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South African entrepreneur sets example for GEW participants

Mark Marich (GEW global)

South Africa

Nov 13, 2009

Like many who will participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week, Sheraan Amod had a vision. As millions of entrepreneurs around the world will try to launch their startup companies during the upcoming week, Amod can sit back and watch the fruits of his labor blossom.

Amod, a Cape Town, South Africa-based entrepreneur, is the co-founder and CEO of Personera.com, a site that, in conjunction with Facebook, creates personalized calendars using Facebook users' content.

The format for the calendars is quite simple, yet ingenious. Friends' birthdays, upcoming events and photos are lifted from Facebook and printed on the 12-month calendar, each one unique to the user. In a world that has shifted almost entirely from print to digital, Personera works in the opposite way.

“I love the fact that Personera is reaching out to consumers in a way that technologists usually miss, by upgrading tangible everyday print products with personal data that has, until now, been confined to our digital screens,” Vinny Lingham, CEO of the San Francisco-based Yola.com and one of the company's investors and board members, said in a press release. “There is a huge opportunity to extend this service to other types of products, and in doing so spur an evolution of the entire print industry.”

Personera has already been featured in TechCrunch, and it was launched under the Silicon Cape Initiative, a South-African-government-and-industry endorsed movement to create a global Silicon Valley style startup culture in Cape Town.


Avi Creditor works for the Global Entrepreneurship Planning team and is based in Washington, D.C.

tags: calendar, personera, sheraan amod, silicon cape initiative