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  • Japan, you have a unicorn. Mercari’s valuation rises over $1b

    Time to update our list of Japanese unicorns. Mercari, an app for selling second-hand goods, has just raised US$74 million in its series D at a valuation of over US$1 billion. (Hat-tip toTechCrunch.) Since starting in 2013, the company has raised US$110 million. The current round features a whos who of Japan’s investment community with Mitsui & Co., Development Bank of Japan, Japan Co-Invest, Globis Capital Partners, World Innovation Lab, and Global Brain all on board. In just three short years, the app has seen meteoric success. The company’s latest press release notes that it fulfills US$88 million worth of orders...

  • Company Office

    Welcome to the Matrix: Mastering the art of Scenario Planning

    For entrepreneurs, one of the most frequently cited challenges is the task of having to juggle multiple demands on your time at any given moment. In my view, however, there is a task that is perhaps more taxing – and yet absolutely critical – that entrepreneurs have to tackle every day. It is the task of identifying and planning for multiple possible business scenarios in the midst of an ever-changing market environment. Smart scenario planning, in effect, is something that undoubtedly needs to be built into the fabric of your daily communications with the board, management and your team...

  • i-Pay, PayU roll out new EFT system to SA online stores

    Online payment gateway i-Pay and Naspers-owned payment solution PayU's collaboration is rolling out to online stores. Named PayU EFT Pro, the service will be available to online stores who utilise PayU as a payments gateway. The two companies partnered in September last year in order to create automated EFT solutions for the online SA market. Clients who utilise this feature will make an EFT payment via their bank's online portal; the funds will then be paid directly into the merchant's bank account. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, i-Pay "guarantees the highest level of security when paying online," which should be an attractive feature...

  • 4 new ecommerce trends you should be aware of

    There are a lot of different ways to earn money online. In fact, many traditional jobs are now transitioning to a virtual environment, which means that the methods a person can use to earn money via the web are almost endless. Of course, some methods are easier to break into than others. For example, one of the fastest and most straightforward ways to earn money via the internet is through trading and investments. Forex is one, but a better avenue is binary options. According to 24option, binary option trading consists of short term investments in which you “bet” on how...

  • $100k up for grabs for Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs

    Applications for the Anisha Prize, now in its sixth edition, have opened with total prize money now worth US$100 000. The competition, which is a collaboration between the African Leadership Academy and the MasterCard Foundation, aims to identify 12 of Africa’s "most innovative social and business entrepreneurs under the age of 22". In addition to increased prize money, the two organisations have also promised an increase in the support available to selected entrepreneurs over the next five years. Each of the 12 finalists will now receive a US$7 500 fellowship package with the ALA’s Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U) which...

  • The importance of using the right formulae to keep your business on track

    Financial statements are often used to judge whether a business is performing well or not, however these numbers alone seldom tell the whole story. Entrepreneurs might be knowledgeable in their chosen field, but may lack the technical skills to fully analyse financial statements. It is therefore crucial to investigate other methods available for analysis of their business. Seeing the big picture While financial statements offer a good picture of past performance, they are not entirely suitable for predicting where the company might be in the future. Because they use historical data, they cannot accurately reflect sudden market changes or illustrate where...

  • I don’t want your money

    I don’t want your money. No, really I don’t. After 10 years of running our country’s oldest bank, I’ve kicked the habit of looking after other people’s money. It’s not that I’m not grateful for the more than R300-billion that you deposited with us when I was CEO. I really am. It’s just that after many years of countless Board, Audit, Compliance, Transformation and Risk Committee meetings it was time to stop sitting in boardrooms and start doing something real. You see there are few things that really create the future. Most institutions protect what is, instead of creating what...

  • 4 things to consider before crowdfunding your startup

    The market has been flooded with positive news about crowdfunding and how it is displacing the traditional venture capital market with great rapidity. This is a trend that is likely to continue, although it does represent only a small fragment of the market. The fact is that crowdfunding still has a long way to go in terms of displacing the venture funding market. A big mistake that one can make is going straight to crowdfunding and believing that is will give you the same coverage that a traditional fundraising campaign will have. This article is designed to provide you...

  • You could win 10 weeks at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University

    If you've got an idea or project that uses technology to solve a major global challenge, then you may want to enter the Singularity University Global Impact Competition (GIC) before it closes on 15 March. First prize at the competition is an invitation to participate in the 10-week Summer 2016 Singularity University Global Solutions Program (GSP) in Silicon Valley, California. In South Africa, the renowned organisation has joined forces with Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) to launch the competition. Singularity University has successfully launched GICs in many countries around the world. These competitions act as a platform to identify outstanding...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [29/02/2016]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or scratch up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There are loads of competitions, networking sessions and workshops happening around South Africa and the rest of the continent (namely Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana) that we’ve rounded up to make your life a bit easier. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list, or...

  • Angel Fair Africa to get 100 investors and entrepreneurs doing deals

    When Angel Fair Africa rolls into Nairobi, Kenya for its fourth edition in November, it will aim to bring together more than 100 investors and entrepreneurs from within and outside the African startup ecosystem. The goal of the conference is to get all those players -- accelerators, incubators and emerging businesses from across the continent -- doing as many deals as possible. According to a press release sent to Venturburn, investors attending the conference come from Angel Africa List (the primary organising force behind the conference), East Africa Angel Network, Ghana Angel Investor Network, Lagos Angel Network, New Generation Angels, African...