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  • Win a copy of Richard Branson’s book ‘Screw Business as Usual’

    If you're looking for business advice, super entrepreneur Richard Branson seems like a good place to start. In his book 'Screw Business as Usual', the Virgin founder touches on the revolution in standard practice, discussing how doing the right thing may be profitable -- as well as better for humanity. The book has been called a must read for anyone from entrepreneurs to social activists, and explains why priorities need to shift from just making money to making a difference. Branson explains that he has "written this book for those who, at the same time as wanting to develop...

  • Company Office

    Sureswipe's Move allows business owners to accept payments on the go

    Business owners that often move around to sell their goods and services have been able to increase revenue thanks to Sureswipe's Move payment solution. The solution allows one to easily receive card payments from customers regardless of where one is. Sureswipe MD Paul Kent says Move has boosted the revenue of a number of its small business clients because it allows business owners and their staff to remain mobile, agile and offer their customers personalised, face-to-face service. Move is also a great option for pop-up shops, those operating from markets and who run promotions. “We know the challenges that merchants, independent retailers and SMEs face. This is why we...

  • Taking stock of South African eCommerce after the 2012 holidays

    Shortly before Christmas last year, we took a look at changing attitudes towards online shopping in South Africa. The Visa eCommerce Tracker Survey revealed a gradual expansion of online purchasing over the course of the year, while some shoppers still remained apprehensive due to concerns about shipping or handling fees, that goods wouldn’t arrive on time, and worries that goods would not arrive as per specifications. As we begrudgingly stow away our Christmas decorations, we take a look at the eCommerce landscape after the holidays and where it's headed in 2013. According to a study presented last year by research...

  • Meet Tiki: the startup aspiring to be Vietnam’s answer to Amazon

    Ask anyone in Vietnam who the popular online bookstores are in the country and chances are they will point you to Tiki.vn. The e-commerce startup was founded in 2010 by Son Tran. Today Tiki.vn not only sells books but also other products like toys and apparel, making the same sort of expansion in product offerings that Amazon did. Tran’s first experience with e-commerce was actually with Vinabook, which is also an online bookstore. He worked there from 2009 to 2010. He described his experience as a positive, educational one. However, back then Vinabook was very focused on books in Vietnamese. But Tran, who...

  • Delphix: a standout startup with standout leadership

    I meet with huge numbers of companies every year but it's rare for me to come across a company that excites me as much as Delphix. Delphix founder Jed Yueh is just 37 years old and will undoubtably become one of Silicon Valley's next generation of leaders and success stories. His focus, his discipline, and his intellect are striking -- and it's these qualities of leadership that sets Delphix apart from the many thousands of startups in the extraordinary global innovation engine that is Silicon Valley. I visited the company earlier this year shortly after it had raised $25 million in...

  • The opposite test: how to tell if your business is worth talking about

    The way most businesses talk about their advantages is so boring. How many companies are "the best", "faster", "biggest", "most trusted", and so on? These vague adjectives that we use to describe our businesses are meaningless and boring to customers, and they give no good reason to actually prefer your brand over another. If you'd like to craft a better differentiator, one that may even affect what you do and how you do it, then ask yourself: Are any of your competitors doing the opposite of what you claim to be doing? The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam passes...

  • Event tech startup Virtuvent to ‘set industry standard’ and ‘spark copy-cats’

    If you've ever watched a stable, HD webcast of a product announcement, easily registered for an event or enjoyed a high-speed internet connection while venturing around a trade show floor, you'll appreciate the companies that work behind the scenes to make it all work efficiently. Virtuvent, an events tech company with a strong South African connection, has a unique, integrated approach and some notable events under its belt. Officially launched in October last year, Virtuvent is a B2B startup that targets large or enterprise events, with cloud-based software to manage the logistics, communications and video of the events. It's...

  • Why African tech entrepreneurs need to learn from each other

    “Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” – John Cotton Dana Learn. Teach. Two words that startups and members of tech hubs should breathe and live out if they are to succeed. Having travelled to different hubs in Kenya and Africa through an ongoing study by iHub Research; ‘Understanding African ICT Hubs model and impact to its startups/members’ , I can testify the modus operandi of the startups in the tech hubs is akin. They are operating in a high-risk environment, with little capital, a dearth of business skills e.g. marketing; but are great techies who can code...

  • ValuationUP: the startup that could save your business

    We first heard about ValuationUP, the financial performance analysis, benchmarking and valuation tool for SMBs when it won the Ignite startup competition at African innovation conference, Tech4Africa, last year. The South African team behind ValuationUP, Gareth Ochse and Kenneth Kalmer believe their startup will help people -- even those without financial backgrounds -- benchmark the financial performance of the ventures they are growing, selling, buying or advising. Research suggests that a high percentage of startups fail -- some estimate 75%, depending on how failure is defined. "Startups often fail because founders and investors neglect to look before they leap, surging...

  • Could an SMS purchasing startup help stop online fraud?

    Any online retailer will tell you in no uncertain terms that fraud, specifically by using credit cards online, is a huge challenge for them and their competitors. Not only are these retailers often liable for the chargebacks caused by fraud, but it creates a negative impact on the online buying industry as a whole. Over the festive break, a number of people have sent emails asking about making online transactions via other means -- in other words not using credit cards. They asked: Can we make payments from our bank accounts directly? Can we buy with our mobile phone accounts? Those...

  • Entrepreneurs speak about their motivations for 2013

    What motivates entrepreneurs building great companies in Africa? At VC4Africa, the largest online community of African entrepreneurs and investors, ‘creating better lives’ and ‘feeling you can change the world’ come out as the most popular motivations in its recent poll on the subject. Are you in it for the money, or for another reason? The survey we circulated in the Venture Capital for Africa community indicates many African entrepreneurs are triggered by social motives. A whopping 68% of the respondents chose ‘creating better lives’ and ‘feeling you can change the world’ as what motivates them the most as an entrepreneur....