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All posts by Jess Green: @jessello

Jess Green: @jessello
Jess Green is a serial entrepreneur, previously exiting UbuntuDeal.co.za to Tiger Global LLC through bidorbuy, and now founding Perk, a mobile retail engagement app. Jess loves the tech scene, and serves as Investor Relations on the SiliconCape Exco.
  • Just how badly does your startup need that investment?

    Quora raises millions (both dollars and questions). Facebook buys WhatsApp for billions. Uber gets another trillion in investment and is now "worth" a quintillion. Or a brazillion. Who knows? The news in the entrepreneurial scene, especially in tech, is usually loud and involves big numbers. It is so easy to get swept up in this frenzy that I've seen many a business builder spend more time at events than on making his or her own company something worthwhile. And goodness knows I've been there too. The main realisation is that most of the news is around the outliers, those who...

  • 3 ways to go about hiring foreign skills for your SA startup

    Even before I was involved in the tech entrepreneur scene in SA and before I ran an immigration and visa services firm, I noticed during my tech recruitment days that companies simply didn't understand how the work visa system in South Africa functioned. And because they didn't understand it, they were afraid of it. The plain truth is that it's very simple. Either you can hire that foreign skill, or you can't. But if you can, then there is no reason (unless perhaps financially) why you shouldn't. In fact, the most recent visa regulations, which came out in May 2014,...

  • U-Start Africa: SA entrepreneurship is in a very good space

    After radio host and entrepreneur Kieno Kammies' introduction, the annual U-Start Conference kicked-off today at the Cape Town City Hall. Stefano Giudotti and Zachariah George opened with remarks on how far U-Start has come -- which is actually a great deal since its initial entrance into South Africa. Founded in Italy in January 2012, U-Start is a global boutique advisory firm offering an online platform which is the entry point to U-Start Services, facilitating the connection among local entrepreneurs and international investors. I attended their conference in Italy two years ago for Perk and found it very beneficial. I was impressed...

  • Ackerman: even big businesses face small business challenges [U-Start Africa]

    Gareth Ackerman may be the scion of one of South Africa's most prominent business families but he has his own retail entrepreneurship story that spans many, many years. Hilariously enough it started with him telling the audience at the U-Start Conference in Cape Town that due to a "bender" on his grandfather's part, the boat to France and the Battle of Delville Wood was missed and his family ended up flourishing in South Africa. Thank goodness for that -- as one delegate put it on Twitter: Listening to billions. Gareth Ackerman. One of the first points Ackerman made was around...

  • Be wary of being an entrepreneur for too long

    I can't tell you how relieved I was to reorganise my priorities at the end of 2013 and simply say 'no'. No more entrepreneurship events, no speaking or writing engagement unless I'm paid for it and very, very little time spent on the entrepreneurship scene. In short, I've cut down on so many unnecessary things in just one part of my life, that there is now ample time to pursue those interests I've always had and never had the time to enjoy. Why? Because there's no point being an entrepreneur for very long. Of course there are many different definitions of...

  • 3 valuable lessons from a successful startup exit in South Africa

    Long ago in a world far, far away (Cape Town, 2010), I started and ran a group-buying website. Yes, I was taken in by the amazing allure of Groupon, the "fastest growing company in the world". Little did I realise growing too fast was not actually a positive. Nevertheless, I was hooked and put together a small team that would launch a site and start selling deals within a month. It took us just over four weeks to put up our first deal, selling 42 spa vouchers. We were elated. UbuntuDeal was live and trading. Things progressed very fast from there....

  • Here are 3 negotiation tips for a good startup exit deal

    The day has come. You've founded, built and decided to sell your company. It's been your baby for a few years and you're happy to let it go for new challenges, whatever your reasons. Already up for sale and marketed by business brokers, a few buyers have expressed interest. Now this is where it get very interesting. I have sat in meetings selling my own company or project and I have sat in meetings potentially buying or investing in companies. I have also had the privilege of sitting around the table listening to buyers and sellers engaging. From those experiences,...

  • 3 very important things you need to know about recruiting for a startup in South Africa

    After a heck of a long time spent in recruiting for large corporates, and then spending an almost equally hectic period in startups and smaller companies, I'm amazed at how people hire staff and look for new employees. Why am I amazed? Well, to be sure, in a small company the recruitment of new skills is fundamentally key to success. Get the wrong programmer on board and your entire product line could come crashing down. Hire a bad salesman and you may lose all the clients you have. Even the wrong coffee machine could have dire consequences. Jokes aside, there are...

  • Meet 8 of Russia’s top VC firms

    Being a part of the Russians doesn’t mean you get a free bottle Russki Standard at tech events. Unfortunately. But what it does mean, is that you join a massive group of incredibly talented programmers and hackers and recently business-savvy tech folks, together with a whopping 150-million people all sitting in their warm homes tapping away at their keyboards. The Russian tech scene has exploded in the last five years, with companies like search engine Yandex completing an IPO on the NYSE and startups popping out of the snow like daisies in Namaqualand. A quick word on Yandex – it...

  • Could an SMS purchasing startup help stop online fraud?

    Any online retailer will tell you in no uncertain terms that fraud, specifically by using credit cards online, is a huge challenge for them and their competitors. Not only are these retailers often liable for the chargebacks caused by fraud, but it creates a negative impact on the online buying industry as a whole. Over the festive break, a number of people have sent emails asking about making online transactions via other means -- in other words not using credit cards. They asked: Can we make payments from our bank accounts directly? Can we buy with our mobile phone accounts? Those...