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Startups

  • Candystick: this new SA startup wants to help you crowdfund gifts, occassions

    Let's say you're getting married and that you've asked your guests for money so that you can buy something big. They could bring cash, but that's not safe or they could transfer the money into your bank account, but then it doesn't feel like much of a gift. A new South African startup called Candystick is aiming to fix that. Candystick's primary product is called Candybox, which the company describes as an "online money box where your friends, family, colleagues or anyone else can contribute towards an occasion or a group gift". According to the company, the service can be...

  • Small business does not mean startup

    Every business needs to start somewhere and at some point it will be small. Does this mean that all small business are startups? No! The phrase startup has become very trendy and is heavily overused. With governments and incubators touting startup support services and growing the number of startups. Everyone seems to think that any early-stage business is a startup, which, in my opinion is very misleading. Most of the time what they’re talking about is a business starting up. Let me clarify. A startup -- in the sexy trendy sense -- is a small business with high-growth potential. They’re highly...

  • Rise of the consumer — is South Africa’s Private Shopper in the pound seat?

    Taking your business else-where can have some negative connotations, unless of course you are talking about taking it online, in which case you are possibly going to make a whole lot of money these days. That's especially true for some of the world's online shops. Ecommerce is making a big entrance all around the world. If you didn't know this, meet Instacart, a brand that has a style that resembles a stiff cocktail of companies, combining the convenience and flexibility of Uber, with a splash of Amazon and a hint of entrepreneurial intuition to make it a long island on-demand ice...

  • Stockbox is your subscription delivery site for household essentials

    In the South African market we constantly see the rise and fall of different online shopping ventures. Some of these businesses use proven cookie-cutter methods of trying to replicate the success of others, while a select few take a more unique approach. Stockbox focuses on the latter approach by trying not just a standard click-to-buy model, but a service as well. Founded by Ryan Egnos, Stefano Sessa and Donovan Schönknecht, Stockbox is the new kid on the block, having only launched a few weeks prior. Since then, several design changes have been implemented, new functionality added, and it is all the more better...

  • CustosTech wants to curb movie piracy using bitcoin

    Founders of CustosTech: Frederick Lutz, Gert-Jan van Rooyen, Herman EngelbrechtIn January last year an illegal copy of the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, was making its rounds on the internet. The situation became quite awkward as the early release copy was traced back to popular TV show host Ellen DeGeneres, and had her name written all over it. Literally, as her name was watermarked onto one of the exclusive copies so that people could find the origin of the leak. The story reflects a pressing time in the movie industry when most producers -- of digital movies, music,...

  • WooThemes’ Mark Forrester on how an SA startup sprouted a global success story

    Last week we witnessed one of South Africa's greatest success stories to date. A local tech company was acquired by Automattic, which is the brain company behind one of the world's most popular website builders, WordPress.org, founded by 31-year-old American entrepreneur Matt Mullenweg. While the startup scene was abuzz with lessons and opinions on the matter, Ventureburn decided to sit down with Mark Forrester (pictured above) to find out how a local startup managed to become a global success story. Founded in 2007 by Norwegian computer scientist Magnus Jepson, South African's Mark Forrester and former business partner Adii Pienaar, WooThemes has not only...

  • Here’s all you need to know about WeChat’s new on-demand courier startup Picup

    At the Picup launch last night, WeChat wanted the guest to walk home knowing three things: that Picup is going to revolutionarise the on-demand delivery space; it's a services that creates jobs; and that WeChat is not just an instant messaging app. Talking to the drivers, creating jobs appears to be something that Picup is already succeeding at. In an Uber-like fashion, the revenue split is 70% for the driver and 30% for Picup. This is great news for the local economy and also the tech space, as contributions from the tech industry to the economy could help attract...

  • Does the future of instant messaging apps lie in bulk?

    The instant messaging space is a tough nut to crack. Add a couple feature and it becomes cluttered and the users become uncomfortable. Remove a feature and the product risks falling behind the pack. Just ask Mxit, which has gone from being Africa's largest mobile social network with 27-million registered users in 2010 to dwindling numbers suspected of being less than 1 million. Instant messaging phenomena WhatsApp, on the other side of the spectrum, has achieved international success in just six years after after which it boasted 800 million active users around the globe and got bought out by Facebook...

  • Q&A with MoboFree CEO on Africa’s fast-growing mobile marketplace

    MoboFree is an African-based mobile marketplace with a social twist that allows people to buy, sell and swap products with each other. The goal for the startup-turned-growth-company is to position itself as Africa’s leading mobile scam-free marketplace while striving to favourably compete with a much richer OLX. I sat with the CEO and co-founder of MoboFree, Cristobal Alonso in Lagos, Nigeria. We spoke on matters arising including the present and future of MoboFree -- plus the difficult task of getting eight out 10 Africans to know what MoboFree is really all about. Ventureburn: What is the current status of MoboFree’s operations...

  • InstaLens: How SA’s Instagram acolyte is capturing global success

    Instagram is well known for its dedicated communities -- especially in cities such as Cape Town where designers, both local and tourists, take advantage of the popular photography app. From Saturday brunches at The Old Biscuit Mill to sundowners in the Winelands, you'll find the hashtags #CapeTown or #CT constantly trending locally, especially at dusk. Not only have these communities inspired amateur smartphone photographers to become popular online influencers, they've enabled companies like InstaLens to launch into international markets by selling its sleek, universal smartphone camera lenses to smartphone photographers around the globe. Today -- only 10 months after it started...