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  • Here comes the flood: VC firms funding corporate media push into social media

    Somewhat lost in the news because of Google's acquisition of Motorola, Buddy Media, a New York startup raised US$54-million at a US$500-million valuation. Buddy Media helps corporations set up and run their presence on a wide range of social networks. From Buddy Media: We are in the midst of a massive shift online from a search and intent-based world to a social, people-based world. The last three years were about the consumer side of social platforms, as we watched Facebook, Zynga and Twitter grow exponentially. The next three years will be all about the enterprise side of social, and how companies engage and...

  • Company Office

    Barclays accelerator announces latest participants in African programme

    Barclays Africa Group and Techstars today released the names of 10 financial-technology (fintech) companies selected to participate in the second Barclays Accelerator programme, powered by Techstars. The successful companies, all focused on providing fintech solutions in Africa, will participate in a 13-week growth acceleration programme at Barclays Africa’s Rise fintech innovation hub in Cape Town from mid-May. The 2017 programme participants are: Flexpay (Kenya), Howler (South Africa), Spatialedge (South Africa), Abe.ai (USA), The Sun Exchange (South Africa), Byte Money (South Africa), Avenews-GT (Israel), FOMO Travel (South Africa), Kapitalwise (USA) and eCOIDA (South Africa). Yasaman Hadjibashi, chief creation officer at Barclays Africa Group, said:...

  • Cracking the crowded telecoms market: SME clients ‘key to success’ claims ARC

    Telecommunication in emerging markets is massive and remains a key growth area the in light of recent shrinking values in other industries. Matthew Guest of accounting firm Deloitte says there is "plenty of opportunity," while warning that are "too many competitors" in some African markets. So how does one stand out in such an environment? Startup ARC Telecoms is an IP telecommunications service provider company specifically dedicated to the small and medium sized business sector in South Africa. The company reckons its focus on small business puts it in the best position to differentiate from the competition and take...

  • Email 2.0: Shortmail and the Twitterisation of emailing

    Email, that stalwart of internet communication, may be going out of fashion. Email has been around pretty much for four-decades, pre-dating the web. It's the old man of the internet and has not evolved significantly. Fundamentally, the way we email each other has remained the same for decades. But email needs to evolve. The number of messages we get these days has increased exponentially, and there is no end in sight. There will be a time (and for many this time has arrived) where it will be impossible to cope. There has been innovation. Google's Gmail, for example, has...

  • 5 Common mistakes startups make when applying for funding

    There is a perception among entrepreneurs that a revolutionary idea is enough to secure the venture capital needed to kick-start their businesses. This is simply not true. Here are five of the most common mistakes made by entrepreneurs when applying for VC funding. 1. No WOW! Factor The first rule in the VC game is that your business proposition must have an exceptional differentiating factor. You need to know what your sustainable competitive advantage will be. If you're trying to raise funding for a conventional business or idea like a franchise or service business, VC is probably not the...

  • The group buying collapse is coming

    Group buying. Daily deals. Social commerce. Call it what you will, but the sheer number of blatant knock-offs that have sprung up in global markets following the "success" of Groupon and LivingSocial should give you a hint that all is not well. A fair number of these startups are nothing more than two or three people, a few laptops, an internet connection and phone line. They're strangely reminiscent of those outfits that sold small businesses those five-page microsites a decade ago. Small businesses got ripped off with websites based on cookie-cutter templates. Users/customers got ripped off because they actually couldn’t...

  • Markets fall: What will happen to Silicon Valley recovery?

    Turmoil in global financial markets and economies is never good for Silicon Valley despite the fact that the regional economy has its own boom and bust cycles that operate on a different timetable. Currently, Silicon Valley has been booming, recapturing the trend that was in place in the second half of 2008, before the financial meltdown, of growing VC investments and jobs. It has to be asked though, whether like that recovery in 2008 which ran smack into an economic crisis, this recovery will again be nipped in the bud. Maybe. Profits at the large Silicon Valley companies such as Google...

  • Mobicanvas hitting the bottom line with free mobile sites

    Creating mobile websites which can be viewed on any feature phone or smartphone has gained traction globally. One South African startup is capitalising by offering the service at no cost, while laying claim to a simple drag and drop interface. Mobicanvas is a web tool that helps any business or individual to easily and cheaply build, promote and monetise its own mobile websites, claims Stephen Ballot, one of the company's co-founders. The company promotes an easy-to-use drag and drop interface amongst its key features. "Building a mobile site, or any site for that matter, has never been easier",...

  • 3 reasons NOT to start a group buying site

    The group buying industry sprang to life with very little warning. Groupon began a trend and soon everyone wanted a piece of the action. This phenomenon has been popular in emerging market countries such as South Africa where it began with Wicount in 2010. By January 2011, big names like Groupon and Bidorbuy had bought out smaller South African sites like UbuntuDeal and with a very low barrier to entry, the market exploded. It would seem that it is an industry to have a look at, especially for an entrepreneur; perhaps you can start your own group buying site?...

  • Startup Weekends hit South Africa

    In what could be a potential boon for tech entrepreneurs in the region, Startup Weekends have arrived in South Africa. Startup Weekends are established in Silicon Valley, but until recently, South Africa had missed out on the benefits of this exciting 54-hour weekend phenomenon. The initiative involves teams gathering from Friday evening to Sunday night to set up a business, ultimately vying for the top position as judges assess the best business ideas at the end of the weekend. The first weekend took place in Cape Town, with Johannesburg having its own Startup Weekend soon after. ...

  • MTN Mobile Money launches debit card-based online shopping solution

    eCommerce service provider, MTN Mobile Money, has launched a mobile payment mechanism, which will enable users to purchase products online using a debit card. MTN Mobile Money says the mechanism, called payD, will enable millions of South Africans to make secure, online payments using only their pin-based debit cards. It is hoped that payD will provide a boost to South Africa's lagging ecommerce market. World Wide Worx's Online Retail in SA 2011 report shows that retail ecommerce hit R2 billion last year. "This sounds big", says Dave Parratt, head of new business development at MTN Mobile Money, "but it’s...