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All posts by Matthew Buckland

Matthew Buckland
Matthew Buckland is an internet entrepreneur and investor with more than 20 years’ experience working in management and strategic roles for internet and technology businesses. He founded the digital marketing and strategy agency Creative Spark which he sold, five years after he founded it, to UK-listed firm M&C Saatchi. Matthew runs Ventureburn.com, is an investor in startup businesses, and serves as EIR to the Media Development Investment Fund, a New York- and Prague-based global media fund, helping its investees with strategy and business models in a range of countries.
  • How South African startups are solving informal sector problems [Opinion]

    A valid criticism of the country’s nascent startup scene is that the businesses that are being created are just thoroughly irrelevant to the actual needs of the country. Entrepreneurs are often dazzled by the shiny things that come out of Silicon Valley, and want to emulate. In reality they are just appealing to a small middle class as opposed to 90% of the country’s population. It’s a big opportunity, because the informal sector offers an ability to come up with unique and creative business models, as well work with a large, untapped potential market. Not all startups have that Silicon...

  • From vision to keeping positive- 8 habits of successful entrepreneurs [Opinion]

    Not all entrepreneurs are created equal. Some fail, some just remain one-man-bands, some go on to create small businesses, and some go on to create massively scaled businesses. Over the years I have met and had conversations with many founders that have built some impressive businesses. From these conversations, I have compiled what I see as the eight key habits of successful startup entrepreneurs: Vision – most entrepreneurs (and business leaders) are able to sketch and effortlessly communicate a message of growth and opportunity for employees. In a startup environment this is particularly important. Startup employees often find themselves in...

  • My hot and happening SA startup picks for 2019 [Opinion]

    There are many startups making waves in the country, but there are a select few that stand out, with massive potential, run by some very impressive entrepreneurs. I polled some top investors and spoke to Ventureburn journalists Stephen Timm and Daniel Mpala to get their views on what they think are the hot and happening startups for 2019, Here then, is a non-exhaustive list: Aerobotics -- is a startup to watch closely. The Cape Town-based agritech startup is a data analytics platform providing data drawn from satellite imagery and drone flights to monitor farmers crops and warn them about potential...

  • Being an A-grade student at school no sure sign of business success [Opinion]

    When my daughters brought me their report cards at the end of the year, I made a point of not getting too obsessed about their marks. I obviously encourage my daughters to do the best they can, get good marks, apply themselves, and try, try, try! But if they don’t get top grades, I don’t fuss all that much either. This may sound like heresy to most educationalists and parents, but the reality is that there is a poor correlation between good grades at school, and success out there in the real world. In fact the ability to get A’s on...

  • Section 12J VC incentive a good start, but government can do more [Opinion]

    The world of startups is a risky choice for an investor. But there is a clever way you can reduce that risk, and that is by investing in a government-sanctioned Section 12J fund. The tech industry often laments that government can do more to support small business. Yes, it can do more, but here is an example where it is making a difference. Section 12J funds have been around for the past 10 years but have only gained traction in the startup world recently. The attractive part about these funds are that they are 100% tax deductible should one hold...

  • How corporates are jumping to work with tech startups [Opinion]

    I’ll never forget a conversation I had with the CEO of a listed corporation about how his company could engage with the world of startups. His reply, from the far end of his long, glossy boardroom table, was that he didn’t want some “dagga-smoking Capetonian in slipslops” in his company. It was a joke of course, but he was sort-of-serious too. Corporates, who are watching the startup story unfold before their eyes, know that these agile, innovative little companies may be their future collaborators or competitors. Corporates also know that startups can be very useful to them. Large companies, because of their...

  • Your pitch deck is your business story, but don’t let it baffle investors [Opinion]

    As an entrepreneur with a new startup, besides your sparkling personality and brilliant knowledge, one of the most important weapons you have in your armoury is your pitch deck. Your pitch deck is your business story, it’s differentiation, and communicates in a digestible, simple form what your business is. The technology and social media era is a complex, busy and distracted place and funders see thousands of pitch decks every month. That pitch deck finds a way to cut through the clutter, the noise, and adapt to tight time schedules to communicate who you are and what you do. A pitch deck...

  • How Naspers could help find SA’s next great tech startups [Opinion]

    Former Naspers CEO Koos Bekker has always been vocal about the lack of good tech entrepreneurs in South Africa. It’s a statement that makes many wince, and many defensively start rattling off a list of successful local tech entrepreneurs. Why, they say, there is Takealot.com, led by former Naspers man Kim Reid, and the edtech business Getsmarter that was recently sold for $100-million. And many more. But people misunderstand Koos. He is not talking about these businesses at the level they think he is. When he says the country has no great tech entrepreneurs, he is thinking on a much bigger scale. This...

  • Pick a sector, add internet and your firm could be worth millions [Opinion]

    Given all the press, you would be forgiven for thinking that startups were have only become a thing in the last 20 years. The reality is that startups have existed in all shapes and forms since the beginning of time. Some fail and some are the big companies we know today. But it really is different this time. And the reason is because this new wave entrepreneurship is far bigger than ever before, and it’s been driven by the internet revolution. In the past it was unheard of that young university graduates would go on to create billion-dollar companies. It’s because of the...

  • Time for startups to get over myth of the ‘one big idea’ and just get going [Opinion]

    One of the biggest excuses people give for not starting a business is that they don’t have that "big original idea" yet. There are a quadrillion startup ideas out there, but just a handful are converted into companies because most people stay paralysed in the ideation phase, and their business simply never happens. They eventually just become big talkers, with no action to back it up. Sometimes this is caused by fear of the unknown, a need to control the outcome, fear of failure, or fear of leaving that comfortable, addictive salary. Needing that “big idea” is the biggest misconception about starting...

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