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  • Funding and South Africa’s tech startups [Infographic]

    South Africa's funding scene is cagey. It's really hard to find concrete information, but it's no surprise really, considering all the non-disclosure agreements. Silicon Cape has been running a survey in an effort to unlock some funding information which it hopes will enlighten the country's tech startup community. The survey results were compiled into this infographic. While 60% of startups are self-funded, 41% are in search of funding. Funding is still a luxury available to a select few -- about a quarter of the survey respondents have received funding from VCs, Angels and family. Few investors are willing to invest amounts...

  • Company Office

    Banking Africa's Unbanked - Time For A Reality Check

    Plenty of progress has been made on increasing the size of Africa’s banked population. The trouble is, from the amount of noise that is made about the topic, you would be forgiven for thinking we had fixed the problem when we really haven’t. According to the World Bank, today, 62 per cent of the world’s population has a bank account. In 2011 that figure was 51 per cent. In three years, 700 million people became “banked” in some way, and the number of “unbanked” individuals dropped 20 per cent to two billion adults. Much of this progress was attributed to...

  • CityMob gets Wantitall investment boost

    South African ecommerce player Wantitall has just closed a deal which will see it invest an undisclosed sum of money in flash sales specialist CityMob. According to Business Tech, the investment is designed to help CityMob improve its logistics, warehousing and systems as well as giving it access to more potential customers. Wanitall has steadily climbed the South African ecommerce ranks over the past few years, stocking electronics, toys, jewellery and books, meaning that it competes with heavy hitters in the space such as Kalahari and a Takealot. “We’re extremely excited about this new partnership, it will allow us to...

  • Uncharted entrepreneurship in Africa’s domain name industry

    During the heyday of the domain name business in the late 90s, entrepreneurs snapped up attractive .com domains for cheap. Like real estate, the value of these domain names would balloon over the years as businesses rose to claim not only the smartest word combinations, but also their online identities. Buying and selling domain names turned out to be a very lucrative business for some. Domains like sex.com and insure.com would go on to hold jaw-dropping price tags of US$14-million and US$16-million respectively. That was then. It's quite unlikely you'll find a fetching unclaimed domain these days. Still, it doesn't...

  • Corporates courting startups: entrepreneurship in the enterprise

    When we spoke to IBM last year, the world's largest IT company predicted a decrease in consumer-facing startups. New ventures, it said, will be increasingly targeting enterprise environments. It's no longer just enterprise heavy-weights such as Oracle, IBM, Accenture and SAP that can compete in corporate environments. Powerful, cost-effective cloud services and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies have opened up an industry ready for disruption -- slow-moving corporate environments offer opportunities for nimble startups, that can often tailor make solutions. Still, it remains harder to build solutions for the enterprise. Startups often end up working on larger, more complex problems with higher quality...

  • Rocket Internet’s Colombian ecommerce outfit Linio bags €25m investment

    Colombian online retailer Linio has announced that it will receive an investment up to €25 000 000 (US$32-million) from the Santo Domingo Group. €12 500 000 (US$16-million) of this investment will come from Valorem, an investment vehicle in Colombia, managing a number of investment portfolios in the country. Launched in spring 2012, Linio offers a variety of products online including beauty and fragrances, mobile phones, books and home electronics. The company is a part of Rocket Internet's global startup empire. The German-based incubator is one of the giants of the ecommerce clone world. Its business model is to identify...

  • Startup marketing: 7 ways to sell your startup with no budget

    As a startup, trying to get your company in the minds of consumers and investors, life can be difficult. Chances are you have no money for marketing and no clue on how to make it happen. The best way to market anything is to make it an unavoidable brand. So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to build a kick ass brand that is second to none. Because you have no money, you have to find a way to do all of this without spending any money or as little money has possible. There are probably...

  • Coping as an entrepreneur

    When I wrote about being born an entrepreneur, I did so to communicate what I felt / thought in an effort to be validated. Because if I can be validated, if I can find others like me, then surely it means that I'm not crazy. Right? The various tweets and affirmations that I got subsequently made me feel like I wasn't alone. But then I read this article about entrepreneurs being soft-bipolar: “In general, though, many believe that running startups can drive people to experience intense ups and downs. While this is true, it’s often the other way around: People in...

  • The three types of incubators in Africa

    Incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, and technology hubs have sprung up all across Africa, all claiming to be the right entity to fuel entrepreneurial activity in their region. This article describes three types of institutions active in the African incubation sector. Since its origins, business incubation has taken many shapes and forms and the institutions claiming to ‘incubate’ provide varying services, making it difficult to compare them one to another. The term ‘incubator’ in a business sense dates back to the late 1950s and was once used to describe vacant property being subleased to multiple tenants, while providing them with basic...

  • Sailing startups to market: Q&A with Unreasonable Institute’s Daniel Epstein

    Taking your company global is no small thing. For startups that want to conquer the international market, finding the best way to do that can be hard. Eleven passionate tech entrepreneurs with great companies innovating in various areas decided to spend 100 days aboard a ship sailing around the world in order to do that... all made possible by Unreasonable at Sea. The initiative, pioneered by Daniel Epstein, founder of entrepreneur accelerator programme Unreasonable Institute, is going to global markets in more ways than one. Epstein, named of one Forbes' Top 30 Impact Entrepreneurs, is a serial entrepreneur with...

  • Vinny Lingham’s Gyft launches APIs for third-party apps

    Gyft, the mobile gifting service from Yola founder Vinny Lingham, has announced the launch of APIs to extend gift cards into third-party apps. While the APIs also allow people to integrate Gyft into websites and other services, the focus is primarily on mobile. "A lot of developers out there have points, rewards, and unredeemed credits, and they want to offer a way for their users to cash out those points or credits,” Lingham told TechCrunch. Gyft, he says, offers a better alternative for developers than bill pay systems which charge transaction fees “We’re focused on mobile,” he adds. “There...