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Interview: CEO Farzam Ehsani

Former Rand Merchant Bank blockchain lead Farzam Ehsani returns to the TechCentral podcast to talk about his latest venture, cryptocurrency exchange
In the podcast, Ehsani explains why he left RMB to start VALR, what the start-up does, who it's targeted it and who's backing it.
He explains why VALR has partnered with US company Bittrex, why he believes the company's fee structure and access to a large number of cryptocurrencies gives it an edge over rivals, and its expansion plans.
VALR uses advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning for identity validation, and Ehsani explains how this works.
He also provides his views on the cryptocurrency bear market of 2018 and where the market might be going next.
It's a fascinating discussion. Be sure not to miss it!

Interview: Monero's Riccardo Spagni returns

Monero lead maintainer and Tari co-founder Riccardo Spagni returns to the TechCentral podcast for a wide-ranging discussion about the great cryptocurrency crash of 2018 and the importance of privacy in the digital age.
In the podcast with TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod, Spagni -- also known as "fluffypony" -- chats about the progress that Tari, a decentralised assets protocol, has made since it was announced earlier this year.
Spagni then gives his views on the collapse in the value of cryptocurrencies this year and whether he thinks the bear market is near the bottom (spoiler alert: he does).
He then delves into the subject of privacy in the modern world and the role of monero as an anonymous cryptocurrency, and talks about whether governments have overreached in the digital age.
There's plenty more, too. Don't miss this discussion with a fascinating South African.

Interview: Hello Group CEO Nadir Khamissa

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod sits down with Hello Group co-founder and CEO Nadir Khamissa for an update on the company's growth in the past few years and its ambitions in the financial services market.
Founded about 13 years ago by Khamissa and his brother Shaazim, Hello Group has built itself up into a major player in the telecommunications and financial services market by serving mainly migrant workers looking for an affordable way to communicate and do cross-border money transfers.
Khamissa, an actuary and former MD of global equity/derivatives trading at Deutsche Bank, worked on several major projects, including listing Telkom on the Johannesburg and New York stock exchanges in 2003 in his time there.
In the past three years, Hello Group has expanded across emerging markets in Africa and Asia and now employs about a thousand people - up from 300 three years ago.
It was the first company in South Africa to receive an independent money transfer operator licence from the Reserve Bank. It now has big plans to expand its financial services offerings in South Africa next year.
In the podcast, Khamissa explains why he thinks the financial services sector in South Africa is "ripe of re-energisation" and the role he sees Hello Group playing in this regard, particularly in the informal segment.

Interview: What3words country manager Lyndsey Duff

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Lyndsey Duff, South Africa country manager at What3words, a company that has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique three-word address.
The idea is that instead of having to share a long address or difficult-to-remember GPS co-ordinates, businesses and consumers can quickly share their location using three words such as coffee.fever.cans, no matter where they happen to be.
So, for instance, when checking out at an online store, a customer could provide their delivery location using a unique What3words identifier instead of providing their address details. This, Duff says, has particular application in the developing world, where formal addresses are often nonexistent.
In the podcast, Duff explains why the idea has application far beyond logistics. She explains how governments, for example, could use it for service delivery.
Already available in several indigenous South African languages, What3words has divided the world in 57 trillion data points, all of which can be looked up without an Internet connection using the company's Android and iPhone apps.
Duff talks about how What3words got its start, its internationalisation, its revenue model and its plans for South Africa.

The great e-tolls debate: Wayne Duvenage vs Coenie Vermaak

In this special episode of the podcast, TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod moderates a lively and fiery debate between Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) CEO Wayne Duvenage and Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) CEO Coenie Vermaak on Gauteng's e-tolls system.
Listen as Duvenage attacks the system, explaining why he believes it has failed, with the majority of motorists refusing to pay their e-tolls. Vermaak, who previously also boycotted the system, explains why he changed his mind about e-tolls, and why he thinks you should, too.
In the podcast, Duvenage explains why he thinks roads agency Sanral failed to consult adequately on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and why there were (and are) far better (and cheaper) ways to fund road improvements. Vermaak, meanwhile, cautions that civil disobedience of the kind advocated by Outa is dangerous and could lead to unintended consequences.
The two talk about the history of the project, why non-compliance is so high and what the solutions might be to resolve the impasse.
Who is ultimately right, Duvenage or Vermaak? Listen to the podcast and make up your own mind on this complex subject.
A video version of the debate will be made available on TechCentral later this week.

Interview: McAfee's Trevor Coetzee and DRS's Rob Brown

In this promoted* episode of the podcast, TechCentral talks to Rob Brown, CEO of cybersecurity specialists DRS, and Trevor Coetzee, regional director for sub-Saharan Africa at McAfee.
In the discussion, Coetzee speaks about the history of McAfee, from its founding in 1987, to its acquisition in 2011 Intel (and its later unbundling), and its history in South Africa.
Brown then talks about DRS, what the company does and its relationship with McAfee.
The discussion turns to the information security landscape and how it has changed in recent years, the challenges facing companies in South Africa in dealing with security issues and the issues that are top of mind for chief information security officers today.
How has “shadow IT” complicated efforts by companies to safeguard their information assets, and what impact has the rise of cloud computing had on their approach to this crucial issue?
What should companies know when considering a cloud strategy, from a security, legal/compliance and regulatory perspective? What are they doing right and wrong? And where ultimately does the buck stop?
Brown and Coetzee tackle these topics and more in the podcast.
* This episode of the podcast is promoted content that may have been paid for by the party concerned

Interview: Former Nasa administrator Major-General Charles Bolden

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod interviews Major-General Charles Bolden, who served as the administrator of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) from 2009 until his retirement last year.
Bolden, who is on a tour of South Africa this week, has taken part in four space flights in his career, spending more than 680 hours in space. He piloted both the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Space Shuttle Discovery, and was intimately involved in projects such as building the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope.
A 1968 graduate of the US Naval Academy and a retired US Marine Corps major-general, Bolden recounts the highlights of his storied career as a Marine Corps pilot in active duty and how he went on to become an astronaut - something he says he never intended to do growing up.
He talks about how his persistence led to him being accepted into the US Naval Academy in the late 1960s - including writing a letter to former US President Lyndon B Johnson - at a time when it was almost impossible for African Americans to do so.
In the podcast, McLeod asks Bolden what emotions he went through when - against the odds - he was selected in 1980 for the astronaut programme and what he felt the first time he looked back at the Earth from space.
The former astronaut talks about what he believes is the most important work that Nasa is doing today and why the search for life on other planets is such an crucial endeavour to understanding our place in the universe.
It goes without saying: this is one interview you don’t want to miss.

Interview: Huawei Enterprise Group's Alex Du Min and Pinnacle's Fred Saayman

Promoted podcast | In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral talks to Alex Du Min, MD of the Huawei Enterprise Group in South Africa, and Fred Saayman, Pinnacle’s Huawei business unit executive.
Du Min talks in detail about how Huawei got its start, expanded rapidly into new areas, its establishment in South Africa and how the company is building its brand in the country.
He then delves into the Huawei Enterprise Group, what it does and its expansion plans in South Africa.
Saayman talks about Pinnacle’s relationship with Huawei, the nature of the partnership and what its role is as a value-added distributor.
He explains the pressure points facing South African businesses and the areas of strongest demand from clients.
Disclaimer: This is promoted content that may have been paid for by the party concerned

Interview: Luno country manager Marius Reitz

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Luno South Africa country manager Marius Reitz.
In the interview, they discuss the cryptocurrency market and where it’s going. Has the value of bitcoin bottomed? Where is it going next? Will it ever be a widely accepted transactional payment mechanism? And what are the pitfalls people should be aware of when investing in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Reitz also talks about the history of Luno – from its founding in South Africa to the various investment rounds it has gone through to its expansion into 40 markets around the world. He gives his view on where the business is going, in both South Africa and abroad.
He explains why Luno only offers access to two cryptocurrencies – bitcoin and ether – and talks about why the company has been reluctant to add new coins to its portfolio of offerings.
The conversation turns to how the perception of crypto investing has changed and how people use the Luno platform today compared to a year ago. It also touches on security and how Luno keeps its customers’ investments secure from cybercriminals.
Don’t miss the discussion.

Interview: The Foschini Group CIO Brent Curry

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Brent Curry, chief information officer of The Foschini Group (TFG), about the launch of a new online marketplace called
In the interview, Curry explains why the retailer has decided to create a unified marketplace for its 22 brands and why it's planning to add another 40 affiliate brands by 2020.
He talks about the South African e-commerce market, why TFG is investing heavily in online retail and where he thinks the online shopping is going.
Curry also talks about Black Friday, which is taking place on 23 November, and what investments the company has had to make in its systems to ensure the day happens without any hiccups.
It's a fascinating discussion. Don't miss it!

Interview: Project Isizwe CEO Duduzile Mkhwanazi

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Project Isizwe CEO Duduzile Mkhwanazi on the non-profit's plans for rolling out free Wi-Fi in South Africa following the dissolution of the company's agreement with the City of Tshwane.
Mkhwanazi, who joined Project Isizwe from the Democratic Alliance 19 months ago, explains what happened in Tshwane, and why the company is no longer involved in the city's Wi-Fi project.
She talks about the company's origins, the work it is still involved with and its expansion plans.
In the podcast, Mkhwanazi explains Project Isizwe's business model, what role founder Alan Knott-Craig still plays and some of the opportunities it is pursuing, including in the area of TV white-spaces spectrum (it was involved with Microsoft in a trial of this technology in Limpopo).
Don't miss the discussion.

Interview: Aerobotics CEO James Paterson

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews James Paterson, co-founder and CEO of Aerobotics, a Cape Town-based company that pairs drone and satellite imagery with artificial intelligence to help farmers improve their yields.
Focused specifically on tree crops, Aerobotics can analyse individual trees, measure their health and whether anything is affecting them, advising farmers about potential problems and how to fix them.
The business, which enjoys the backing of Nedbank, has plans to expand beyond South Africa and has already set up teams in the US states of Florida and California.
In the podcast, Paterson explains how the company got its start, how the technology works and how it goes to market.
Founded by Paterson and his business partner Benji Meltzer (who serves as chief technology officer), Aerobotics' software, Aeroview, allows tree-crop farmers to identify early-stage problems in their orchards. Used in conjunction with the Aerobotics’ Aeroview Scout App on their smartphone, farmers are able to locate problem areas on a tree-by-tree basis.
Don't miss the interview.

190 episodes

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