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Startups

  • 5 clever growth hacking techniques to inspire your startup

    "The growth hacker is the new VP of Marketing. Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of ‘How do I get customers for my product’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. On top of this, they layer the discipline of direct marketing, with its emphasis on quantitative measurement, scenario modelling via spreadsheets, and a lot of database queries. If a startup is a pre-product/market fit, growth hackers can make sure virality is embedded at the core of a product. After product/market fit,...

  • CitiDoc: an exciting platform for doctors, now they just need to use it

    Choosing a healthcare provider can be a tough call. It is always advised to learn about a doctor first before jumping into this, the most delicate of relationships. The main port of call for many a would-be-patient is going on the recommendation of an already trusted doctor or a friend (of a friend) - after all, everyone always has the best doctor or specialist that you "just have to see, no really, he's excellent". Subsequently, the last route people generally seek out is medical directories or ratings sites, especially in less internet-prevalent places such as South Africa, where I would argue that traditional directories...

  • Why (almost) every startup should be working from home

    Marissa Mayer may have decided that working from home doesn’t work anymore for Yahoo, but that doesn’t mean that working from home isn’t the best option out there for some tech companies. And for startups it seems like a no-brainer. Here’s why: No rent, no utilities. This is big, obvious reason that everyone should already know: if your team works from home, you don’t have to rent office space or pay for anything like heat, internet connections, electricity, phone lines, or anything else like that. There’s a big expense that just vanished from your budget. Poof! Good home workers are self-starters,...

  • Dear Asia, please stop trying to be Silicon Valley and do your own thing

    One of my favourite jokes about Silicon Valley goes like this: A million guys walk into a Silicon Valley bar. None of them buy anything. The bar is declared a rousing success. It underlines an unbounded enthusiasm that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. And yet, this hasn’t stopped cities like Beijing, Bangalore, Singapore, Shenzhen, Daejeon, and even Ho Chi Minh city, being touted as the next Silicon Valley. People think that if you’ve got a bunch of tech companies all in one place you can call it a Silicon Valley. But the fact is, people don’t tell these kinds of jokes...

  • Why is talking about money in SA’s startup scene a no-no?

    Trying to get an investment amount out of a startup in South Africa is nearly impossible. I used to think that it's because the amounts are so little that the startups are a tad embarrassed to state publicly that, truth be told, their companies aren't really worth that much. But that cannot be the case. We know of companies that have received hundreds of millions in funding, but choose not to make the figures public. Why? Surely this cannot be a case of culture, where we are too polite to talk about money because it's seen as a taboo subject. If...

  • African mobile startups – a call to arms: G-Startup applications open

    Startup culture in emerging markets is thriving. In Africa, for example, there is no shortage of innovation nor entrepreneurship despite missing one of the key components most startups desperately need: funding. Sure it is an emerging space, but an investment ceiling (of around R5-million) poses a huge challenge for African startups, especially in the growth phase. One viable option is to take a company overseas in the hopes of obtaining foreign investment, but this often requires a lot of legwork, money and convincing, and results in a lot of rejection. Only the thick-skinned need apply. If that sounds like too much for...

  • Beginner investor? Here are 7 things to consider before funding a startup

    I have been dispensing a fair amount of startup advice of late, mostly picked up from hanging around some pretty hardcore venture capitalists (VCs). This time I thought we could look at a little something for the not-so-seasoned investors out there. So, if you've got some spare cash lying around, you might fancy yourself an investor. You've heard a few startups pitch and you're pretty sure that they are going revolutionise mobile/social/the web as we know it. You have the money and they have the killer power point so it is a marriage made in startup heaven. That's great, but...

  • Now Novel – the easy, social way to write a book… for a price

    If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, to bring that masterpiece in the back of your mind to life, there are a few services that you can enlist to help you out. Other than the real world assistants of editors, university writing courses, self-publishing et al. there are also a number of digital and online aids out there. Writing applications such as Celtx and Scrivener provide full services, while online education options are a dime a dozen promising to make you an enthralling writer… "in just ten weeks!" And while no one option is the holy grail of writing utilities,...

  • 500 startups sees Silicon Valley in Brazil

    Startup accelerator 500 Startups is serious about growing its presence in emerging markets. According to the accelerator, "big things are happening" in the South American country, which is why the programme has "been so passionate about supporting Brazilian startups and entrepreneurs". In a recent post on its site, 500 Startups noted that Brazil's mobile landscape is worth paying attention to saying that it is "seeing Silicon Valley in Brazil". "Mobile's massive as well, with more than 1.4 phones per person, with 22-million of those being smartphones," says the post. "And these numbers are going up faster every year." 500 Startups was...

  • 8 Red Hot Chili startup lessons

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) may be one of the most celebrated rock groups of the '90s and early 21st century, but their journey to success shares a Parallel Universe with that of a typical startup company. Initial enthusiasm was followed by a lack of traction as they struggled through the late ‘80s confronting tragedy, personnel changes and false starts. But through experimentation they fostered creativity and progress because they don’t fear failure. This energy lead to a uniquely recognizable brand of funk, pop and rock that turned into commercial success. Some valuable startup lessons are woven into the...