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All posts by Nicholas Haralambous

Nicholas Haralambous
Nic a mobile entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of Motribe, a mobile platform for publishing on the web. He has previously worked at Vodacom in the social media division launching a mobile alternative reality game, Legends of Echo as well as location based social network, The Grid. He has also worked at the Mail&Guardian as the head of the mobile division.
  • Here’s why failure is a rite of passage to success

    Winning the first time, every time and all the time is unrealistic and harmful to your continued success. Entrepreneurial delusion is a real thing. If it isn’t an official thing, it really should be. We (the entrepreneurs) believe that we will succeed no matter. We’re different, we’re unique, we’re in the top percentile of companies that actually make it beyond the first 18 months. We convince ourselves so intensely that this is the case that failure becomes the enemy. But it isn't. Failure is not the enemy Failure is actual a learning opportunity and it should be looked at like...

  • A handshake isn’t enough: what happens when investors back out

    Recently I had the opportunity to raise a small round of seed funding for my subscription sock company, NicSocks.com. The figure was about US$25 000 and I was raising it from an angel investor. We had an aligned vision, we spent months discussing where the business was going, how we were going to move the company towards our next goal and what we would use the funds for. Everything was on track. We had a handshake agreement that I thought was as good as gold. It wasn’t and the deal fell through after months and months of work. Here’s the first...

  • Starting your own business 101: happiness not included

    What’s the difference between being happy and feeling alive? Let me tell you. Being happy involves feelings of joy, contentment and euphoria while often excluding, ignoring or suppressing negative feelings. Feeling alive is knowing that every day brings challenges that you either will or will not overcome. Feeling alive isn’t restricted to joy. It involves pain, fear, anger, confusion, frustration, happiness, euphoria, triumph, accomplishment, failure, success, remorse, resentment and everything in between. That’s how most entrepreneurs I know would probably define what it’s like to start and run your own business. Starting your own business will not make you happy but it...

  • Some business lessons from Cirque du Soleil

    I recently went to see DRALION by Cirque du Soleil -- presented by T-Systems. It was one of the most visually stimulating things that I have witnessed in recent years. In fact it was an all-round sensory experience not to be missed. That's not why I'm writing this blog post. Sitting there listening to and watching the show, I was taken by how perfect of an experience the show was and started to wonder what startups could learn from it. Here are a few things I noticed: Work with only the best Every single person that formed part of the crew (performers, backstage...

  • Entrepreneur diaries: Don’t be ashamed of building a sustainable business

    Editor’s Note: Nicholas Haralambous was the co-founder of mobile social network builder Motribe, which was recently acquired by Mxit for an undisclosed sum. The company was started two years ago with Vincent Maher and was invested in by local venture capital company 4Di Capital. He also recently started an environmentally friendly online sock shop. This is the third post in the series: "things I learned building a mobile startup in Africa". In the era of tech startups, raising a billion dollars and being bought for triple that after a few months, it is increasingly becoming uncool to build an organically...

  • Entrepreneur diaries: trying to get funds can be a distraction

    Editor’s Note: Nicholas Haralambous was the co-founder of mobile social network builder Motribe, which was recently acquired by Mxit for an undisclosed sum. The company was started two years ago with Vincent Maher and was invested in by local venture capital company 4Di Capital. He also recently started an environmentally friendly online sock shop. This is the second post in the series: "things I learned building a mobile startup in Africa". There are few things that you should focus on when building a company. Things like customer growth, product development and revenue growth. Early on in the life of a business,...

  • Entrepreneur diaries: lessons I learnt from building a mobile startup in Africa

    Editor's Note: Nicholas Haralambous was the co-founder of mobile social network builder Motribe, which was recently acquired by Mxit for an undisclosed sum. The company was started two years ago with Vincent Maher and was invested in by local venture capital company 4Di Capital. He also just started an environmentally friendly online sock shop. I have learned a lot in the past two years. Many of the lessons haven’t really even sunk in yet but I thought that I should start off by writing a list of things I’d learned while building my mobile company in South Africa. This list...

  • Y Combinator: Investors should back the jockey not the horse

    Y Combinator, a leading seed investment incubator, recently announced that it would be accepting startup applications for this years fund from startup founders WITHOUT an idea. Here's how the incubator describes itself on its website: Y Combinator does seed funding for startups. Seed funding is the earliest stage of venture funding. It pays your expenses while you're getting started. Some companies may need no more than seed funding. Others will go through several rounds. There is no right answer. How much funding you need depends on the kind of company you start. It appears that the technology investment market arrived...

  • The hows and the whats — 5 tough questions VCs ask

    Over the past six months I have spoken with a wide variety of people who have shown, in varying degrees, interest in investing in my company. Many of these VCs have specific ways that they conduct a call, interview or meeting. Many of them have lead me down long and wasteful due diligence processes, many have been kind, some have been blunt and harsh but all have been pedantic and specific about the types of questions they ask. I have found that, on the whole, the questions are standard and the steps straight-forward but there are always the tough questions...

  • 8 Reasons hiring at a technology startup is tough

    I like to define a startup in a way that goes something like this: A startup in my world is a young company in a new, fast growing and evolving industry that could swing, change or be disrupted very quickly. The reason that it's relevant for me to lay out how I define a startup is because this definition is extremely important when considering hiring a team. It is often not as simple as hiring the best person for the job. It's much deeper and more complicated than a simple contract with leave allowances and a stable income. Hiring is tough...