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Startups

  • How SA startup Outsourced CFO almost closed its doors 18 months in

    Louw Barnardt may today run a successful firm offering startups and companies outsourced accounting and financial management, but there was a time -- just 18 months into starting the firm with two former university friends -- that he almost had to close the business's doors. Barnardt (pictured above), a former chartered accountant (CA) turned entrepreneur, is the winner of the R70 000 Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year award in the 2018 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year awards held in September. Today he runs Cape Town based Outsourced CFO which provides about 80 local and international companies (80% of them tech or innovative firms) with...

  • Your pitch deck is your business story, but don’t let it baffle investors [Opinion]

    As an entrepreneur with a new startup, besides your sparkling personality and brilliant knowledge, one of the most important weapons you have in your armoury is your pitch deck. Your pitch deck is your business story, it’s differentiation, and communicates in a digestible, simple form what your business is. The technology and social media era is a complex, busy and distracted place and funders see thousands of pitch decks every month. That pitch deck finds a way to cut through the clutter, the noise, and adapt to tight time schedules to communicate who you are and what you do. A pitch deck...

  • The ins and outs of taking your startup offshore

    In the vast majority of cases, the real reason why clients hope to build their business offshore is to improve the future prospects of attracting investment, or selling the business. But when else is it a good idea for your startup to set up an office offshore? Here is the first in a series of articles on what it entails to set up an overseas office and the offshore structures available. There is a lot for business founders to get their heads around, and there is only so much time clients can spend (and pay for!) in legal consultations. So, I ask you to...

  • What Skinny Sbu saga tells us about backing black entrepreneurs [Opinion]

    Late last month, SA social media was briefly consumed with a TV interview in which entrepreneur Sibusiso Ngwenya asked for R5-million in funding. In the interview, the Skinny Sbu Socks founder (pictured above) detailed why his business has struggled, but also brushed off an offer of advice from Thulani Thabethe from 2Larnie Solutions. This is problematic. If we’re going to grow a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa, we need more Thulanis and entrepreneurs like Sibusiso to listen to them. Because if South Africa has entrepreneurs who are not only willing to take the leap of starting their own businesses, but can...

  • Pick a sector, add internet and your firm could be worth millions [Opinion]

    Given all the press, you would be forgiven for thinking that startups were have only become a thing in the last 20 years. The reality is that startups have existed in all shapes and forms since the beginning of time. Some fail and some are the big companies we know today. But it really is different this time. And the reason is because this new wave entrepreneurship is far bigger than ever before, and it’s been driven by the internet revolution. In the past it was unheard of that young university graduates would go on to create billion-dollar companies. It’s because of the...

  • 10 fintech apps to help you better manage your startup’s finances

    Your startup’s on fire! Now get the best fintech apps to help manage your company’s finance. Navigating the complexities of startup finances can be tough. In the beginning when there is little or no money, it’s not all that hard to do. But as you start scaling, the finance function becomes a beast – and a critical element of business success. We are fortunate to live in exciting times. New fintech apps make managing your numbers easier than ever before. Put the right things in place now to set you up for scale. These 10 fintech apps can help you do just that: 1. Xero...

  • Five agritech startups that aim to take Africa into greener pastures

    If Africa is to foster more efficient growth, agriculture technology (or agritech) is likely to have an increasing role to play. Already a number of startups across the continent are getting stuck in developing tech solutions to help boost the sector. The agriculture sector employs over two thirds of the work force and contributes over third of gross domestic product according to the World Bank, in a recent report (opens as a PDF). Here then are five agritech startups which already show some promise: AgroCenta Ghanaian agritech startup AgroCenta is an online sales platform started in 2015 by Michael Ocansey and Francis Obirikorang (pictured above). It connects smallholder farmers directly to an...

  • Time for startups to get over myth of the ‘one big idea’ and just get going [Opinion]

    One of the biggest excuses people give for not starting a business is that they don’t have that "big original idea" yet. There are a quadrillion startup ideas out there, but just a handful are converted into companies because most people stay paralysed in the ideation phase, and their business simply never happens. They eventually just become big talkers, with no action to back it up. Sometimes this is caused by fear of the unknown, a need to control the outcome, fear of failure, or fear of leaving that comfortable, addictive salary. Needing that “big idea” is the biggest misconception about starting...

  • Tech platforms can help us stay connected to our humanity [Opinion]

    One of the biggest fears around technology is that it robs us of human interactions. While that might not always feel like the worst thing (as anyone who’s used an app to order fast food after a big night out will attest), there’s a growing sense that tech is making us more isolated and lonely. It’s an easy conclusion to draw, especially if you look around at a restaurant and see how many families are hunched over their individual screens, with no one engaging in conversation. What this sentiment ignores, however, is the role technology can play in bringing people together,...

  • Why we invested in Augmentors game – Llew Claasen, Vinny Lingham [Updated]

    Assembling a team with the right skills has been a key challenge in the development of the Augmentors game, which claims to be the world’s first augmented reality blockchain-based mobile game, says Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur and investor Vinny Lingham. The game is set to launch this quarter, following a soft launch in August. "From an investment perspective, we have to make sure that we have the best team working on every project, so it was integral that we took our time to put together the dynamite team we have today," said Lingham, who together with Newtown Partners managing partner Llew Claasen is a key investor in the game. Augmentors initially pitched...