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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.
  • 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 if one holds...

  • 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...

  • What really is the secret to getting a VC deal? [Opinion]

    Most entrepreneurs dream of that moment when they get to send out that press release announcing they have struck a venture capital (VC) funding deal. It usually involves millions and millions and it’s a great moment for the startup and the entrepreneurial community. It is a rockstar moment for the entrepreneur, and a milestone for the startup. For people working at the startup it’s a sign of validation, a sign of success and a sign of growth to come. The sad reality is, however, most startups never get there. The headlines and the press releases are loud and proud and create...

  • SA’s startup ecosystem offers a positive vision of country’s future [Opinion]

    South Africa’s startup ecosystem is robust and growing, but our entrepreneurs and investors need to develop a truly global mindset to take advantage of a globalising world. Two recent startup studies on the country’s entrepreneurial and investment sector, released just this month, backs up the hype with research and hard figures, pointing to a booming startup sector. A report from the Netherlands-based startup research company VC4A, notes that the South African startup ecosystem is one of the most “robust and developed on the continent”, with strengths that include significant consumer and business markets, sophisticated entrepreneurial talent, and a strong corporate sector. It...

  • Indonesian unicorn shows Silicon Valley model can’t beat going local [Opinion]

    It is said that Jakartans spend 10 years of their life in traffic. The populous and fast growing Indonesian capital city is a sweaty, gridlocked cacophony of just about every type of vehicle you can think of. It’s a problem that has been noticed, and tackled, by the region’s tech entrepreneurs. To this end, two massive tech “unicorns” dominate the ride-hailing market there. Both companies, Go-Jek and the Singaporean Grab, are effectively the Ubers of that region. In fact, both companies have been so successful that they brought the worldwide ride-hailing leader Uber to its knees, forcing the San Francisco company to...

  • What’s the secret ingredient that makes entrepreneurs successful? [Opinion]

    Am I an entrepreneur? It’s the question asked of me the most. It’s the question I thought would be the perfect start to this regular column on entrepreneurship, venture capital and the world of startups – a sector of our economy which is booming. Despite the economic and political challenges we face in the country, our startup scene is a parallel universe of overwhelming optimism, innovation, job creation, creativity and wealth creation. When we were in the midst of downgrades, juxtaposed was the country’s startup sector with positive news of new funds coming online, startups winning funding, and entrepreneurs exiting from...

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