There is a breed of startups that are poised to be among those on the frontline of the advancements in technology and are being fast tracked by one of SA’s leading tech hubs and government.
The Innovation Hub, together with the Gauteng Provincial Government and the University of Witwatersrand are backing these startups to the tune of R2,5 million as part of the newly-launched, Braamfontein-based Maxum Digital Incubator.
The startups in the incubator range from VR companies that produce 360° digital content such as music videos and immersive experiences to startups that aim to bring about social change through gamified mobile products to help young people address issues such as HIV/AIDS and gender violence.
The entrepreneurs hail from all corners of the country and together share a vision of creating an ecosystem that will assist in addressing youth unemployment, inequality, lack of access to resources and barriers to entry in the gaming, VR and animation platforms sectors.
The incubator is hoping to help these entrepreneurs become business leaders of tomorrow by providing an enabling environment where these startups are fast tracked to compete in the global village.
The Incubator is part of the Maxum Business Incubation programme within The Innovation Hub which includes Maxum Smart and Maxum Media Accelerator. It provides a 30-month intervention and an enabling environment where the startups can share learnings, create working partnerships as well as open doors to markets and resources.
There are currently 16 youth and women-led startups in the incubator with the aim of supporting a total of 30 startups by the end of next year, according to a press release by the incubator.
Here are 5 of the startups in the Maxum Digital Incubator that you should keep an eye on.
Founder: Gerald Ferreira
What They Do: Virtual Realities provides fully immersive virtual reality solutions through their 360° digital content.
The startup is a one stop production house for 360° video, 360° virtual reality stills and specialized digital media content that is brand specific.
Virtual Realities provides full production solutions in creating content to different industry clusters that include corporate training, digital marketing solutions and activations, branding, events and campaigns, real estate viewings, estate photography, sport and entertainment, live streaming solutions, sport coverage, music shows, safari tours experiences and film industry solutions.
BLACK BELT GFX
Founder: Jason Thorne
What They Do: Black Belt is a full-service post production facility that specialises in motion design and visual effects.
The startup aims to become influencers and the benchmark for multi-talented creative professionals who have reached creative Mastery.
Founder: Brian Bikitsha
What They Do: ALT Reality is a technology studio based in the heart of Braamfontein, Johannesburg. They create virtual reality experiences by merging custom software and hardware applications.
The startup creates its own research and development projects as well as collaborate with clients to create interactive immersive experiences. ALT Reality’s services include 360 photosphere and videosphere capture, VR app and game development, digital environmental design as well as custom branded VR headsets and hardware.
Founder: Zuko Mandlakazi
What They Do: Senso produces sound and range detecting products that address the needs of individuals with hearing impairments as well as individuals with normal hearing in situations in which they need to be alerted to sounds higher than the ambient sound level of their environments.
Founded on March 17, 2014, the startup is part of The Innovation Hub, SABS Design Institute, mLab Southern African, SAB Foundation, RedBull Amaphiko and a few others.
Founder: Rick Treweek
What They Do: Alt 360 brings a variety of 360° content, curated to tell captivating, immersive stories. The startup is focused on the music, arts and culture sectors.
The startup provides 360 video content and immersive experiences using 360 degree photos and videos and hopes to build a platform to showcase local talent to the world. They hope to do this by creating content that is engaging, entertaining and enlightening.