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  • GoGifting seizes social gifting gap after Rocket Internet bins DropGifts SA plans

    Last year, we reported that DropGifts, Rocket Internet's social gifting startup was about to enter South Africa. Fast forward roughly a year, and there is still no trace of the Wrapp-clone. What happened? Kevin Tucker, the serial-entrepreneur who would have headed up DropGifts South Africa, tells Ventureburn that Rocket Internet was due to launch DropGifts in 27 countries, but scratched South Africa off the list days before the launch. "We were due to launch within days and they suddenly, due to all sorts of operational issues, decided not to launch in South Africa." Tucker founded shopping comparison service PriceCheck, which was acquired...

  • Company Office

    Why now is the best time to invest in battery technology metals

    For those who use online trading brokers to monitor global markets and make investments, finding the next profitable trade can prove to be challenging given the sheer amount of choice they are presented with. Precious metals like gold and silver are popular ‘safe haven’ assets, but are often less effective for making a decent profit. Recently, there has been a lot of interest in battery technology metals, which could be far more effective for turning a decent profit. Here are some of the reasons now might be a good time to invest in them. Electric cars Most investors should be well aware of...

  • 88mph leverages BlackBox Connect to pull in serious and global entrepreneurs

    Seed accelerator 88mph isn't content just offering entrepreneurs funding and mentorship with its upcoming three-month acceleration programme in Nairobi. Now its sweetening the deal for startups who apply before 31 May with a chance to visit Silicon Valley for two weeks. One lucky startup will participate in the Blackbox Connect Summer 2013, a two-week "immersion" programme for founders based outside of the USA taking place from 15-26 July in Atherton, California. The programme is effectively an exchange: startups live and collaborate with other entrepreneurs from around the globe while based in the Atherton mansion. The two weeks will be chock full...

  • Dineplan: a unique dish or just another restaurant booking service?

    Dineplan is launching its digital reservations system for restaurants today. While it joins a veritable smorgasbord of web-based restaurant reservation systems, Dineplan's customer profiling and trend analysis features look promising. The service is management-focused. There's no patron-facing restaurant database to browse; instead, the South African-bred Dineplan is all about helping restaurants manage their reservation processes -- from the real-time booking plugin that restaurant owners can add to their websites, to statistics and analytics. A nice departure from traditional web-based offerings, Dineplan offers an offline mode, which allows restaurateurs to view bookings even if there their internet connectivity temporarily goes...

  • Everything you need to know about 88mph Nairobi from Nikolai Barnwell

    Seed accelerator 88mph's Nairobi director Nikolai Barnwell spoke to Ventureburn about its upcoming three-month acceleration programme in the Kenyan capital: what they look for in a startup, mentors and the African investment space. Whether you're an entrepreneur considering entering the programme, or just interested in tech in Kenya and Africa, you won't want to miss this Q&A. What does 88mph value in a startup? Are you looking for innovation or sound business models? I don’t think they necessarily contradict each other. More often than not they do work alongside each other. Primarily we look at teams. In such an early stage in...

  • Launch48 Cape Town: 5 startups that could become real businesses?

    Can you come up with an idea, build a business and launch that business in 48 hours? That's what the folks at Launch48 try to do a monthly basis. Take a bunch of aspiring entrepreneurs, give them a space to work for 48 hours and see that they come up with. According to the initiative since its inception in 2009 "Launch48 has helped over 50 startups, with alumni going on to accelerators such as 500 Startups, Seedcamp, Springboard, and Oxygen Accelerator". "Launch48 is a valuable part of the startup eco-system and anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur should look to...

  • Beyond stickers: how messaging app Line plans to keep on growing

    Popular mobile messaging chat app Line has got off to an interesting start. It was created by NHN Japan, with the Japanese and Korean team inspired by the tragic earthquake that happened in Japan in 2011. When SMS and calls were unreliable during the disaster, data messaging became the primary mode of communication. As Line’s popularity grew, the app was spun-off in February this year into the Line Corp subsidiary. Besides facilitating chats between users, it has truly become a mobile platform incorporating different digital content including games and manga. But growing to 150-million users in less than two...

  • Secrecy: the silent killer of innovation

    We've long lamented over how secretive Africa's startup communities are, especially South Africa and its crown jewel, Cape Town, which is supposed to be a beacon for the continent's entrepreneurial community. As an emerging market with defiant ambition we love to draw parallels between promising African innovation hubs and Silicon Valley, and yes there is promise, but we are sorely lacking openness, a cornerstone trait of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems. A lack of openness is perhaps as much a symptom of a fledgling ecosystem, as it is a weed that needs to be plucked before it spreads to become stock culture....

  • Promote your business online with Emerging Stars

    Have a sustainable business plan that needs funding? Emerging Stars might help you out. Operating mainly in emerging markets and driven by models of sustainability, the organization links entrepreneurs' products and services with international investors and distributors. Although the website was launched in 2008, the site's design recently got revamped into having "a sustainable business model" while also focusing on its "free business listings." "Opportunities in Emerging Markets" reads the slogan of the company. The initiative was founded by Raymond Hasselerharm in an attempt to promote foreign trade and investment as well as help relieving poverty. The initiative first...

  • The InMobi story: how an Indian startup became a global mobile ad network

    Founder and CEO of mobile ad network giant InMobi Naveen Tewari has come a long way. Tewari is an engineer by training, studied at Harvard Business School, and worked at consulting firm McKinsey. In between all that, Tewari also had some experience working in startups while he was in Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurs being entrepreneurs, Tewari was very fascinated with the rapidly changing mobile internet. He wanted to build something which he could call his own. Tewari and his team started to dabble and among their first few projects was a VOIP application and also a chat application. But it was...

  • Hackers take on kids’ rooms, get them to eat their veggies

    Having trouble keeping your kids entertained or getting them to eat their veggies? Maybe hackers can help you. The winners of the latest Hellocomputer/DraftFCB hackathon certainly look like they're onto something in that regard. The winning entry in the 48-hour hackathon was a hacked kids’ room which was converted into a gaming station. Sensors allowed kids to jump on the bed while being mirrored by their imaginary friend, pilot a rocket-propelled dinosaur through space as well as play a multiplayer pillow fight and -- via a score counter -- see who won. The kids meanwhile went for...

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