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  • 6 brilliant SA startups chosen for U-Start startup showcase in Milan

    Last week we took a look at the finalists for the U-Start Bloom Business Plan Competition. U-Start, the Italian funding platform behind the competition, have now released the names of the six winning South African startups chosen for the startup showcase to be held in Milan later this year. Winners are split between two groups. Growth sector winners Medical Diagnostic -- The company manufactures lateral flow rapid diagnostic test kits. Ad Dynamo -- An advertising network. The startup isn't listed as an initial finalist and appears to have been a late entry. Mimiboard Umuntu -- Umuntu helps communities create and share content. Read our...

  • Company Office

    5 best practices to design, build and launch your product in just a few months

    You might have the most innovative idea in the world, the most committed management team, and more funding than you could ever need – but if you can’t deliver a quality product to your customers on time, you’re in serious trouble. Maintaining a competitive edge requires product design teams to be willing and able to turn a prototype into a minimum viable product in the shortest period of time possible, while still staying true to the product vision. At Nomanini, our development team took on the challenge and successfully designed, developed and launched our second generation product, eLula in a...

  • 8 startup lessons from Pinky and the Brain

    In the world of startups, quick thinking is important and a willingness to keep learning should be a given. So are you pondering what I am pondering? I am fascinated by the television show Pinky and the Brain -- the complete lunacy of it. In every episode Brain hatches a new plan in his never-ending quest to take over the world, which ultimately ends in failure. More often than not this is due to Pinky's idiocy, the sheer impossibility of Brain's plan, Brain's own arrogance, or the fact that they are tiny mice trying to take over the world....

  • 9 videos to help you perfect your investor pitch

    Whether you're presenting to investors with a pitch deck, or jostling for a foot in the door by way of an elevator pitch, we've trawled the depths of YouTube to bring you some of the best presentation and pitching advice from brilliant companies and people. The videos we've collected will help you with structure and delivery, and if you find yourself inspired to get started on a killer presentation, be sure to take a look at Pitch Envy, a collection of some of the best pitch decks. Get ready to be dazzled by the likes of ex-Mac evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, 500...

  • Microsoft, university, VC network team up to give SA startups a fighting chance

    A new partnership between Microsoft’s BizSpark initiative and Find-Make-Grow-Realise (FMGR), a startup investment programme offered by the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business and local VC network AngelHub, will give startups in Johannesburg technological support, business know-how, and access to potential investors and business networks. While BizSpark provides access to software development tools, connecting the member entrepreneurs with key industry players, and providing the marketing visibility which these high growth potential startups will need, FMGR will build their business skills and network connections. BizSpark is available to more than 50 000 members in 100 countries and offers technical...

  • Innovationville: where good money-making African startups go to die

    You will be hard pressed to find anyone in Africa who doesn't agree that a wave of something big and game-changing is coming. In fact, the way the world is turning, it's a school of thought that seems to be a soaring fire bird -- it is starting to feel like everyone is thinking it. Innovation is the key energiser. Having leapfrogged with wicked-smart and insanely useful mobile solutions, it seems the continent has no choice but to build the next big thing. So I keep hearing. So much so that innovation has become quite formulaic with rules...

  • What’s stopping you from building your business?

    I recently read an article about Nasty Gal, an eBay clothing retailer with nearly US$100m in sales. Whilst those revenues are undoubtedly very impressive, it was this bit from the article that impressed me most: “Instead, she quit her job and started an eBay page to sell some of the vintage designer items she found rummaging through Goodwill bins. She bought a Chanel jacket at a Salvation Army store for $8 and sold it for $1,000. She found Yves Saint Laurent clothing online on the cheap by Googling misspellings of the designer’s name, reasoning that anyone who didn’t know how...

  • Google-backed VC supergroup to startups: build us a killer Glass app!

    We're pretty big fans of Google Glass. This type of wearable computer has tremendous potential to augment our daily experiences, but we're only starting to imagine what's possible. So is Google. To help the search monolith along, it's created the Glass Collective, a venture capital supergroup consisting of Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). The three VC companies have teamed up to "provide seed funding to entrepreneurs in the Glass ecosystem to help jumpstart their ideas," writes Bill Maris, VP, Google Ventures. Google is thinking of Glass as a new computing platform and as such, it...

  • Leadership lessons from the Iron Lady

    Vilified by some, loved by others – the leadership legacy of Margaret Thatcher is as varied as it is distinct. Said German chancellor Angela Merkel: "She was an extraordinary leader in global politics of her time. I will never forget her part in surmounting the division of Europe and at the end of the Cold War." Analysing Thatcher’s eleven and a half years in office, here are three primary leadership lessons that have characterised her style of leadership and are most applicable both to leadership in politics and business today. Clarity trumps consensus Shortly after taking office in Downing Street in...

  • Vodacom partner Mondo launches with SIM-only option

    The headache of getting a cellphone contract just got a little of bit of remedy with the launch of Mondo -- an online mobi shop in full partnership with cellular network giant Vodacom. Promising to end the days of waiting in long queues, customers can purchase everything from cellphone to data contracts as well as various mobile devices on generic Vodacom deals or exclusive Mondo deals. Mondo's real kicker is that it offers SIM-only contracts which has multiple benefits. SIM-only is great for people who already own a phone, and in a country like South Africa it makes a lot...

  • Mentorship Marketplace: matching entrepreneurs with business experts

    African entrepreneurs are increasingly looking for mentorship. Locally, a study by the Silicon Cape initiative, revealed that access to business mentors was the second most sought after resource. Now, VC4Africa (Venture Capital for Africa), the African entrepreneurial hub, is launching the Mentorship Marketplace, a peer-to-peer marketplace where entrepreneurs can add "mentor requests" that are searchable and actionable by a pool of registered mentors. Entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to grow their business in Africa now have access to a group of dedicated mentors, while Africans living abroad can get directly involved with venture creation. Assisting promising entrepreneurs Having a...