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  • The six types of startup…And what protects Silicon Valley

    Silicon Valley veteran Steve Blank, writing in Xconomy, does a great job in describing six types of startups and how a clear understanding of the needs of each is necessary by national and local governments seeking to foster more innovation: 1. The lifestyle startup On the California coast where I live, we see lifestyle entrepreneurs like surfers and divers who own small surf or dive shop or teach surfing and diving lessons to pay the bills so they can surf and dive some more. 2. Small businesses, usually family owned and run They work as hard as any Silicon Valley entrepreneur. They hire...

  • Company Office

    Geeks Online SA to launch soon

    Brand new education startup Geeks Online SA (GOSA) based in Cape Town, South Africa, looks to bring an innovative solution in the education space. It’s an idea inspired by the self-proclaimed “Geek” himself, one of the co-founders. The company has been founded by two chief enthusiasts, Anele Geqiwe and Busisiwe Ngxande. What they lack in years of experience, the pair has vision and passion for education. The concept driving GOSA is very simple: it requires strong relationship between high school students and tertiary institutions. We aim to introduce and prepare Grade 10-12 students to academic competency standards expected in tertiary level. Of course there are so many solutions...

  • Best and worst list: Tech CEOs that got our attention

    Steve Jobs' recent departure from Apple spurred us to create a list of the best and worst tech CEOs over the years. Read, digest and enjoy the triumphs and failures of these men of industry. The game changers Steve Jobs -- Apple No-one did it better than Steve. In the 70s, Jobs designed the most marketable computer of the time, the Apple II. Jobs was fired from Apple in the 80s, formed his own company called NeXT and eventually made his way back to Apple when his old company integrated NeXT into its line. His reign as CEO from 1997 till...

  • 5 Cool African eCommerce websites

    There was a time when Africa's eCommerce platforms were so few in number as to be negligible. The ever increasing penetration of bandwidth onto the continent has seen that change. Africa now supports a number of viable eCommerce sites, each looking to take hold of a growing market. Here are five of the best: 1. Kalahari Naspers owned Kalahari.com is the market leader in South African eCommerce. Established in 1999, kalahari.com is South Africa's largest online retailer of millions of books, eBooks, eReaders, music, DVDs, games, cameras & electronics. A pioneer in the South African eCommerce industry, the...

  • Idea Bounty: Turning crowdsourcing into cash

    How could you get paid to add to the crowdsourcing debate? It's simple, according to Daniel Neville, Brand Co-ordinator at Idea Bounty. Just do it. Idea Bounty is a global crowdsourcing platform connecting clients with thousands of creatives around the world in order to help "solve marketing and communications briefs and challenges", says the company. Clients pay for only the ideas they use and creatives receive a "bounty" for winning submissions. It's an idea clearly seeking to cash in on the crowdsourcing phenomenon, one that until now has been associated with profit in the popular imagination. Nic Ray and Rob...

  • Why emerging markets need startup accelerators to produce gold

    While I was living in Silicon Valley for a couple of months earlier this year, I had the opportunity to see how a number of the startup accelerators over there function, and also to speak to a number of tech entrepreneurs that passed through their programmes. The formal definition of an accelerator is a "programme designed to assist startup businesses with financial and/or operational resources that will increase their chance of growth and success". After seeing them for myself, my definition is slightly different. I would suggest that: "Accelerators are schools for entrepreneurs, primarily tech entrepreneurs, where you can do your...

  • Gone in 30 seconds: How Venture Capitalists screen your business plan

    "The average time that a Venture Capitalist spends analysing a business plan is 22 seconds" – Speaker at the 26th Venture Capital Institute, Atlanta, 2000. Since this realisation more than 10 years ago I've often wondered whether it was entirely fair towards entrepreneurs who spend significant time and resources to develop a comprehensive business plan. But top tier venture capitalists (VC's) deal with hundreds of business plans a year, and a decision on whether to take the proposal to the next level or to reject it is often made in less than 30 seconds. This is how: Consider the 'Flight-Path' of...

  • The Big Data revolution: 5 startups mining the trend

    Big Data is, well, big. In the information age, companies are literally drowning in vast oceans of data. Petabytes of data are being gathered everywhere in the digital age at a furious rate, and by a variety of devices. Websites and devices that are collecting data on a large scale include ubiquitous information-sensing mobile devices, cameras, microphones, RFID readers, and wireless sensor networks. Most large corporates are sitting on mines of data by virtue of their everyday operations and vast networks. Social networks have also become information goldmines, generating massive amounts of user data. Harvard Business Review refers to the...

  • 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...

  • 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...