Mobile apps, News

WeChat to launch on-demand delivery service Picup this week

PicUp It was 16 April 2015 that Picup -- WeChat Africa’s on-demand goods collection and delivery service -- was meant to be launched. It wasn't clear why it got postponed but the launch is to take place 28 May. The service is intended to disrupt South Africa's logistics market. Popular mobile social network WeChat Africa says that Picup will remove the hassle and admin involved with traditional courier services by offering a hassle-free approach to logistics and deliver whenever and wherever. The ...

Africa, News, Venture capital

Nigerian accommodation booking site just raised $1.2m

Hotelsng Nigerian accommodation booking site has just raised US$1.2-million in funding from global firms Omidyar Group and EchoVC, TechCabal reports. Founded by Mark Essien in 2012, today is said to have over 7 000 hotel listings and claims to be the largest online service of its kind in West Africa. While company has been turning profit ever since late 2014, the investment comes at a time when Germany’s Rocket Internet-backed competitor Jovago is hot on its tail, keen to take over ...

Mobile apps, Startups

Does the future of instant messaging apps lie in bulk?

phones The instant messaging space is a tough nut to crack. Add a couple feature and it becomes cluttered and the users become uncomfortable. Remove a feature and the product risks falling behind the pack. Just ask Mxit, which has gone from being Africa's largest mobile social network with 27-million registered users in 2010 to dwindling numbers suspected of being less than 1 million. Instant messaging phenomena WhatsApp, on the other side of the spectrum, has achieved international success in just six ...

Entrepreneurship, Innovation

Innovation is key to support all SMEs in South Africa

Innovation Is it better to help the tens of thousands of struggling informal-sector firms or a few promising entrepreneurs with ideas that could grow to become win-big businesses? The Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu's budget speech delivered yesterday focused almost wholly on the first kind. But will this help South Africa to create the millions of jobs it badly needs? Likely not. From a political point of view, it’s often more attractive to support struggling informal-sector firms, than to support a ...

Entrepreneurship, Startup news

Startup competition Seedstars World 2015 to kick-off in Mozambique

seedstars-world Seedstars World is a global competition for startups, which aims to find smart startups that solve regional issues, or develop profitable products for global markets. The competition's third incarnation kicks-off this may and will be taking place 26 May in Maputo, Mozambique. The seven-month event will be taking place in 12 different countries around Africa, which are Mozambique, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Botswana. Once the regional winners have been selected, the final will take place in ...


5 big lessons SA startups can learn from the Automattic WooThemes acquisition

WooThemes Ninja This week the entire South African startup community is rightfully celebrating the acquisition of WooThemes. One of our own has been acquired, and by WordPress to boot! This is a wonderful outcome of what must have been, undoubtedly, eight years of blood, sweat and tears. Yet why has WooThemes succeeded where so many other passionate, hard-working local entrepreneurs have failed? Luck, to some extent, probably. But they also seem to have avoided some of the traps many of us (myself included) ...


5 simple ways to create an online business map for your startup

business mapping You’ve got a great business model. You’re offering the kind of product or service people will absolutely love and, more importantly, pay money to receive. You know how to practice outstanding customer service. You’re ready to make some money. And yet, all of that won’t matter if customers can’t find your place of business. The simple fact of the matter for brick-and-mortar stores is that if people can’t find your location, they’ll just go out of their way to visit one ...

Startup news

Ignitor wants to help create lean startups

ignitor-logo Many startups focus on obtaining funding as soon as possible instead of trying to make their idea work first. Ignitor, a Johannesburg-based company, is aimed at helping startups see this isn't always the correct path. More specifically, Ignitor is focused on helping entrepreneurs create a lean and break-even business. As a free course funded by sponsors, such as Standard Bank, Microsoft, and The Green Fund, Ignitor offers entrepreneurs -- what they call -- a new model in company development. The program ...


Today’s your last chance to enter the Ventureburn Startup Survey and win guaranteed prizes

Article header NEW If you haven't completed the Ventureburn Startup Survey 2015, then you'd better get a move on. The survey, which comes with a guaranteed startup goodie bag and a chance at some very big prizes, closes at 4PM today. Since its launch in April, hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors and startup employees have completed the survey. Presented in partnership with First National Bank (FNB), investment advisory firm Clifftop Colony, and data gathering and analytics company Qurio, the survey aims to uncover the ...


Why Automattic’s WooThemes acquisition is so important to South Africa’s startup space

WooThemses WordPress but The acquisition of WordPress theme developer WooThemes, along with its signature ecommerce product WooCommerce, by holding company Automattic is massively important to the South African startup space. At US$30-million, it's a massive exit (although not the biggest in South African startup history). That's great for its founders and investors, but the acquisition is just another example of how the local scene is developing and also offers some valuable lessons for up-and-coming startups. Before we get into any of that ...