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Startups

  • Five things I learnt from Jack Ma and why Africa’s tech future is bright

    Last November I was selected as one of 25 African entrepreneurs to join the eFounders Initiative Entrepreneurship Training Programme. The programme, titled "Shaping Champions for the New Economy", is an initiative by Alibaba founder Jack Ma and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). In the two-week programme the founders and top level executives at Alibaba shared the highlights of their 18-year history, discussing both their successes and failures and what it took to become the biggest retail company in the world. The absolute highlight was a lecture given by Jack Ma. Here are my five key learnings and takeaways and why...

  • 8 Gauteng startups to watch in 2018 [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. The 2017 Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey powered by Telkom Futuremakers found that though the Western Cape is still the most popular region in South Africa in which to run a tech startup, it's losing ground to the country's richest province -- Gauteng. In this piece we take a look at eight Gauteng-based startups to keep an eye on in 2018. Pineapple This insurtech startup in August last...

  • GoMetro wants to help firms generate millions from freeing up parking spaces

    Each day thousands of Cape Town commuters edge their way to work in a snake of traffic that winds beneath the slopes of Table Mountain into a crowded city centre. Many will end or begin their daily commute in a parking space for which they, together with their employers can easily pay well over a R1000 a month for. This got GoMetro founder and former civil engineer Justin Coetzee thinking. "Why does it (your car) stand there all day, taking up space and just like ruining the view, killing us with fumes, killing us with unsafe driving. I mean we're addicted to cars," he charges. Coetzee reckons however...

  • Here are the SA fintech startups to watch in 2018 [Opinion]

    Fintech continues to surprise with little to touch the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in 2017.  This will continue in 2018 and I make some predictions based on what we see happening globally and what we see taking place with our members at AlphaCode, a Rand Merchant Investments club for fintech startup entrepreneurs. Bitcoin At the end of 2016 I predicted that 2017 was going to be the year that the world would embrace bitcoin. I thought it would go mainstream but I had no idea how mainstream it would become. We have seen the bitcoin price increase from $1000 at the beginning...

  • 10 Defining moments that shaped the 2017 South African startup ecosystem

    2017 in South Africa is a very hard year to define… Most people are limping into 2018 battle-scar ridden and trying to figure out what the hell just happened?! Bitcoin highs and Steinhoff lows, neighbouring coup-non-coups, Rugby World Cup hosting woes and Western Cape dam levels scraping the bottom of the barrel along with GuptaBots, while Cyril is rising to the top. 'In 2017 South African entrepreneurs had a bumper year  -- leading the charge with innovation, job creation and growth' But adversity is the mother of invention… South African entrepreneurs had a bumper year  -- leading the charge with innovation, job...

  • Little fishing village in Morocco still Africa’s top digital nomad destination

    Looking for an African digital nomad destination to set up camp in for 2018? Why not try the sleepy fishing and surfing village of Taghazout in Morocco. The small town in country's south west is Africa's leading destination for digital nomads, according to Nomadlist.com, where travellers currently rank it 17 out of hundreds of destinations (in 2016 it reached as high as fifth place on the same ranking, according to CNN). Cape Town is not too far behind, at 45 -- ahead of such places as Palo Alto (51), Taipei (56) and Stockholm (60). Topping Nomadlist.com currently is Bangkok, Thailand followed by Ubud, Bali. Destinations that...

  • What startups should know about getting their story into the media [Opinion]

    It's the new year and you're thinking of getting some publicity. How do you go about getting your story into the media? First off -- to attract the eye of a journalist you need to have something worthwhile and interesting to say. You could think your startup might be the next best thing since sliced cheese, but this doesn't mean a journalist will find it interesting. Journalists are in large a cynical kind of people. They've seen it all before. Just another app to solve this or that or "to disrupt" this or other market, might not cut it. What they are looking for is...

  • 15 people in the SA tech startup ecosystem you should follow in 2018

    The new year is upon us. What better way to get started than to follow and connect with key decision makers in the SA tech scene. Here are 15 people -- from Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu to Silicon Valley based entrepreneur Vinny Lingham -- that you should follow to keep abreast on views and happenings in the SA tech startup ecosystem. Lindiwe Zulu (Small business minister): Zulu in her budget vote speech in May last year pledged that her department would put together a master plan to develop and grow the small business sector (see more here). The details have yet to...

  • Looking to get ahead SA startups? Apply for these accelerators in 2018

    What better way to start the new year than by signing up to one of the many accelerator programmes open to South African tech entrepreneurs? It's a great way to get some help, find new clients and tap seed funding -- all while gaining credibility in the market. In 2017, 19 accelerators tracked by Ventureburn helped over 1200 startups with $17-million in funding (see this story). Here are eight accelerators in 2018 that SA startups can apply for It's also a great idea to approach one of South Africa's leading corporates, many of which run their own support programmes or are on the look out for...

  • Rocket Internet to Spur incident, five of Ventureburn’s interesting reads of 2017

    It was a busy year again for Ventureburn -- with Bitcoin going crazy, Google opening an Africa accelerator, entrepreneurs coming forth with bizarre solutions to Cape Town's drought and Spur founder Allen Ambor telling how he didn't take nonsense from no one. Here then are five of Ventureburn's more interesting reads of 2017: Former Rocket Internet man tells how he cloned firms, from Cape Town to Bangkok (30 August): Cape Town born Tauriq Brown always wanted to be an international businessman. He may claim to be an entrepreneur. But the 28-year-old former Rocket Internet employee is just one of the hundreds employed by massive venture-builder companies to clone and...

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