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Startups

  • Quicket: ticketing service claims lowest commission charges in industry

    We love Quicket, the ticketing service that allows you to sell tickets for your event and promote it online. Create an event page, promote it through social channels, and collect payment for tickets online. To round things off the solution also offers venue access control through rentable ticket barcode scanners. It does all this while charging a seriously low commission of 4.9% which it claims to be the lowest in the industry. According to a recent study conducted by World Wide Worx, commissioned by Google South Africa, the country's internet economy makes up R59-billion or 2% of South...

  • Entrepreneur diaries: lessons I learnt from building a mobile startup in Africa

    Editor's Note: Nicholas Haralambous was the co-founder of mobile social network builder Motribe, which was recently acquired by Mxit for an undisclosed sum. The company was started two years ago with Vincent Maher and was invested in by local venture capital company 4Di Capital. He also just started an environmentally friendly online sock shop. I have learned a lot in the past two years. Many of the lessons haven’t really even sunk in yet but I thought that I should start off by writing a list of things I’d learned while building my mobile company in South Africa. This list...

  • Your internet startup: Why it’s OK to clone a business

    "Creativity is just connecting things," said Steve Jobs in 1996 Wired interview. According to Mark Twain, all ideas are second-hand. Maria Popova, editor of Brain Pickings, and MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow, writes that creativity is a "combinatorial force", referring to the belief that ideas are products of collaboration. Her thoughts are echoed in Twain's writings, which dismisses the existence of the solitary creative genius: "the kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism". Like LEGO creations, ideas are made up of pre-existing...

  • The lean startup and the connected economy: trends to watch out for

    The rate of change is ever increasing. Consumers are adopting new technology faster than ever before and their behaviour and expectations are changing. As Per Sundin from Universal Music Sweden puts it, ‘Things have never moved this fast, and will never move this slowly again’. Businesses have to respond. And there are two trends emerging that will help companies do just that – the lean startup movement and the connected economy. Up until now the response has been a slow and measured one with businesses adopting a cautious approach to innovation trying to get things ‘as near to perfect as...

  • Lessons to learn from 5 promising (and failed) Chinese startups

    They say you learn more from failure than you do from success. And that appears to be the theory behind a new blog post from Sinobeat Capital managing partner and Fortune China columnist Ding Chenling. In his very long post in Chinese, Ding lays out the stories of 17 Chinese startups that ultimately failed, and breaks down the lessons learned. The whole thing is a bit too long for our purposes, but here are...

  • 8 questions you should ask yourself before pitching your startup

    So you've had the next big idea, or your startup's been going along quietly for a little while. Now you're ready to take it out into the big bad world. If you find yourself asking "Umm...what next?" you're not alone. If you're in an emerging market like South Africa, knowing what to do next is getting easier, but it's still not as easy as it might be in a more traditional market. Sure there are a growing number of angel investors, venture capitalists, incubators and accelerators, but if you want to get their interest you really have to stand...

  • MobiProps: clever mobile real estate service links online and offline worlds

    MobiProps is a mobile real estate service that makes effective use of short URLs, SMS and QR codes to drive prospective homebuyers to online property portfolios. For agents, the service offers a streamlined solution for marketing their property portfolio to the rapidly growing number of homebuyers and sellers using smartphones. The service launches today. MobiProps provides homebuyers with direct access to the property information, high resolution images, video clips, sharing and contact information of ‘for sale’ properties, formatted to fit the small screen of a smartphone. For agents, the service offers QR code and SMS technology to send a...

  • Social journal startup LifeCrumbs kills the noise, focuses on intimate sharing

    Ever think there's just too much noise on your social networks? LifeCrumbs is a new social journal that allows you to share memorable moments in your everyday life. It aims to minimise the hassle of all the social networks, presenting you with the most important events in a calendar format. Users can import posts, including the ones you write on your friends’ walls. The Taipei-based startup was the winning idea in an internal rocket pitch within the team back in May. It first came about when they were tired of filtering through content spread across different social networks, and envisioned...

  • Mimiboard: an African hyper-local ad network and social platform

    With Mimiboards, Umuntu Media is re-imagining the humble noticeboard. You can think of a Mimiboard (pronounced me-me board) as a geographically sensitive, virtual noticeboard. Just like their real world counterparts, Mimiboards are relevant to enclaves within larger communities -- some say "hyper-local". But, that's where the similarity solemnly ends. The fact that Umuntu Media, founded in 2009 by Johan Nel, received a US$1 million seed investment late last year, without any revenue to speak of, tells you that the Cape Town-based company is about more than just virtual noticeboards. Beneath the surface, Mimiboards form part of an ambitious publishing...

  • We’ve broken this startup thing

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how our ideals and idols are totally broken and that we needed to re-evaluate how we work on, and within online / digital / technology companies. So I was quite sad to see another idol admitting that same brokenness. I’m trying to figure out when and why it became so acceptable for us to: Leave the office at 7pm AND then go home to work some more. Not take any kind of non-working holiday. Work every single weekend. Compromise on every single aspect of our lives in favour of work. The thing is that this has really...