example, without the telephone we wouldn’t have the mobile phone and without the mobile phone we wouldn’t have the smartphone and thanks to the smartphone, there’s an app for just about anything today! It’s almost like the smartphone is the futuristic robot we all envisioned when we’d reach the age of the Jetsons.

Innovation is the new gold and we are living in a time of the “innovation rush”. This means investors need to be smart with their money and research well into which of these innovations will strike sustainable gold.

I’ve often thought of what I’d do with a few million if I had it. Besides the fancy house, the extravagant holiday, the charity, the presents to impress my family with; the wise thing to do is invest. So if I were sailing the Mediterranean on my yacht researching innovative startups to invest in, I’d want to find something in line with my interests, something I’d like to see achieved, besides the monetary benefits. To use the appropriate cliché, if someone asked me why I chose a specific startup to invest in, I’d like to say great minds think alike, obviously bragging about myself there too.

Binu – Africa has become dependent on mobile phones for everyday life. From small businesses to large businesses, mobile technology has become a huge asset in Africa. So much that Cisco predicts more Africans will have access to a mobile phone by 2015, than to electricity. However, a lot of these mobile devices are feature phones. Feature phones work well in Africa and other developing countries. Their batteries last longer, their basic functionality works well and they are a whole lot cheaper. Smartphones however open up a lot more avenues. Australian startup, Binu has bridged the gap between these two phones by making a smartphone in the cloud. This allows feature phones to function in a similar manner as smartphones when using the Binu app. It’s a welcome and necessary service to feature phone users and especially Africa.

Attracting like-minded investors

While Binu is an Australian startup, it attracted new African venture capital outfit, the Savannah Fund. According to one of the fund’s founders, Mbwana Alliy, Savannah will invest in any company around the world that is beneficial to an African user base.

First National Bank finds a like-minded company to invest in

It doesn’t take Inspector Clouseau to put the words “bank” and “innovation” together and not figure out that FNB is somehow involved. They’re a bank that thrive on innovation and seem to invest in companies that hold a similar vision.

Which is why they’ve invested in South Africa’s leading email, mobile and social communications platform, Everlytic. Everlytic has commissioned themselves to be a cut above the rest by not only providing their customers with a world class product, but with a well-developed support system and training around the field of digital communications to both clients and non-clients. An innovative South African bank has invested in an innovative South African tech company, that’s nothing short of a meeting of 2 great minds.