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  • #RhodesHasFallen: 10 startup mistakes South African statues made

    #RhodesHasFallen at University of Cape Town and the graffiti is on the wall for many other South African statues as we struggle to contextualise the past and define a shared future as a nation. Other recently defaced statues include Paul Kruger in Pretoria, King George in Durban, Louis Botha in Cape Town, Mahatma Gandhi in Johannesburg and Queen Victoria in Port Elizabeth. If some local statues were startup entrepreneurs, here are the 10 mistakes they made that could have prompted their downfall… 1. Single Founder As a single founder you walk a lonely road without a constant sounding board to test...

  • Company Office

    Securing the right investor for every stage of your business

    So you’ve nailed down the big idea, you’ve got the inspiration, and you’ve laid out a savvy business plan - now all you need is the right investor (or investors) to get your startup off the ground. For many new entrepreneurs, this is the hardest part (so far)…it usually requires pitching your idea (and essentially, pitching yourself), to family and friends, and as the business grows, to angel/seed investors and venture capitalists. It requires asking people to place their money and trust in you and your ability to make something out of nothing. For even the most self-assured among...

  • Stellenbosch’s LaunchLab Pitching Den kicks off this week

    It's that time of the year again. Stellenbosch, South African-based LaunchLab is announcing its bi-annual Pitching Den which will be taking place at university campuses around the Western Cape. Taking place at Stellenbosch University (SU), University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Cape Town (UCT), the pitching competition is open to all budding entrepreneurs. This means that both students and non-students have a chance to win their share of R50 000. Similar to last year's Pitching Den, chosen entrepreneurs also stand a chance of securing seed funding and incubation support. "We want to create opportunities that expose bright entrepreneurial...

  • How innovative entrepreneurs can help solve poverty

    The world has made great progress in reducing poverty, but with an increasing number of people moving to cities, more help is needed to solve health, education and crime problems. It's here that entrepreneurs can help. Whether they be from poor communities themselves, or from well-off suburbs, entrepreneurs should be urged to get stuck in with finding solutions. With the increased focus on social entrepreneurship, programmes and interventions abound. Increasingly better access to the internet in poorer areas has also levelled the playing fields (it's how a 24-year-old in an Indian slum is able to make US$1 600 a month selling...

  • From fire detectors to SMS fundraisers: meet Africa’s top 10 innovators of 2015

    The African Innovation Foundation has just named the continent's top 10 entrepreneurs through its annual Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). After receiving 925 applications from over 41 countries, the organisation has decided on inspiring initiatives that focus on diverse industries from agriculture, to education and e-health. Four of the finalists hail from South Africa while Kenya follows with two of its own representatives. The awards ceremony will be held on 12 and 13 May in Skhirat, Morocco where the finalists will stand a chance of winning their share of US$150 000. “We have a strong commitment with AIF to unlock the innovation...

  • Zellyco: how a 55-year-old Joburger used Facebook to launch an ecommerce play

    With the merger of South Africa's two online retail behemoths (takealot and Kalahari) and the evolution of some of the most successful local brands -- Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Mr Price - to focus on their internet sales and logistics, our country is a veritable hotbed for e-store activity. From niche players to established brands, backed by corporate Randelas, ecommerce is one of the most exciting spaces and a fantastic horse to back for the course of 2015 and beyond, especially in South Africa as internet penetration surpasses the 50% mark. Read more: Takealot-Kalahari merger gets the official...

  • 5 project management methods you can use to get the most out of your startup team

    Many associate startup with spontaneity and a can-do attitude, but not as much with project management. This is not terribly surprising. With the overwhelming burden of starting a business and all of the costs and decisions that go into it, project management can often fall to the bottom of the list. However, entrepreneurs embarking on a new business adventure should take time to explore the benefits of this resource to monitor and maintain their team’s productivity. There are many uncertainties surrounding startups, and the only sure thing is often a lack of time and money. A startup can be a...

  • SnapScan rolls out ‘frictionless’ payment feature called SnapBeacons

    South African payments startup SnapScan is today announcing its first major update since its QR code payments feature was popularised in 2013. The new payment channel, called SnapBeacons, is meant to provide users a frictionless alternative solution to pay for stuff. Instead of just being able to pay by scanning a QR code, SnapScan customers can now simply tap a button in the app to initiate the transaction via Bluetooth. A message on the customer’s phone will alert them when the option is available. "The key difference is essentially the ability to provide even more convenience and speed to improve the...

  • Uber continues to adapt, launches rickshaw on-demand feature in India

    Uber has just announced another India-first: UberAuto. Uber app users in Delhi, India’s capital city, can now hail auto rickshaws within the app and pay for the ride in cash. For now, UberAuto is a cash-only-service, and this too is an India-first – in no other country does Uber enable cash payments. Uber has thus come a long way since its arrival in India with luxury sedans, UberBlack. Compact cars followed with UberX, and then hatchbacks with UberGo. Now we have three-wheelers in UberAuto, as the US-based company adapts to India’s value-conscious mass market. Uber’s homegrown rival Ola, which just raised...

  • 5 lessons African startups can learn from Nigeria’s president-elect

    It’s no longer news that Nigeria has a new President-elect, what is however new is the fact that he is actually the first person in the history of the country’s democracy -- and since independence -- to defeat an incumbent president. Even though he is more than 70 years old, his emergence as Nigeria’s new president from 29 May is filled with numerous lessons for startups in Nigeria, other parts of Africa and perhaps globally. 1. Giving up is not an option Abraham Lincoln used to be the poster politician for doggedness and not giving up. With the emergence of President...

  • What can we expect from this year’s Sparkup Live weekend accelerator?

    Last year's Sparkup Live was a blast. Seven saucy startups partook in Net Prophet's live pitching event where we saw some promising ones like 8bit and Ekaya sway prominent investors' wallets, collectively raising R800 000 and a lot of exposure, which is priceless, really. The weekend accelerator -- which will run from 8 May to 10 May -- will host a total of 15 startups which will undergo mentorship to help make them investor ready for the final pitching event 11 May. Organiser of the event Tracy Gander says that the live investment event is a much-needed added bonus to...