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  • WooCommerce introduces Bookings: a novel way to trade your time online

    WooThemes changed the ecommerce game today by releasing the first ever comprehensive online booking tool for users of its most popular plugin, WooCommerce. The extension will allow online business enthusiasts to trade their time for cash money, set up appointments, connect with clients, link dependent resources, and integrate their services with their website. WooCommerce is well established as the leading ecommerce solution for WordPress users. Over 12% of shopping conducted online today is done through the WooCommerce plugin, accounting for a whopping 260 000 websites worldwide. Since the launch of WooCommerce in 2011, WooThemes has pioneered ecommerce in the WordPress sphere,...

  • Brilliant solutions to localised problems: 4 health innovations in Africa

    Development in Africa has had a long history of Western influence and subsequent failure. The deployment of Western strategies has been especially problematic in the health sector. In the later part of the 90s, health initiatives were implemented throughout the continent to combat the spread of HIV. Unfortunately, many of the approaches used were based on programmes that had garnered success in North American cities with vastly different populations and infrastructure from the African countries they were doled out in. Even more problematic was the universality with which the programmes were unleashed, illuminating the flawed conceptualisation of Africa as...

  • Beauty boxes: how the subscription startup trend unravelled in Asia

    Subscription services were supposed to be the next big thing in ecommerce. The concept, in which consumers pay a monthly fee in order to have products delivered to their home, was elegant and easy to understand. For wannabe entrepreneurs, it offered the promise of guaranteed recurring revenue and a treasure trove of customer data. Consumers, meanwhile, could benefit from its convenience and the element of surprise, since they can opt to have the service decide which products they’d receive. Last year, the number of beauty box companies, a variant of subscription ecommerce focusing on cosmetics products, exploded in Asia. Estimates...

  • The value of building a business with an exit in mind

    It is easier to invest in private companies than it is to unlock value from these investments. While the venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) investment space is gaining more and more momentum in Africa, the process of exiting these investments remains a challenge. What many investors and entrepreneurs don’t realise is that positioning a business for a successful exit already starts in the due diligence process -- even before investment. Exit strategies will most likely influence the investment term sheet and govern the relationship between the entrepreneur and investor. It is therefore critical to align interests between them. Exit...

  • New opinion network launches in SA just in time for the elections

    State, a new global opinion network that links individuals based on their point of view, is making a major push into South Africa ahead of the May 7th elections. The London-based company was founded by brothers Mark Asseily and Alex Asseily. Alex Asseily is also the founder of mobile lifestyle company Jawbone. According to the company, the idea for a global opinion network like this is to give a powerful voice to everyone rather than a few. "Often only the most popular, least tolerant or loudest get heard," says the company. This is why the network says it was important to make...

  • Onyx showcases its ground-breaking Glass tech at big international vending event

    South African display technology startup, Onyx Display Media, is off to Italy to showcase its display Glass solution at Venditalia, an international vending trade show. Onyx describes its glass solution as a "revolutionary patent pending solution, that may be retro-fitted to any cooler, horizontal freezer, and it may even stand completely alone – not depending on either". The glass allows for a host of static and interactive content to be display in HD. According to the company is has "developed specialised proprietary software that allows for this to be achieved, and managed from a central point -- to anywhere...

  • 36hrs: the social travel itinerary platform for jet-setters the world over

    36hrs seems like a mash-up between Pinterest, Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor. Launched in beta in April this year, the startup has created a platform that collects, categorises and shares interesting spots in different cities across the globe. But it differentiates itself from its popular counterparts mentioned above by focusing on being more social, as well as providing unique, locally curated information. 36hrs is therefore more than a network of avid travellers and travel bloggers. It allows anyone to create their own mini-city guide. These guides don't only rely on written shared experiences -- users also use photos and Google Maps...

  • Want some funding? Net Prophet is looking for startups

    Popular Cape Town conference Net Prophet is back for another year. According to the organisers, this year's event is "gearing up to be better than ever". A big move for the event this year is its startup workshop, Spark up, which the organisers say "is coming into its own". The three day workshop runs for free over the weekend of 16 - 18 May ahead of Net Prophet. According to Net Prophet, it will be facilitated "by a range of seasoned experts, coaches and mentors". The idea is the take startups through all the elements that they will need to...

  • Trading Hours aims to let you know when your favourite stores are actually open

    How many times have you bust a gut trying to get to your favourite store, only to find that it's been closed for at least an hour? Or have you ever assumed that the restaurant you've heard so much about would be closed only to see pictures of people having an amazing time there a few hours later? You could, of course, look it up online (although there's no guarantee that it'll be there), or you could use a new service called Trading Hours. The service, which aims to simplify things by giving people a platform to easily access...

  • Built in Africa: RLabs is using tech to restore our faith in humanity

    Built in Africa focuses on entrepreneurs, startups and technologies that hail from the continent and empower its citizens. Social entrepreneurship is becoming a key point of development for African entrepreneurs. In this, our sixth instalment of our “Built in Africa” series, we feature Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs), a South African-based social entrepreneurship project aimed at bringing hope through technology education. RLabs is a global community-based movement and registered social enterprise that provides innovative solutions to address various societal problems in troubled communities facing issues such as drugs and gang violence. RLabs essentially hopes to train people within such communities to find...