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Startup news

  • Watch these proposed laws! They will affect your startup

    The younger your company, the easier it can be to adapt to new laws. It’s a fact that the business environment makes a huge difference to whether or not entrepreneurs succeed. Here in South Africa a number of proposals, also known as bills, are being discussed by government for passing by the National Parliament and final approval by President Jacob Zuma. It’s best to foresee what these proposed laws will require – and what you can do to secure your business against their effects. Here are three you should watch before making your next move. IP Act: The act,...

  • Will computer-generated narratives make journalists redundant?

    There’s been an undercurrent of paradox kicking up dust in my otherwise clinical views on technology. I've tried to suppress it, but it keeps bubbling to the surface. I consider myself not only pro-technology, but obsessed with it, and someone who is neither afraid of the future nor the technology that it will bring. When I first read about Stats Monkey a software project lead by Stuart Frankel - a former DoubleClick executive - and Kris Hammond - a Northwestern University computer science professor - that could automatically create sports stories based solely on raw game data, I had a...

  • Hipster: ‘Something cool is coming soon’ to a city near you

    People all around the "twitterverse" have been bragging about signing up for an exclusive invite to a site that does... well, hmn.... what it does is still unknown. But the site in question, Hipster, is a placeholder that has been generating some serious online buzz. Click onto the site and all you get is a beautiful picture of a city (if you are in the United States, your city specifically). You are welcomed by the rather cryptic message "Something cool is coming", then you are required to enter your email address to get the exclusive invite to this alleged...

  • eCommerce startup SnapBill launches to a global audience

    SnapBill, a South African startup specialising in online invoicing and billing systems, launched out of beta on Tuesday to a global audience. The company facilitates online billing systems for businesses requiring automated recurring or subscription billing and payment collection. Its international competitors include the well-known Freshbooks, Invoicera, BlinkSale, BallPark, Invoice Machine -- and to some extent services like Chargify, Recurly, Spreedly and CheddarGetter. The self-funded venture, developed by entrepreneurs Josh Yudaken and Jaco van Wyk using the profits from their web hosting company Lusion Technologies, claims to have acquired "over 1 000 active South African SME and enterprise users, some...

  • Ad network startup secures R15m VC funding for int’l expansion

    Cape Town-based online and mobile advertising network Ad Dynamo has announced a second round of funding via venture capital firm Invenfin, the Remgro Group's investment arm. Its CEO, Sean Riley, says the capital will be used to fund Ad Dynamo’s "international expansion programme into key foreign territories". Riley refused to discuss the funding amount but an insider close to the deal told Memeburn that the investment is in "the R15-million region". The source claimed the new VC tranche would value the company at between US$8-10-million. Riley famously took Google South Africa to the Competition Commission in 2008 in a...

  • Prominent SA startup FireID hits the skids

    FireID, a Stellenbosch-based startup specialising in mobile authentication, will probably be forced to close its doors or dramatically downscale after news that its main investor has pulled its funding. The main source of funding was via the Luxembourg-based Reinet Fund S.C.A., run by billionaire Johann Rupert, who invested in the company through Cape Town VC 4DiCapital. The company employs just under 40 people. Justin Stanford, who runs 4DiCapital, told Memeburn on Wednesday night that Reinet's refusal to renew the funding "came as a surprise". "It's been an emotional day... We were confident of a renewal due to FireID's revenue," he said. Stanford...

  • Groupon moves into South Africa, India, Israel via new acquisitions

    Groupon, the famous collective online buying phenomenon, has announced the launch of Groupon India, Groupon Israel and Groupon South Africa via acquisitions of similar daily-deal sites in those countries, namely SoSasta, Grouper, and Twangoo. Using the principles of collective buying, Groupon negotiates discounts with businesses and shares them with subscribers via free daily emails. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy, encouraging subscribers to share...

  • Mobilitate: A social media platform that takes on government

    Social media has become the proverbial soap-box for causes, issues and many things that need a voice. Social media campaigns spear-headed by individuals often lose momentum because they fail to mobilise people. The power of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogs lie in the fact that they empower individuals to publish, influence and make a cause known. But that's the ideal world. The reality is that the impact most individuals can make on a regular basis is limited, fragmented and not coordinated. Enter Mobilitate -- a platform that allows an individual to coordinate a response using various social media tools to...

  • TrustFabric: One startup’s solution to call centre hell

    Pretty much everyone hates calling a call centre. They keep you on hold perpetually and when you finally get past the annoying repetition of bad eighties music and speak to a human being they have no idea how to help. So begins the "departmental bounce" and after you run the gauntlet of incompetence, running up a colossal phone bill, the call is ended without any real help being delivered. The days of the call centre gauntlet are apparently over according to a new Cape Town-based startup TrustFabric.com. The company claims to offer a service to individuals and businesses to...

  • Kenyan startups jump on the ‘Groupon’ bandwagon

    Groupon has been a massive success in the United States. It’s a deal-of-the-day site, with projected revenue of US$500m in just it’s second year of operations. It uses the framework of "collective buying", which means that if enough people sign up for a particular deal, then it’s on. If not enough people sign up, then the deal is off and everyone walks away. Revenue is shared per deal, which means that Groupon only wins if the company doing the deal wins. Of course, this framework has caught the attention of savvy business people in Africa. Rupu Rupu is a similar site...