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  • Hipster: ‘Something cool is coming soon’ to a city near you

    People all around the "twitterverse" have been bragging about signing up for an exclusive invite to a site that does... well, hmn.... what it does is still unknown. But the site in question, Hipster, is a placeholder that has been generating some serious online buzz. Click onto the site and all you get is a beautiful picture of a city (if you are in the United States, your city specifically). You are welcomed by the rather cryptic message "Something cool is coming", then you are required to enter your email address to get the exclusive invite to this alleged...

  • Company Office

    Peach Payments and Callpay announce EFT system partnership

    Peach Payments, a leading and one of Africa's fastest growing payment service providers and Callpay, an innovative provider of secure payment solutions announce collaboration to provide automated Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) as well as secure telephonic payment acceptance solutions. The innovative products will enable millions of South Africans to make instant and secure payments when shopping online or during payment processes over the phone and via call centres. Through this exciting collaboration announced at the 3rd eCommerce Africa Conference, customers will now be able to pay online using their cheque, savings or credit card accounts. Merchants that sign up through...

  • Corporates embracing social media for information workers

    When musician Dave Carroll flew on United Airlines, his guitar was broken by careless baggage handlers. Employees and customer care were indifferent and the airline offered no compensation. So Dave responded by creating a music video called “United breaks guitars” and United felt the wrath of citizen journalism, the social web, and millions of airline travellers. In just 10 days the video received nearly four million views and over fifteen thousand comments on YouTube, and to date the video has been watched over nine million times. It’s an example of how well technology works for the consumers dealing with...

  • eCommerce startup SnapBill launches to a global audience

    SnapBill, a South African startup specialising in online invoicing and billing systems, launched out of beta on Tuesday to a global audience. The company facilitates online billing systems for businesses requiring automated recurring or subscription billing and payment collection. Its international competitors include the well-known Freshbooks, Invoicera, BlinkSale, BallPark, Invoice Machine -- and to some extent services like Chargify, Recurly, Spreedly and CheddarGetter. The self-funded venture, developed by entrepreneurs Josh Yudaken and Jaco van Wyk using the profits from their web hosting company Lusion Technologies, claims to have acquired "over 1 000 active South African SME and enterprise users, some...

  • How to lose a VC funder in one sentence

    Raising funding for a new venture is always difficult. Entrepreneurs going down this road will have to shrug off many pessimists and naysayers along the way.... but sometimes they are their own worst enemies. As a venture capitalist you need to have a great sense of humour as you wade through your dealflow. We receive written requests for backing all the time, and we've kept some of the gems and put together a list of actual funding requests received by PoweredbyVC, a leading South African Venture Capital company, between July and December 2010. Because of confidentiality, some info is...

  • Collective buying: Great for consumers, but what about providers?

    Social media is slowly being adopted amongst the hospitality industry, and the phenomenon of collective buying as developed by Groupon is serving to reinforce the fact that the times they are a-changing. But how much value will this new business model add to an industry already battling to remain profitable? Social media, at this time in it's evolution, is beginning to leverage the awesome potential it has for crowdsourcing and collective action. It's a critical juncture, particularly for the hospitality industry, as these two worlds converge and begin to find some common ground. But first, a little insight into the...

  • Ad network startup secures R15m VC funding for int’l expansion

    Cape Town-based online and mobile advertising network Ad Dynamo has announced a second round of funding via venture capital firm Invenfin, the Remgro Group's investment arm. Its CEO, Sean Riley, says the capital will be used to fund Ad Dynamo’s "international expansion programme into key foreign territories". Riley refused to discuss the funding amount but an insider close to the deal told Memeburn that the investment is in "the R15-million region". The source claimed the new VC tranche would value the company at between US$8-10-million. Riley famously took Google South Africa to the Competition Commission in 2008 in a...

  • Why startups move to Silicon Valley

    I'm constantly meeting companies that have moved part of their operations to San Francisco/Silicon Valley. Usually it is the CEO and/or the marketing and sales group that moves. Loic Le Meur, a serial entrepreneur, founder of Seesmic, did the same several years ago, moving to San Francisco from Paris. In a guest column in the UK Daily Telegraph newspaper, Le Meur explains why he moved: "In the Valley, the best companies, entrepreneurs and investors are all in one place. It feels like a campus. Everything you do, from the morning run to the coffee run, is a networking opportunity." Compare this to...

  • New online classifieds site targets South African market

    MIH Naspers, South Africa's internet powerhouse, launches a brand new online classifieds venture on Monday in a bid to become market-leader in a field that is currently dominated by eBay's Gumtree. Kalahariads.net is offering "a user-friendly, feature-rich portal that provides customers with access to the widest classified network in South Africa". Naspers has accumulated extensive experience in the field with international properties such as OLX, Brazil's BuscaPe and Allegro, and plans to take all that it has learned and apply it to the new South African classifieds portal. Leveraging the well-respected Kalahari brand name, and a firm foothold in print...

  • WeLove: ‘Because sometimes a Like just isn’t enough’

    We have become a society that likes to "Like" and share our preferences with everyone we know. Millions of people join all sorts of Facebook groups to show their support for causes or their own interests. But the sheer size of Facebook and the number of groups available can often result in information overload that we just end up ignoring. We need quicker, simpler, more instantaneous ways of sharing our “likes” and maybe our “dislikes”. "Sometimes a Like isn't enough” according to WeLove.net, a new niche location-based social media site, which also includes a set of mobile applications. WeLove.net is...

  • The startling rise of Groupon, and predictions of the fall [Infographic]

    Groupon and the collective-buying model that it spawned is the darling of social web. The company began in the United States in 2008 and has grown rapidly to include 38 different territories, all offering the basic deal-of-the-day model to more than 35-million registered users. It gained instant fame when it declined a purchase offer of US$6-billion from Google. In case you still don't know, Groupon's business model works like this: You reserve your deal by clicking the “Buy Now” button and entering your credit card details. Once the required number of people have signed up to the daily offer, the deal...