While the team was hard at work, I travelled to New York for the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference, where we won the Startup Showcase, and I gave a talk on ‘Disruptive Innovations in Emerging Markets: Mxit [book projects including Yoza], Siyavula, Paperight and Worldreader’, along with Michael Smith of Worldreader. (This was covered nicely by PaidContent.)
I also gave a talk in Jan at TEDxAIMS in Jan called ‘Tech spreads slowly.’ Here’s the video and text.
I reproduced that as a post on the Mail & Guardian’s Thought Leader blog.
We’ve been happy to see lots of coverage. Some highlights:
- 12 Jan 2013: Nice coverage in major SA weekly Rapport (that’s Google Translated from the Afrikaans)
- 25 Jan 2013: Profile of Paperight on the O’Reilly Tools of Change blog
- 26 Jan 2013: Bibliodiversity magazine: long interview with me about Paperight
- 29 Jan 2013: Nalibali interview with me published in their supplement in The Times, too.
- 4 Feb 2013: Well-known book-industry blogger Kassia Krozser on Paperight. Among many nice things she says, this: “This is genius. This is important. This is innovation in publishing. I applaud every publisher and author who participates in Paperight.” (the Paperight parts of her article were extensively quoted on influential publishing blog Publishing Perspectives later that day)
- 14 Feb 2013 onwards: After we won ‘Most entrepreneurial startup’ at Tools of Change for Publishing, lots of coverage: Silicon Cape and other sites carried our press release about it.Ventureburn wrote up their own article. Some added to the release, like iAfrica, who gave it the nice title ‘Give kids access to knowledge‘. Covered by other blogs, too, including the long-standing and well-regarded Teleread. TechCentral wrote up a startup feature about us. And one in Japanese, with Google translating Paperight back to English as ‘light the paper shop’ :)
- 19 Feb 2013: the Knowledge Bridge blog of the Media Development Investment Fund wrote a nice piece about us titled ‘South Africa’s Paperight holds opportunities for long-form journalism‘.
- 28 Feb 2013: Post on Paperight in Forbes, arguing that Paperight could also be important for UK bookshops and post offices.
The highlight was that on 28 Feb 2013 The National Assembly of South Africa (Parliament) congratulated Paperight!
8. The Chief Whip of the Opposition moved without notice: That the House –
(1) notes that Paperight, a Cape Town based print-on-demand company received the O’Reilly Tools of Change Start-Up Showcase’s award for Most Entrepreneurial Publishing Start-Up in New York City on 14 February 2013;
(2) further notes that Paperight, a company funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation, received this award for its ingenious solution to widespread book shortages in the developing world through a service that allows photocopy shops to legally print books, consisting of more than 200 registered independent outlets in South Africa;
(3) recognises that Paperight was one of 10 finalists, the only company nominated outside the United States of America and Europe and the first ever to come from South Africa;
(4) acknowledges the difficulty that millions in South Africa face in
accessing published works;
(5) further acknowledges the importance of making published works
easily accessible to millions of people throughout Africa; and
(6) congratulates Paperight and encourages publishers to register with Paperight in making their works accessible to all. Agreed to.
Our roadmap for the next 3 months
- Promotional campaigns around the Paperight Young Writers Anthology, the Now What? UNISA guide, and planning promotional campaigns around healthcare and young-adult titles.
- Boost content team to clear the backlog of books we have, including over 150 student guides for distance-learning university College Campus.
- Complete negotiations with two major US publishers (O’Reilly, Harlequin) that have been ongoing for a long time.
- Aim to sign MOU (or similar) with Postnet.
- Last phase (Phase 3) of software feature development, including A5 printing, high-res covers, and VAT support.
We’re on track with our early-stage financial targets.