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  • Three days left to apply for SA Innovation Summit’s pitching den, inventor’s garage

    Startups and small businesses with high-growth potential have until midnight on Sunday (9 July) to apply to pitch at the SA Innovation Summit's Pitching Den competition in September. A competition for inventors, also to be run at the summit, also closes this Sunday. In a press release on Monday, summit director Audrey Verhaeghe said the competitions are an important part of the summit, with finalists and winners exposed to a large number of investors. Judges will select 25 finalists by 24 July to take part in the Pitching Den, which is set for 6 and 7 September. The overall winners will be announced at an...

  • Company Office

    Zapacap Optimizing Taxis Will Help Cape Town Transport

    Cape Town has been named as ‘the third most congested city in the world’ -a pretty incredible statistic for the city often named as easy-going, lazy or just, ‘chilled’. With a statistic like that, we have to ask, “What’s going on with Cape Town’s transport?” Too many cars only transport one passenger We have some great roads in Cape Town and municipalities are always quick to fix any potholes that come about as a result of wear and tear. The real problem though is the bottlenecks that occur each morning as a result of some unfortunate road design as well as...

  • Q&A: Cape Town kitesurfer details what it takes to be a digital nomad

    With ever improving technology and a search for a better way to work, many South Africans are turning to the possibility of working remotely, as digital nomads. Cape Town born Justin Nothling, 26, is one such person. A survey last year by employee engagement firm TinyPulse of over 500 US employees who work remotely found they tend to be more satisfied and more productive than office-bound workers. Nothling today runs an online app school cloneable.io, develops apps (such as Zumalator) and is also working on a few projects involving bitcoin. He’s worked remotely for four years now in several countries and is currently in Montenegro, where...

  • SA might be in recession but opportunities are huge – Alphawave chairman

    While South Africa slipped into a recession in the first quarter of this year, Stellenbosch investor and entrepreneur Frans Meyer says the opportunities for innovative companies locally and abroad are "still huge". Meyer is the group executive chairman of local tech company Alphawave. Meyer, together with Gronum Smith started EMSS in 1994. One of their company's now supplies the receivers that are used on South Africa's Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. In May the parent company EMSS Group changed its name to Alphawave in May. 'The specific opportunities for innovative companies, providing products and services locally, abroad, still huge' Meyer responded to various...

  • Five key success factors that ecommerce businesses need to strategically plan for

    New research from Forrester, The Five Key Success Factors of Every Digital Business, has identified five key success factors that ecommerce businesses need to strategically plan for as they launch or expand their organisations. Having the right people, the right organisational structure and an innovative idea for online sales is largely what defines a successful organisation. To flourish in the age of the customer, companies will need to tackle digital business transformation to increase their value to their customers and remain responsive to an ever-changing marketplace. The most successful retail ecommerce organisations share five key leadership characteristics that positively impact their businesses. These characteristics...

  • Awethu Project app to provide virtual incubation to informal entrepreneurs

    South African business support organisation The Awethu Project has launched an app for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners, intended as a "business coach in your pocket". Awethu Project CEO Yusuf Randera-Rees said in a press release following the official launch of the app on June 16 that the Awethu Project App enables informal entrepreneurs to start and grow a business, make more money, and improve their lives. “Over the last four years, 100 000 people applied to our incubator. We only had the resources to incubate the top 2 100, and those entrepreneurs have created over 2 500 jobs. Now, it’s...

  • SA fitness app Fitkey heads for 1000 paid subscribers almost two years after launch

    Almost two years after it launched local startup Fitkey has almost a 1000 paid subscribers, with about 3000 users signed up to the browse the site. It all started when Ohio-born Evan Walther, who has a background marketing for tech startups in the US, came on a two-week holiday back in 2014 and fell in love with Cape Town. Walther is due to speak tonight at Startup Grind Pretoria (see details here). With the city being close to nature and with its abundance of good restaurants, it was so much like Cornell University in Ithaca in upstate New York that he decided...

  • Q&A: Focus on creating unicorn for SA is misdirected says Justin Stanford

    Any overt focus by South African ecosystem players on creating the country's first unicorn is a "misdirection of attention" says venture capitalist and founder of 4Di Capital Justin Stanford. With the number of multi-million acquisition deals concluded by South African startups seemingly on the increase of late, Stanford says the country should rather focus on systematically repeatable value creation. 'Focus on headline number of $1-billion valuation is misdirection of attention' It follows the $445-million sale of Kapa Biosystems in 2015 and, more recently, the $123-million GetSmarter deal announced in May. Read more: Are these the 10 all-time biggest exit deals for SA startups? Responding to emailed questions from Ventureburn, Stanford...

  • FSB misses its own crowdfunding deadline

    South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) has missed a June 30 deadline on considering whether to regulate equity crowdfunding or not. A FSB spokesperson in April said the authority had set a date of 30 June by which it planned to rule on whether to craft specific rules or not for equity crowdfunding. It followed the completion of a research report by the FSB on crowdfunding. Read more: South Africa’s FSB to rule on crowdfunding by June 30 However Felicity Mabaso, the FSB's head of department for FAIS Supervision, stressed that the "crowdfunding project" is still a work in progress. "We have scheduled further engagements...

  • Agri-Vie Fund exit from Fairfield sees investors reap over three times in returns

    Investors in the $100-million Agri-Vie Fund I have scored big with the fund today announcing its first exit, from one of South Africa’s most respected dairy companies Fairfield Dairy. A private investment trust linked to the Lang family which founded the diary has agreed to buy Agri-Vie’s stake in the KwaZulu-Natal-based dairy producer. While the fund would not disclosed the sale figure, Agri-Vie co-founder and managing partner Herman Marais said the return on the investment exceeded the fund's objectives -- which is usually to return to investors between 2.5 to 3 times of the invested capital. The fund's initial investment of about $4-million in Fairfield diaries was made in 2009. Marais said...

  • Machine learning is fast becoming business imperative for marketing

    Imagine a world ruled by robots, where artificial intelligence (AI) is used to wield commercial influence and drive our daily decisions. Imagine if your every move was predictable, your behaviours easily anticipated, your world reduced to a set of probabilities. This might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but this isn’t a dreamed up dystopian reality -- in fact, it’s the world we’re living in today. But machine learning isn’t the stuff of nightmares conjured up in futuristic Hollywood thrillers -- in fact, it’s something with which most of us are very familiar, thanks to its prolific use in...