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  • Startup insights from the Aspen Institute’s state of global business

    Last week, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs released its impact report on the state of global business. According to the organisation, one of the biggest factors hindering growth in emerging markets is access to loans and funds. "We live in a world today in which one of the biggest problems that we face is a lack of jobs. As we think about what’s going in the Middle East and North Africa, and the challenges that we see in Africa, we need to create jobs," said ANDE Executive Director Randall Kempner, quoted in the Wall Street Journal. Kempner argues that...

  • Company Office

    Mayibuye Film Festival on Wabona

    Wabona, one of Africa’s premiere video streaming services is happy to announce a ground breaking partnership with Cape Town based Gravel Road Entertainment. On the 13th of April 2014 Gravel Road Entertainment’s Retro Afrika Bioscope launches the Mayibuye Film Festival on SABC 1.  The festival will run for three weeks, airing two never before seen films every Sunday in which Wabona and Cinemo, Wabona’s mobile service, will be released 2 hours after broadcast free for its users on both services. This will be a first as Gravel Road and Wabona will be releasing film content on three media platforms within...

  • The UCWeb story: the turning points that grew the startup to 400m users

    With more than 400-million users of its UC Browser, China’s UCWeb is probably one of most popular mobile browser makers in the world. UCWeb CEO Yu Yongfu tells us that that the company’s first product started as a BlackBerry Messenger type of service called UCMail. Unfortunately, it didn’t take off. But the team was quick to realize that people weren’t using UCMail. Rather, they wanted an application that could help them browse the web. So in 2004, UCMail rebranded to UCWeb, which stands for “U Can Web”, to being a full-fledged mobile browser. In 2006, with a team of 12, Yongfu...

  • The most comprehensive guide to the SA startup landscape ever [2013]

    Update: For an updated guide to South Africa's startup landscape, click here. You have just arrived on South Africa's startup scene, you're lost and not sure where to start, or what to do next. You have inherited millions and you're looking to invest through an Angel Network and its safety in numbers. Your company is great but your growth strategy is a bit lacking. Don't worry, there are places, people, organisations and events to look to for advice and information. We have scoured South Africa's entrepreneurial landscape and hand-picked some of the top players to get you started. Bookmark this one....

  • Figuring out whether to bootstrap or find a VC overlord? Read this first

    We love the idea of bootstrapping here -- we even have a guide to it. Recently I have been noticing a movement toward bootstrapping. It seems that it's the way to go if you want to avoid being "screwed" by the lovely people known as Venture Capitalists (VCs). But is it really? Many people make the argument for bootstrapping and I am mostly inclined to agree with them, at the very least in the idea stage. The biggest argument for bootstrapping is valuation. At the idea stage, valuing your company is more of an art than concrete science. Approaching an...

  • Startup Blitz: Dream Mobile, low-cost handsets for the African consumer

    The rising African consumer-market is on the verge of blooming, and waiting to be tapped into. At the center of it all is the mobile device: a vessel that empowers the consumer by connecting them to the internet, and gives them access to the world's information and, let's not forget, (paid) content. Recognising this potential is startup Dream Mobile, a manufacturer of low-cost smart handsets for the African market. Its Dream Phones are packed with functionality and power at a really competitive price. For example its Dream A2 phone retails for R1 699 (around US$169) and sports a similar...

  • Adfu partners with social network Yookos to extend reach in Africa

    Adfu, online marketing company situated in Johannesburg, has recently partnered with Yookos which is the popular Africa-born social network site. The partnership aims to both increase market reach into a more defined growing African market and to drive advertising and future revenue. Adfu is part of a network of sites owned by Kagiso Media. Kagiso Digital has launched the AdFu network in 2012 to offer a range of opportunities within vertical markets to advertisers and niche publishers. The company has since included a host of online publishers such as Nation Media, Sky News, Sky Sports, and the Teamtalk...

  • Every1Mobile closes R18m angel round, announces 3 million monthly visits

    Every1Mobile (E1M), the company that specialises in building mass audiences via mobile in sub-Saharan Africa, announced that it has raised R18-million in angel investment. The company that runs its core operations from Cape Town, operates nine mobile sites covering education, health, jobs and entertainment aimed at the 15 to 35 age group. E1M, headquartered in the UK was founded in 2010. It uses the power of its mobile-enabled social networks to attract organisations that would like to target sub-Saharan Africa's younger demographic. E1M claims a usage statistics of 3 million monthly visits to its sites and says that it serves 25...

  • 7 things every entrepreneur should understand when starting a business

    Being an entrepreneur is hard. You quit your nice paying job with your awesome corner office to start something because your grandmother thought it was a good idea. Now you have a URL, a product and it actually might work. It's time to become a company, get investors onboard with your idea and take it to market. These and many other issues must keep entrepreneurs up at night. I recently attended the Knife Capital and AngelHub run Find, Make, Grow and Realise at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business. The programme, which was launched last year,...

  • Premier news site Daily Maverick offers qualifying startups free advertising

    At a time when many online newsrooms are shuttering their content behind paywalls in the wake of trickling advertising revenues, one of South Africa's premier news sites, Daily Maverick (DM), is launching free advertising packages for qualifying businesses. Following a successful trial period, Daily Maverick is launching the initiative with the aim of helping small ventures get more exposure. While digital marketing is accessible to large businesses, small businesses are often cash-strapped and forgo digital channels -- Daily Maverick reckons its offer is worth about R20 000. "Small businesses face a myriad of marketing and advertising choices and many simply...

  • 88mph calls on local investors to back 2014 fund, before heading overseas

    88mph has had a busy year so far closing up its 2013 Cape Town programme, but the startup accelerator is showing no signs of slowing down as it now turns its attention to next year. The priority is to begin fundraising for the 2014 fund, and the mobile-web centric programme wants local investors to get involved before it heads off overseas on 23 June to search for international investors. The ticket size is US$15 000 to US$100 000. It might not be a lot of time, but 88mph has some impressive numbers to back up its performance. US$2-million has been committed...

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