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  • Are tech cities the real drivers behind entrepreneurship, innovation?

    Can purpose-built technology cities turn regions in emerging economies into the next Silicon Valley? This is what some may be asking after plans by Russia and now Kenya to boost their startup scenes through massive hub cities have recently come under fire. In December critics told the UK’s Guardian newspaper that Kenya’s Konza Techno City, a planned US$14-billion techno city, won’t solve financing problems facing the country’s rising tech scene. The city, which the Kenyan government believes can serve as a hub for the east African technology industries, aims to open in 2019 and employ 200 000 people. Critics say the city’s planned location is too far from...

  • Springleap’s new Creatives Insights platform helps brands expand to foreign markets

    As more and more foreign brands try to ride the growth that many African countries are experiencing, the more critical local insights about these complex markets become. The South African and New York-based design startup, Springleap, is announcing the launch of its Creatives Insights platform. This new offering enables clients to plug into its co-creation community for insights and feedback into any African or global country. Late last year the company secured over R4-million just before the company opened up its pan-African, Middle Eastern arm based in Johannesburg. Read more: SA crowdsource design startup Springleap secures R4m+ Angel round The Creative...

  • 5 Yuppiechef philosophies you can learn from

    Apart from having found the recipe to build a cult around kitchenware in Southern Africa, the quirky online appliance store, Yuppiechef, is known for its exceptional customer care and cunning culture. From culture to remarkability, Paul Galatis from Yuppiechef speaks about the company's work philosophies key to their success during Creative Spark's Thought Leader Fridays event.

  • Being a mom-trepreneur: the 4 stages of birthing your startup

    So you might never have given birth to a baby or a business, and if that’s the case then you’re going to find yourself either terrified or saying "easy peasy, what’s the big deal?" If you have given birth to either, then you will definitely understand the pain and pleasures associated with being an entrepreneur and/or being a parent. 1. Dream Phase Most people who start a business have been thinking about the idea for a while. The most successful entrepreneurs take up to 12 months to research an industry before launching their business. Before they start they have a clear idea of who...

  • Littlemarket signing up 30 new sellers each month, expects ‘huge growth’ in 2015

    South African ecommerce platform Littlemarket says that it's been signing up around 30 new approved sellers each month. Since launching in October 2014, the online marketplace has given more than 130 crafters a platform to list and sell over 1 600 unique hand-made items online. Founder Jean des Isnards, who's self-funding the platform, says that Littlemarket is also seeing a lot of support from the community, noting that the platform today has over 30 000 Facebook fans. Read more: Does South Africa’s ecommerce future really lie with niche players? From craft-style handmade items like beaded necklaces to coffee beans and designer furniture, the platform...

  • Here’s why fintech startups are paving the way to gold

    Fintech is on fire. Better, it’s white hot. According to an oft-cited study released by Accenture, global investment in financial technology ventures tripled from US$928-million to US$2.97-billion between 2008 and 2013. This figure is expected to snowball to a whopping US$6 to 8 billion by 2018. To put this within the context of the wider investment landscape, in the three years leading up to 2013, global investment in fintech grew more than four times faster than venture capital investment overall. Here’s a quick lowdown on fintech or “financial technology” for those of us newer to the scene: broadly speaking, it describes...

  • Solvesting’s P2P lending wants to bridge SME investments in emerging markets

    Over the past few years, Africa has seen record levels of foreign direct investment, peaking at US$56.3-billion in 2013. Yet, studies still show that medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are struggling to get their share of the pie. Recently launched in Kenya, a relatively new startup called Solvesting has geared up to serve an estimated US$850 000-billion untapped credit market that exists in emerging markets today. How is it planning to do this? Well, Solvesting introduces a peer to peer (P2P) lending platform for small to SMEs in emerging markets. Foreign investors, on the other side of the spectrum, can fund SMEs in developing countries,...

  • WeChat Africa invests in M4JAM, allowing it to scale its local and global reach [updated]

    Additional reporting by Jacques Coetzee M4JAM has been on quite a run since its inception back in August 2014. Just a few days ago Ventureburn broke the story that the micro-jobbing startup has lured Google’s Brett StClair to its team. And now WeChat Africa, a joint venture between Naspers and Tencent, has announced its investment in the South African micro-jobbing platform. The love affair between the two has been ongoing since M4JAM launched on WeChat's mobile ecosystem in August 2014. There is no indication of this deal being part of the initial attraction to each other but it would certainly appear...

  • From Ottery to Vredenburg: these are the 12 Western Cape startups that just won R6.5-million

    A dozen innovative startups have received R6.5-million from the Western Cape government to help build out their great ideas. Announced back in August 2014, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism partnered with the Technology Innovation Agency to create a fund intended to boost innovation throughout the province. The Design Innovation Seed Fund's (DISF) aim is to assist pre-revenue startups that are either already in incubation or entering incubation. Over 150 applications were received, and 12 winners were declared: Ajax Manufacturing -- manufacturers of aluminium shoes used by professionals who climb poles (think Telkom workers, not pole dancers); Stroketech -- audio headsets for swimmers (based in Vredenburg); Pro...

  • Latin America’s VC space: big opportunity or illusion?

    After four years riding the roller coaster ups and downs of running an internet startup in Latin America, I feel that I have paid my duties in the race of chasing the Latin American dream. There are hard facts that any entrepreneur in pursuit of this sort of dream should be well aware of before jumping in. If you look at a continent and you see no more than ten big hitters, you need to be a little suspicious. This lack of a sprawling scene of tech leaders could be the result of many different things, such as immaturity of...