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  • The importance of using the right formulae to keep your business on track

    Financial statements are often used to judge whether a business is performing well or not, however these numbers alone seldom tell the whole story. Entrepreneurs might be knowledgeable in their chosen field, but may lack the technical skills to fully analyse financial statements. It is therefore crucial to investigate other methods available for analysis of their business. Seeing the big picture While financial statements offer a good picture of past performance, they are not entirely suitable for predicting where the company might be in the future. Because they use historical data, they cannot accurately reflect sudden market changes or illustrate where...

  • Fundamo Diaries — Building real solutions for big clients [Part 2]

    The following article is the second in a series of extracts from South African entrepreneur Hannes Van Rensburg’s upcoming book, Cash In, Cash Out. The founder and CEO of the fintech company, Fundamo, recalls the events that have helped shape the world’s mobile banking industry as we know it as well as those leading up to the company’s exit to Visa for a whopping US$110-million. In this article, Van Rensburg details the events when Fundamo hauled in its first big blue-chip client — the biggest bank in Africa. This was arguably one of the biggest validations in the company’s history. The...

  • Sink or swim: keep your startup afloat in 5 ways

    Every entrepreneur’s dream is to launch a startup that breaks growth records and becomes an industry leader. Growth is the whole point, right? But like the old proverb goes, be careful what you wish for. Rapid growth comes with plenty of pitfalls, any one of which can ruin your business if you’re not prepared for it. Look past the Silicon Valley success stories, and you’ll see a valley floor strewn with shrunken shapes and dried bones of startups that grew too fast and collapsed under their own weight. You’ll see companies like Zirtual, which boomed for four years, and then crashed...

  • How can a startup ensure customer satisfaction in the long run?

    There is no denying the fact that technology rules the world today. But even with all the benefits of technology, there are a lot of people who have excellent ideas for startups and still fail. If you have a brilliant new idea for a startup and want to ensure it does not fail, the first thing you need to understand is that customer satisfaction is everything. There is nothing that can damage the growth of a business more than an unhappy customer. This is why you just have to create a brilliant experience for your customers. You want them to...

  • SAVCA: SA private equity a good bet in 2016

    Anyone looking for decent returns in the midst of a stagnating South African economy should consider the private equity space. That's the message being put forward by Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA). According to the association, the number of deals and exits seen in the South African startup space in 2015 is an indication of just how much potential there is for private equity investors. "The latest performance figures for the industry," says SAVCA CEO Erika van der Merwe, "confirm that investors into South African private equity funds continue to enjoy double-digit rand-based returns which...

  • Domestic cleaning startup SweepSouth sweeps in R10m

    Jacques Coetzee contributed to this article. Cape Town-based on-demand cleaning service SweepSouth has announced a new R10-million round of funding. This follows a thrilling 2015 which was filled with impressive company growth as well as recognition by one of Silicon Valley's most prestigious accelerators. The new round comes from First Rand Group and Jobs Fund's capitalised Vumela Fund, which is managed by FNB and Edge Growth, as well as Newton Partners, owned by Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen. In October 2014, SweepSouth was the winning pitch at the SiMODiSA Startup SA conference. In April 2015, it went on to secure seed funding...

  • UAE property startup pulls in $20m investment round

    UAE-based property portal Bayut has announced the completion of a US$20-million Series C funding round, building on the US$9-million Series B round it secured towards the end of 2015. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the funding comes from the company's existing investors, a fund which focuses on frontier and emerging markets with over US$ 1 billion in assets under management. The investment has gone into Bayut’s parent company Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), formerly Zamzama Property Group, which also controls Pakistani property play Zameen.com. According to Bayut CEO Haider Ali Khan, the funding round will be used...

  • The Creative Counsel incubator to support transformation in SA

    South Africa's largest advertising and marketing agency The Creative Counsel (TCC) has launched an incubator to support transformation in the industry. Five black-owned startups in media, marketing, digital, mobile industries will be supported and mentored by the agency's management team. In a recent press release, co-CEO of TCC Ran Neu-Ner notes that the group will not take equity in participating businesses. “We believe successful black-owned businesses are the true measure of transformation. For as long as the advertising industry continues to find sophisticated methods of fronting and recycling the few black managers in the industry, economic transformation will not be achieved,”...

  • 6 actionable social media tips for startups

    Social media marketing has become an integral part of most companies’ marketing strategy. Gone are the days when it was considered an optional activity. In fact, it has gone on to become key to building a brand’s awareness and reputation. Social media is also considered an effective medium for distributing content and generating leads. One of the best things about social media marketing is that it is affordable and even startups with small budget can make the most of it. According to Rocketpost, 40% of people spend more time socialising on social media rather than having face-to-face interactions. If you’re smart,...

  • 20 successful years of backing independent news — Q&A with MDIF’s Mohamed Nanabhay

    The media world has seen major disruptions since the advent of the web, especially when it comes to social media and mobile. While there are a handful of publications and platforms reaping the profits, most are struggling to keep their heads above water. This pressure is especially felt by companies that face unfavourable economic or political conditions, where government often use the internet as a tool for censorship, espionage and control of information. Yet, in this state of transformation, the MDIF (Media Development Investment Fund) recently had its 20th anniversary, celebrating a total of US$133.6-million invested in 108 independent news...