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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 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...

  • The unwavering persistence of entrepreneurs

    The following is a transcription of a keynote speech made by Memeburn publisher and Creative Spark founder Matthew Buckland at the Youth Entrepreneurs Connect Conference at the Cape Town ICC on 28 September. In the speech, Buckland explores how the internet has helped bring entrepreneurship to the fore, and the impact it has had on South Africa. Drawing on his own experiences, he also describes how vital it is that universities support entrepreneurship and allow students, who are so inclined, to follow their own destinies. Moreover he dissects the qualities that make up a successful entrepreneur. Few apply to...

  • 12 absolutely incredible lessons for entrepreneurs from Bill Gross [LeWeb]

    It's rare that you see a talk that resonates so deeply and makes complete, fundamental sense. You have the realisation that experience, genius and truth is in the same room as you and you are having those "aha" moments every minute -- and it's exhilarating. Bill Gross is an entrepreneurial genius. He runs a company called Idealab, started in 1996. He founded the company to create and build successful businesses that capitalise on innovations in areas with growth opportunities. Naturally the internet is a key focus for the company. Idealab has been busy: It has started about 100 companies, had more...

  • Death is the default for startups, and your little idea means nothing

    Death is the default for startups, reckons Amazon Web Services Technology Evangelist Simone Brunozzi. Apart from having a really cool Twitter handle @Simon, Brunozzi has founded a few startups himself, so speaks with some authority. Speaking at a Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg he mentioned that there was quite a bit of confusion at what constituted a "startup". He emphasised that most new businesses in the world were actually not startups, but were "service companies". I guess they like to call themselves "startups" because it's very funky and trendy to call yourself one these days. But to qualify as a startup, says...