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Entrepreneurship

  • How entrepreneurs can think like venture capitalists

    As an entrepreneur involved with two highly successful full-stack technology businesses, I spent fifteen years curiously wondering how venture capitalists make decisions. When I wasn’t focused on delivering value to customers and employees, I focused on how I could demonstrate that value to VCs in order to raise capital. Often the process felt like it was shrouded in mystery—conjuring images of tribal gatherings, Shark Tank-like voting sessions and perhaps an Ouija board or two. Even after I secured capital with several of the best firms, I still felt like an element of luck was involved. Now that I find myself on...

  • What makes hubs successful?

    For the past two weeks, I have been based at Impact Hub Accra to assist the team with business development as well as conducting research as part of my master’s in African Studies at Leiden University. As similar hubs continue to emerge across the continent, I seek to investigate the role hubs and innovation centres play in facilitating the pathways of its members. To explore this I have chosen to use Impact Hub Accra as a unique case study. My research focuses on how this particular hub advocates the trajectories of entrepreneurs, notably ‘social’ entrepreneurs. I will spend the next...

  • Is your startup ready for flextime?

    If you're looking for ways to raise productivity and reduce overhead at your startup, you might have come across the term 'flextime'. This is a concept in which workers are offered the option of flexible hours and increased opportunities for telecommuting in an office setting. The employee is primarily in charge of setting his or her own hours, with management approval. Flextime is often used in corporate settings to raise productivity and employee morale. Firms and their staff have found it to be an efficient strategy, and many startups are encouraged to adopt the pattern. The policy is an appealing company...

  • 3 things to consider before expanding into China

    Trust. That's the No. 1 reason customers try out new stores according to a joint report by Retail Week and international law firm Pinsent Masons. Now, think about asking customers in a different corner of the world to buy what you're selling. Trust, then, becomes an even bigger selling point. For many entrepreneurs, expanding internationally is just a matter of logistics. Setting up a business location, hiring employees, getting a production chain going, finding people who know the language -- these are considered chief difficulties when moving your business to another part of the globe. However, the entrepreneurs who think this...

  • Entrepreneurial success creates a domino effect

    In the last couple of decades, the world has seen an explosion of creative entrepreneurs come up with innovative business solutions, but few entrepreneurs have transformed the way the world does business online like Elon Musk and Lou Montulli. Elon Musk kick-started global ecommerce trust with Paypal In the world of ecommerce, you could have the greatest payment system in the world but unless people trust it, they're not going to use it. People expect online merchants to use the best methods to keep their personal information safe and protected from data breaches, like the one Target experienced in 2013 that affected...

  • How to get more out of the local startup ecosystem

    Creating a startup is one of the hardest things that anyone can undertake and finding support used to be a daunting task. However, that has changed over the past few years with more and more resources cropping up for entrepreneurs. During the recent Techstars-4-A-Day event, which was held at the Rise hub in Cape Town, four panellists spoke about the local ecosystem and how entrepreneurs can leverage information from it. Barclays Rise and its focus on fintech The ecosystem manager for Barclays Rise in Africa, Camilla Swart, opened with a few words about the organisation as well as what it looks to...

  • 6 tips from SA startup pros on raising funding

    Funding your startup is one of, if not the most crucial part of creating the company. While bootstrapping may be ideal for a number of entrepreneurs, it isn't always possible, meaning they will need to raise money from VCs or Angels in order to get things off the ground. Like anything related to humans, it's possible for entrepreneurs to jepordise their chances of actually raising funding. At the recent Techstars-4-A-Day event, which was held at the Rise hub in Cape Town, Alexandra 'Alex' Fraser (Silicon Cape) and one of the founders of Yoco, Carl Wazen, gave the audience some tips...

  • Jumo’s Johan Bosini: 8 rules on growing a startup [update]

    "Fintech isn't about tech at all. It's about data." These words were spoken by Johan Bosini at the recent Techstars-4-A-Day event, which was held at the Rise hub in Cape Town. Bosini is no stranger to the startup scene and is currently involved with VC firm Quona Capital, as well as Switch2 Cover and Taking a Break. He's most well known for his role in fintech startup Jumo as the managing director of digital financial services. Before digging into his eight points, Bosini gave a small anecdote about Jumo in its infancy (which initially started out as another company called AFB). "Jumo was an 'accident'," he said (having...

  • Silicon Valley is no longer the biggest startup game say these investors

    Tech has stolen the market cap crown from the oil tycoons. This change is perfectly natural according to a panel of regional experts last month at Innovation Weekend in Tokyo, but the Silicon Valley kingdom is also teetering on being overthrown. "The day of America as the single IT leader is over," writes founding partner Takeshi Ebihara of Rebright Partners on his blog. Citing PricewaterhouseCoopers’ MoneyTree report, Takeshi emphasises that the amount of funding for startups in China grew eightfold in just two years to US$37 billion in 2015. That’s less than US$59 billion in the same period for the US....

  • 3 interesting things we learned from David Campey, Roger Norton

    Ventureburn had the opportunity to attend the first Startup Grind Cape Town event of 2017, which featured David Campey and Roger Norton. The pair are co-founders of Lean Iterator, which is an organisation that supports startups. We sifted through everything and found the three most interesting points from the pair. What is a startup? The master of ceremonies, Guillaume De Smedt, asked the pair how to define a startup. Norton started off by quoting serial entrepreneur Steve Blank: "A startup is a temporary organisation used to search for a repeatable and scalable business model." Campey summarised this by saying that it "can be building tech...