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Startups

  • Does iGrow Academy have what it takes to help educate the masses on a budget?

    The youth bears the brunt of South Africa's unemployment crises. Ranked third highest in the world, a 2014 report by the World Economic Forum reckons that more than 50% of young South Africans between 15 and 24 are unemployed. Founder of iGrow Academy Jared Koning estimates that one of the main reasons for this discrepancy is due to a disconnect between the primary and tertiary education sectors. The entrepreneur estimates that there are over 400 000 matrics each year of which 67% do not have the access to higher education. With its online learning platform, iGrow Academy aims to provide education...

  • AgriProtein: the company using flies, our waste to keep the planet from eating itself

    The fly makes the world go round. While many find these critters repulsive, they actually play a very important role in how we get our food we eat. For starters, by eating decaying materials, the fly helps speed up the nutrient cycling which helps generate richer soil for plants and vegetables. It's also a protein food for some animals -- a lot of which, people eat. As much as we might hate it, it's actually nature's filthy little farmer. The problem with nature is that it is slow. Way too slow for our overpopulated, capital-driven world of today. But if AgriProtein...

  • Q&A with Francesco Signoretti from lastminute.com group on emerging markets

    Feature photo: Seedstars Cape Town judges during a startup's pitch Francesco Signoretti is the CEO of lastminute.com group, a European leader in the online travel and leisure industry. The Group has an impressive portfolio of well-known brands such as lastminute.com, Bravofly, Rumbo, Volagratis and Jetcost, with websites and mobile apps in 15 languages across 35 countries. As an official partner of Seedstars World, lastminute.com group has agreed to power a Travel Investment Track that will award US$500 000 in equity investment to the best travel startup. Signoretti was with the Seedstars World team at the Cape Town event to help source...

  • Meet SenseVirtual: the dedicated VR startup shaping frontiers in Africa

    On the back of the popular gaming show, E3, in Los Angeles last month, Virtual Reality (VR) is a really hot topic right now. Microsoft, Sony, HTC, and Valve are all backing the technology in different ways. And while it's still early days for the hardware, startups from around the globe are leaping at the opportunity, building immersive virtual experiences for customers and businesses alike. Ventureburn spoke to co-founder and co-CEO, Tyrone Rubin about SenseVirtual -- a Cape Town-based VR startup in South Africa and all its exciting applications. The idea of VR is what I love. I love the idea...

  • 7 renewable energy startups trying to revolutionise the way Africa keeps its lights on

    Africa has a serious energy problem. This is ironic considering the abundance of natural resources available, from coal in South Africa to oil in Nigeria. It just so happens that both of these powerful economies rely on limited, environmentally-unfriendly resources, struggling to keep up with economic growth. This might start to change. Earlier this year, billionaire futurist Elon Musk geared the world's attention on the real potential of renewable energy with the introduction of the Tesla Powerwall -- the battery set to revolutionise the way people use electricity grids around the globe. Musk believes that the Powerwall could not only become...

  • Ventureburn survey sheds light on SA’s tough, but pioneering startup industry

    Stuart Thomas, Matthew Buckland and Graham van der Made contributed to this article. Startup life isn't as glamorous as it’s sometimes made out to be, according to a new survey by Ventureburn. Employees and founders of startups are often paid below-market salaries, get close to zero benefits and are subject to high-pressure environments. Moreover, just 17% of startups are profitable, with only three percent of startups making it to the sought-after venture capital investment stages. But this begs the question: why is creating and working for startups an increasingly popular option? Although entrepreneurs will make it big if their startup succeeds,...

  • No surprise: funding the biggest hurdle for SA’s startups

    Over the past couple of years, there have been plenty of funding successes for the South African startup scene to celebrate. Just this year, WooThemes exited to WordPress holding company Automattic for a rumoured US$30-million and bike radar company iKubu was bought out by Garmin for an undisclosed sum of money. But within the context of the space as a whole, those big deals are few and far between. What about the smaller companies? Is there enough funding for them to survive and thrive in a country that isn't always seen as friendly toward small businesses? The results of the 2015 Ventureburn...

  • Running a lean startup? Here are 9 free tools that could help

    Some entrepreneurs don't have a choice when launching a lean or bootstrapped startup. They may struggle to find financing, but wish to still proceed with their business plan. Whatever the business, outfitting a company can be an expensive undertaking. Office tools can consist of applications, finance, website, and other items -- all of which will help you focus on working on your business model. These nine free online tools can help you achieve a slimmer startup and reduce initial costs. Some of them may require financial input once your usage expands, but most still give away a substantial amount of functionality. Office...

  • Why it’s so important for startups to nurture leaders from within

    One of the greatest challenges for a startup founder is growing the startup into an organisation that is far beyond his own strengths and limitations. It can be sometimes difficult to part with responsibility when what you’re responsible for, has become an integral part of you. That’s when you find you need to hand over responsibilities to people you trust and more importantly, people who can do what you do: lead. But to be able to identify leaders, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. There are qualities that are common to all leaders like communication, team...

  • Ampion Venture Bus: an NGO’s mission to drive impactful innovation in Africa

    There are various initiatives through which entrepreneurs can come together to ideate, develop, test and launch a product (and company) in Africa, but none of them sound as somehow crazy audacious as the impact driven non-profit, Ampion Venture Bus. Basically, participants are put on a bus which then travels through different countries, attending pitching events and building products as they go along. If you consider the bad roads and restrictive nature of a bus, you would think it is not the ideal way to facilitate innovation and ensuring overall efficiency, but co-founder of Ampion Jan Schafft thinks otherwise. He tells...