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  • Run a startup, travel the world, defy convention: Q&A with Chris Guillebeau

    Building a startup on-the-go while you travel the world may seem unlikely. The status quo would have us believe it borders on the impossible. Thing is, Chris Guillebeau has done just that. Oh and he also writes books and evangelically spreads his unconventional ideas on entrepreneurship and startup communities. The word "unconventional" is actually a pretty accurate description of Guillebeau. The American entrepreneur reckons you can build a startup for less than US$100 and even wrote a book explaining how. His popular blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, focuses on travel and personal development topics and meshes with his personal mission...

  • 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...

  • Sweden claims victory over SA in startup pitch battle

    A group of Swedish startups won the first ever international 'city versus city' pitch battle on web TV series This Week in Startups, beating out a group of South African startups in doing so. The show, which is hosted by US angel investor Jason Calacanis and Skweal (a real-time customer review service) CEO Tyler Crowley lays claim to 100 000 viewers every episode. The show saw three top Swedish startups competing against three Cape Town-based South African startups. The three Cape Town-based startups were chosen from a group of 10 or so who pitched to a small local audience...

  • Between: the world’s most popular private network for couples

    If you are among those who think social networking is becoming too noisy and intrusive, then there is a solution. It's a private social network that allows you to communicate with your partner in a private, intimate way. No it's not Pair. In fact, it predates the cutesy social effort that's been grabbing headlines in the tech press. Between is an app developed by South Korean startup VCNC. It provides a quick chat option between couples, as well as photo album and messaging functions. Although there are other similar apps gaining popularity, it is by far the most successful...

  • Africa Gathering: London event to celebrate African startups

    People tend to get excited around startups. It's probably something to do with the manic energy and will to succeed possessed by the people running them. And if the reaction to articles like this and this are anything to go by, people are really excited by African startups. In fact, people around the world are starting to talk about startups on the continent in a big way. One example of this is the Africa Gathering annual conference to be held in London in mid June. The conference, organised in collaboration with the Indigo Trust Foundation, aims to give people the opportunity...

  • The future role of digital media and technology in retail

    Digital is fusing into our daily lives more and more. As a concept, it will soon disappear in a future where we reminisce about the good old days of offline and online. This fusion is already underway. The mobile evolution continues to provide increasing interaction with richer digital content. While enabling technologies (like NFC) let us to go one-step further and interact with real word objects. These new interactions are fueling not just a mobile, but also a digital revolution. As this fusion matures, our social profiles will become our passport to interact with the world, with digital media providing the...

  • The future of shopping is mobile

    People are swapping shopping malls for online and virtual stores at a faster rate than ever before. Combine this shift with our increasingly compulsive and indecisive nature, and you can see why online retailers are frantically coming up with new ways to entice people, so they can linger on their sites longer. One way they are doing so this is by focusing on our closest companions: our mobile phones. This echoes one of my favourite lines from Irish comedian Dylan Moran: "I don’t know what I want, but I know that I want it now." Mobile apps: having a shop...

  • mmMule: Deliver things and have an adventure, do some good

    "For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay your welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience." That quote from the cult movie, The Beach embodies the whimsical spirit of mmMule, a startup that rewards you for delivering things to people on your travels. mmMule is essentially a crowdsourced courier service. As it depends on a healthy helping of chance and serendipity, it’s not a real replacement for postal and courier services,...

  • The dramatic fall of BitCoin: No end in sight

    We've discussed BitCoin at some length on Memeburn, including how it works, its potential downfalls, and its genuine merits. BitCoin has experienced its ups and downs in the few years that it has emerged as an online currency. Last year, a major 'pick-pocketing' scandal when an anonymous BitCoin user claimed that thieves had managed to steal nearly US$ 500 000 worth of BitCoin. Although the case was unverified, a series of similar incidents caused the BitCoin exchange rate to crash at the time. This year, a number of new attacks on BitCoin have raised further concerns for the online...

  • Smokoo founders launch online dating site

    When online auction site Smokoo shut down, we told you that its South African-based founders were working on a new project. Memeburn can now reveal what that new project is: an online dating site. The site, called Adopt Him, claims to offer a slightly different take on the online dating phenomenon, calling itself “South Africa’s first online dating site that lets the ladies call the shots”. Here’s how it works. The site lets women decide who they want to chat to them. It says they can do so by browsing or searching through the database until they find someone...

  • Zando: The Germans are here

    Zando has hit the African continent. The ecommerce outfit has been building a presence in South Africa for the last three months. The local stores in the country, like the Naspers-owned Kalahari and the newly relaunched Takealot are about to get some serious competition. Zando is an online shoe and fashion retail outlet that apes the model pioneered by US-based company Zappos and it's been making serious waves with a massive advertising campaign in print, online, and radio. The company is owned by Rocket Internet, which lays claim a global ecommerce empire -- GigaOM estimates...