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All posts by Alan Knott-Craig Jnr

  • 7 things you need to know about pitching to South African angel investors

    Many youngsters rock up at my door asking for money to chase their dreams. Some of the ideas are great, but the pitch is amateurish. If you can’t execute your pitch, most investors will assume you can’t execute, period. Here are some tips. These are not Silicon Valley tips. These are tips for pitching to South African angel investors. 1. Dress neat Don’t be late. Have manners. Bring a gift (read Cialdini on reciprocation). 2. Start with summary Very few ideas are original. Make it easy for the angel to quickly decide whether it is original and worth concentrating, or whether he should...

  • How do we accelerate internet access in Africa?

    If bandwidth is like water, then Africa is a desert with Perrier vending machines everywhere. If you have money, you’re fine. If you don’t have money, you’re dying of thirst. Although over 70% of Africans have a mobile phone, and over 90% are covered by mobile networks, less than 10% use the internet. That means most Africans can’t email CVs, research Wikipedia, self-diagnose health problems, or generally find out what is happening in the world. We all know that mobile phones have revolutionised Africa. For the first time in history most Africans can speak to one another,...

  • Startups vs Government on innovation

    Comparing tech startups and the government is strange, I know. Nevertheless, having just finished a short course on economic development, I’m quite sure there are some parallels in the thinking of professors and civil servants in charge of the economy, and the thinking of the likes of Eric Ries of Lean Startup fame. The first thing that resonated is some advice I’ve gleaned from successful entrepreneurs. Pick a goal, i.e. the mountain in the distance. Then, ignore every single step between you and the mountain, except for the next step. Once that step has been taken, look up, make sure...

  • Alan Knott-Craig Jnr: 7 career lessons learnt thus far

    Alan Knott Craig Junior is mobile entrepreneur, who was previously the CEO of wireless internet provider iBurst. He recently stepped down as CEO of Mxit, after buying it in 2011, and World of Avatar, the startup group he co-founded. In this post, he explores some of the lessons his various ventures have taught him. When I think of the factors that led to any successes (or failures) in my career thus far, the following come to mind: 1. Communicate If you can’t effectively transmit the picture in your head into the head of the person you’re communicating with, you’re dead. This...