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  • If I see another Chinese eCommerce startup, I may get sick

    It seems like one in every three startups I come across these days — especially in China — is an e-commerce startup. I understand why this is the case. People look at companies like Alibaba and think, ‘holy cow, there’s an awful lot of money to be made here.’ Or they look at a company like La Miu working in a niche and think, ‘hey, there’s room for me in there.’ No, there isn’t. Also, I hate you. I get that you want to do a startup, but China has e-commerce sites, both big and niche. Your idea for a...

  • Company Office

    Designing for emerging markets, the challenges businesses face in Africa

    Emerging markets are full of opportunity for the clever entrepreneur. Across Africa, Asia and South America are countries with millions of underserved consumers. These people may be living on very little, but their basic needs are similar to those of wealthier people in more developed countries. In their paper, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, C.K Prahalad and Stuart L. Hart explain that “low-income markets present a prodigious opportunity for the world’s wealthiest companies to seek their fortunes and bring prosperity to the poor.” This opportunity exists for any company, whether it’s wealthy or not. Designing for emerging markets,...

  • Slick, two-step brand mobiliser MHub courting restaurant owners

    There are many, many services that allow you to create a free mobile site for your business. Few however, are as slick as MHub, a South African born service that makes it desperately simple to "mobilise" your brand. Ventureburn took the service for a spin and created a very smooth looking mobile site for Memeburn, Ventureburn's sister site, in a matter of minutes. The site automagically resizes itself according a viewer's browser window, which keeps the MHub mobisite looking good on both smartphones and tablets. The team at MHub announced today, the introduction of "mobi widgets", the first of which is...

  • Pitching 101: lessons from a Startup Weekend

    The power of the pitch cannot be denied, and for many entrepreneurs who participated in the recent Startup Weekend Cape Town event, the hard truths about what works and what doesn't hit home. The event is unique in many ways -- most of all is that entrepreneurs and innovators have to convince fellow participants that their idea is a winner, and thereby gain their support and buy-in for an intense 48-hour process to refine these startup ideas. Throughout the weekend the teams have the opportunity to develop and hone their business concepts with mentorship from seasoned industry experts. One such expert...

  • 40 African news innovators you need to know about

    Google has just announced the finalists in its African News Challenge, a project aimed at strengthening and transforming African news media. Forty digital journalism projects have been shortlisted as finalists from a pool of 513 applicants. The applications screened by a technical review panel that evaluated which projects have the best potential for strengthening and transforming African news media. Short-listed finalists include proposals to improve data-driven investigative journalism and the security of journalists or their sources, as well as improve audience engagement, mobile news distribution, data visualization, new revenue models and workflow systems. The challenge's funders and partners...

  • Vinny Lingham’s Gyft launches, is TechCrunch Disrupt finalist

    Back in April we gave you an exclusive peek at ex Yola chief Vinny Lingham's new startup Gyft. Now you can try it out yourself following the social gifting service's launch at TechCrunch Disrtupt San Francisco. Lingham, who started Gyft after resigning as CEO of his successful website builder and hosting service Yola, officially announced the launch on his blog. According to the South African-born entrepreneur, the company also "confirmed for the first time that we raised our financing from Google Ventures, 500 Startups, Founder Collective (and more)". Gyft is a mobile gift card app that allows users to store,...

  • IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program extended to South Africa

    This is big. IBM South Africa today confirmed that its Global Entrepreneur Program will for the first time, be extended to entrepreneurs in South Africa. Startups that are privately held, have been in business for five years or less and are actively engaged in developing a software based product or service, are being called on to sign up for this global initiative. “The Global Entrepreneur Programme is focused on helping early stage entrepreneurs to capture emerging business opportunities, especially in fast growing industries such as energy, utilities, healthcare and telecommunications. We are looking to convert startups to speed-ups by providing...

  • African incubator encourages social entrepreneurship to improve young lives

    Ventureburn readers from Chad, DRC, Rwanda, Senegal and Tanzania might find this compelling. GSM network Millicom, operating under the Tigo brand, and non-profit organisation Reach for Change, are launching a programme to improve the lives of children in the aforementioned African countries, through social entrepreneurship -- creating innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems. Social entrepreneurs with the strongest and most promising ideas will be invited to join a three year incubator programme where they will work on transforming their ideas into sustainable ventures. The entrepreneurs chosen to join the incubator will receive salary funding as well as mentoring...

  • 20+ Chinese eCommerce players you should keep an eye on

    eCommerce is a massive industry in China. This sector presently generates revenue close to 2 trillion RMB ($315 billion) and there are plans set by the authorities for the industry to hit 2.8 trillion RMB (US$441-billion) by 2015. There are thousands of eCommerce sites in the Chinese market, where literally almost anything can be bought online. So which ones have made the biggest impact in China’s online shopping space? We have shortlisted over 20 eCommerce sites below which we think you should look out for. 1. Taobao.com Alibaba-owned Taobao is no stranger to eCommerce industry. The C2C giant sells almost everything, literally, from notebooks...

  • Jump Shopping is now uAfrica.com, widens eCommerce scope

    Jump Shopping, the popular South African comparative shopping service, has been rebranded as uAfrica.com The company has been operating in the eCommerce space since 2004 and aims to cover all aspects of eCommerce. This includes price comparison through uPrice.co.za -- essentially a rebranded version of Jump Shopping -- as well as friendly domain name registration and management services through uWeb.co.za -- uAfrica.com is an accredited co.za domain registrar with Uniforum South Africa. The company also provides eCommerce consultancy to eCommerce businesses, conducts eCommerce research and eCommerce training. Andy Higgins, founder and former Managing Director of Bid or Buy, teamed up...

  • Beauty subscription startup rubybox receives funding from HPV Africa

    Rubybox, the innovative, try-before-you-buy beauty subscription startup, announced that it has received funding from venture capitalist Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa, for an undisclosed sum. As part of the investment, rubybox is acquiring GlamBox SA, its major current competitor in the local beauty box market, making rubybox the dominant player in South Africa. “We are thrilled about the investment as we’re certain it, together with our 360 degree approach that pairs trial and education which leads to re-purchase, will help us grow rubybox to be the leading content-driven eCommerce beauty site in South Africa,” says Sylvia Gruber, rubybox co-founder and CEO. Ventureburn...