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Startups

  • 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...

  • 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...