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  • Logistics: the backbone of South Africa’s ecommerce boom

    South African ecommerce is in a better place today than at any other time in its history. According to research released by PayPal earlier this week, online shopping in South Africa is expected to reach R37-billion this year and to jump to R46-billion in 2017. While much of that growth has been fueled by increased spend digital goods, such as apps, ebooks, digital music, films and videos, we're also buying a larger number of physical goods -- including fashion and consumer electronics. While a number of factors have driven growth across all these sectors, the rise in sales of...

  • 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...

  • 8 Indian startups that love being bootstrapped

    Indian startups are often accused of chasing hype instead of profitability. Part of that means they go after famous investors with deep pockets – be it Housing or TinyOwl or even a unicorn like Flipkart. But away from the spotlight, some have managed to survive for years without any external money. They have made profits, ploughed the money back into the business, thought of creative ways to solve a crisis, and expanded at their own pace – all the while cherishing their freedom. It’s a freedom that the founders of many VC-funded companies trade for scaling up fast – only...

  • Top ecommerce strategies for customer acquisition and retention

    In the last couple of years, we've seen a major shift in focus among ecommerce merchandising sites. Up until about the year 2011, most sites focused on new customer acquisition. Now, the focus has been diverted towards retaining their customers. A major reason for this change is the recession in the late '00s, which prompted many companies to make dramatic cuts to their marketing budget. Without an appropriate marketing budget needed to reach out to new customers, retail companies developed ways to keep the customers they already had. Additionally, the recession highlighted the frivolous method of trying to keep up...

  • SAVCA: SA private equity a good bet in 2016

    Anyone looking for decent returns in the midst of a stagnating South African economy should consider the private equity space. That's the message being put forward by Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA). According to the association, the number of deals and exits seen in the South African startup space in 2015 is an indication of just how much potential there is for private equity investors. "The latest performance figures for the industry," says SAVCA CEO Erika van der Merwe, "confirm that investors into South African private equity funds continue to enjoy double-digit rand-based returns which...

  • This Isreali incubator wants to flip the business of art on its head

    This is interesting. A new Israeli incubator has cropped up with the aim of revolutionising the way we buy and sell art. Called TechnoArt, the incubator is situated in Tel Aviv, and is specifically aimed at startups developing innovative technologies in the field of culture and art, and working to solve the business model of this industry. A startup accepted into the incubator -- which is the first in a series of microfunds established by Socialterminals, a US based investment firm -- will receive up to US$100 000 in services, funding and support throughout the year. Each startup will be...

  • This crowdsourced phrasebook app wants to help South Africans understand each other

    South Africa, like our ever globalising world, is made up of a really diverse bunch. It's colourful but often messy. This is where Aweza steps in. It's a novel app that wants to help people better communicate and understand each other. Developed in Cape Town, Aweza is a phrasebook app which essentially pairs pictures with common phrases. It relies on crowdsourcing and gamification techniques to ensure correct pronunciations of South Africa's 11 languages. Pretty cool, right? But for the guys currently behind this project -- Glen Stein, Jeanne Fourie and Farrel Strul -- it's more than an educational product. It's about...

  • Seedstars to launch digital academy in Lagos

    Global entrepreneurship organisation Seedstars has announced the launch of its first digital entrepreneurship academy in Lagos. The aim of the academy is to educate digital change-makers in Nigeria and enable them to spread the use of internet and digital technologies. This, Seedstars says, is aimed at helping the country combat its rampant youth unemployment rate, which according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) affects over 5.5 million individuals who are unemployed and over 12 million who are underemployed. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, a large part of the academy's mission is to address the...

  • A Day in the Life of: Silvertree Capital VC Manuel Koser [Native Article]

    Cape Town-based Silvertree Capital kicked the year off on an epic note when it committed US$10-million towards internet companies on the African continent. The VC firm surely had good reason to so. Its portfolio has been boasting record growth over the last two years and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it had to move its office recently to accommodate a bigger crew. For the last edition of our A Day in the Life of… series, we're zooming in on the life of the VC -- Silvertree co-founder Manuel Koser. Before Silvertree Capital, Koser co-founded and served as co-CEO...

  • Absa bets on partnership with RainFin’s credit marketplace [Update]

    Fintech peer-to-peer funding institution RainFin, today announced a partnership with Absa bank, a member of Barclays Africa Group Limited, to offer RainFin's products to Absa customers. Although Absa already owns 49% equity in RainFin, the bank will now incorporate the online lending marketplace's offerings into its suite of products. This will allow the bank to offer SMEs unsecured working capital loans within 48 hours after application. CEO of RainFin, Sean Emery (pictured top left), says: "This is the first real example of how a bank in South Africa is embarking on a journey to incorporate something across the whole scale." According to Paul...

  • Knife Capital announces R100m fund to amplify more SA startups

    Renowned South African venture capital (VC) firm Knife Capital has launched a new investment fund called KNF Ventures. With a rather generous target of R100-million, the fund will invest in innovation-driven startups by providing tax incentives and high returns. The announcement also adds to an increase in confidence for South Africa's startups. Earlier this month, local ecommerce company Travelstart secured US$40-million from UK investors, while VC firm Silvertree Internet Holdings committed US$10-million investment to South African and African startups. "By leveraging knowledge, networks and funding, KNF Ventures will accelerate the growth of strategically relevant South African scale-up companies and generate enhanced...