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  • 13 Asian startups that caught our attention

    From Singapore to China, the startup scene in Asia is becoming more crowded by the day. Here are a just a few of the up-and-coming businesses that are gaining ground in the region and beyond. 1. The Mobile Gamer | Singapore The Mobile Gamer (TMG) is a Singapore startup that builds mobile games on platforms like mig33, as well as, Kotagames, TMG’s very own platform. 2. Harpoen | Indonesia Indonesia’s Harpoen is a location-based messaging platform and wants users to leave digital marks at their locations. It has recently rolled out a major update and has tens of thousands of users...

  • Company Office

    How insurtech partnerships are disrupting traditional sectors for the better

    South Africa’s funeral insurance market is booming. It is the most prevalent type of insurance in the country, with the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri) reporting that just under 90% of cover falls into this sector. In a digitally-driven world, service providers in this space no longer necessarily look the same. In fact, many traditional insurers are now looking to combine forces with technology (fintech) and insurance technology (insurtech) companies, which can often quickly draw large client numbers through innovative and nimble offerings. Research by PwC shows that nine out of 10 insurance companies fear losing business to fintech startups, but...

  • Why entrepreneurs will rule the world (for the next while)

    The world has changed in the last 10 years. The rate of technological development has rocketed -- in part due to the high number of working engineers, the boom of the internet and self-perpetuating human empowerment which has resulted. The outcome of this rapid change has caused a fracturing of the traditional business model and the rise of the niche mega-market solutions. Conventional business has been a strong proponent of the idea of managing through processes and control in order to convert chaos into order. Historically this has been very effective as it allowed efficiency and overall risk management. In...

  • 500 Startups expands emerging market footprint to China

    Insanely popular business accelerator 500 Startups is expanding its emerging market footprint to China reports The Next Web. Former associate at The Raine Group, venture capitalist Rui Ma, has joined the company to help to launch the Beijing outpost. 500 Startups was founded in 2010 by high profile Silicon Valley Angel investor, Dave McClure. The organisation describes itself as a seed accelerator with a tech bias. According to a TechCrunch report, Ma has worked in the region over the last few years, specifically providing investment and advisory services through merchant bank The Raine Group, notable as an advisor to China’s biggest...

  • Screw Silicon Valley, Brazil actually has a startup show worth watching

    Anyone on the tech startup scene will have at least heard mention of a Silicon Valley reality TV show. Well Brazil looked at that, called bullshit and produced a show about startups that looks like it'll be worth watching. The Silicon Valley show's executive producer was Randi Zuckerburg (sister of Mark) and by all accounts, it was about as entertaining as getting hit in the head with a wet trout. Brazil's Go For It by contrast follows a more documentary-style way of doing things to tell the story of a handful of startups. The trailer obviously portrays them in...

  • 18 questions you should ask a VC before you sign your startup away

    So you have been lucky: your idea is the next Google and investors have decided put a pile of money into it. This is all good news -- after all, it is not easy to impress venture capitalists. Building a company from scratch is a very difficult business and you need to be prepared. Choosing the right VC is a tough decision. I was once told by a VC that the relationship between a startup and its VC is very much like a marriage. It is a long-term commitment that is full of struggles and disagreements and it is quite...

  • As it readies its $109m venture fund, Japan’s Docomo invests in 500 Startups

    Japanese telco NTT Docomo announced today that the company is ready to open the 10 billion yen (US$109-million) venture fund that it teased back in October. To make it happen, Docomo, through its US-based subsidiary Docomo Capital, will make an investment in the US-based incubation fund 500 Startups so as to help its incubated mobile-related startups get some traction in overseas markets. The incubation program that it announced before has actually opened today, and is taking startup registrations up until March 11th. Selected companies will receive various resources and guidance, including seed funding of up to 2-million yen (US$23 000) in convertible notes, office...

  • Incubator Fledge closes funding round as its startup BURN gets cooking

    Young startup incubator Fledge, and the most successful company from its 2012 summer programme, BURN Manufacturing, had a fruitful week after closing the first round of its venture capital funding. BURN, a company addressing cookstove problems in the developing world, managed to secure a whopping US$3-million loan from the federal Overseas Private Investment Corporation and a US$1-million investment from General Electric. This around the same time that Fledge’s first round brought in US$307 000 -- enough money to back the seven companies from Fledge’s 2012 summer as well as those in the next round, beginning on 18 February, co-founder and managing director...

  • 7 things about your pitch the dragons hated

    When you are pitching to a venture capitalist or angel investor, it's like venturing into a dragon's lair and attempting to convince the fire-breathing monster to give you one of its golden eggs. It's a no-nonsense matter and one bad move could end your entrepreneurial ambitions. Startups often think that once they have an idea, chances are it is rock star worthy and any self-respecting VC will be bonkers not to fork over piles of money to back their venture. Not so. Yes, some people get lucky, most need to work really hard at it. When you approach the...

  • Will the proposed US startup visa help the world connect with Silicon Valley?

    The Obama administration is making a push for the 'startup visa' that will encourage foreign nationals with advanced tech degrees to stay in the US to start up enterprises. Two things attract entrepreneurs, and this type of individual would usually flock to where these two things are: money and a market. It would make little sense to start up a business if you don’t have a market in mind, and it would not be viable if there would be no economic returns down the road. Let’s face it — in terms of technology startups, Silicon Valley is still the place to be....

  • How the internet is beginning to transform Egypt’s economy

    A study by Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has revealed the great potential behind an internet-driven economy. The country at the heart of the study, surprisingly, is not Europe’s golden-boy Germany or South America’s fire-bearer Brazil, it is Egypt: a country that, not too long ago, looked in a dire state during the Arab Spring. Two years on though, and Egypt’s economy is thriving, mostly due to hundreds of startups using the internet to grow their business, and the ripple effects this creates. The numbers are impressive: 31-million internet users in Egypt (the largest in the Middle East) Mobile penetration...