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  • Ecommerce advertising: Online has its own rules baby

    While at the Online Retail Conference last week in Cape Town, Danie Strachan from Adams and Adams gave a very succinct presentation on the CPA (Consumer Protection Act) and POPI (Protection of Personal Information). Filled with this information, I’m pretty sure many retailers went and made a few small changes to their offerings to legalise them. All good. But the online world has its own set of rules. You may very well be abiding by the laws of your country, but not those of the internet. Or vice versa. Here are just a few ways that you can either “get...

  • Company Office

    Slide app, SA's own version of Venmo, aims to boost person-to-person payments

    South Africa has just got its own version of Venmo, one of the US’s most successful payment platforms owned by PayPal that processes $25-billion in person-to-person payments annually. The Slide app is founded by three young South Africans who recently returned from living in the US -- Irshad Kathrada, Terence Goldberg and Alon Stern. The three have developed the app to change the way South Africans pay each other. Kathrada, worked for JP Morgan in Johannesburg, London and New York; Terence Goldberg, worked in Toronto and San Francisco; and Alon Stern moved to the US from South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship where he worked at...

  • CityMob: How a startup pivoted from group-buying into flash sales

    CityMob, the group buying site started by three entrepreneurs in Cape Town, South Africa in early 2011, has made a significant change in direction as the shake-out in the group buying market continues. Although profitable at the time, the trio – Luke Jedeikin, Claude Hanan and Daniel Solomon – have decided to move away from the mass discount, quantity over quality focus in much of the group buying space. As their competitors closed up shop, including the Naspers-backed Dealify and the Avusa-backed Zappon, the CityMob founders had already identified their key differentiator and were planning the relaunch of their...

  • Innovative new funding platform Corculture.com launches in SA

    A while ago, we wrote about the partnership between FNB Private Clients and AngelHub, which gives startups access to a pool of high-income investors. In the same way, a new online investment platform, Corculutre.com gives both established and early stage businesses the opportunity to virtually pitch their businesses to a group of 30 private equity and VC funders with funds available to the tune of ZAR250 million. To ensure a better chance of fostering successful relationships between entrepreneurs and investors, the platform's team carefully assesses deals before listing them on Corculture.com -- things like product or service demand and an...

  • Journey: an astoundingly smart solution for building data-gathering mobile apps

    In 2009, four guys based out of a dorm room in Stellenbosch started working on something quite extraordinary. It’s called Journey and it’s a bold new approach to building data-gathering mobile apps. Blasting off today, Journey straddles a line somewhere between a low-level mobile platform and traditional "form builder". It hopes to resonate with businesses and NGOs that are looking to digitise or improve data capturing elements in their workflows, especially paper-based ones. Philip Joubert, co-founder of the company behind Journey, Embark Mobile, believes the best way for businesses to capture data for their internally facing processes, is through mobile...

  • Is Siyavula the answer to South Africa’s textbook crisis?

    What would the tech solution to the textbook crisis in South Africa be? One solution would be to use the open-source model to write the content and distribute it through all channels including mobile. Then, engage via social-media. That is exactly what Mark Horner and his team of 14 at Siyavula have done. Siyavula facilitated writing sessions with volunteers to produce South African curriculum aligned textbooks under an Open Copyright license. This content was then handed over to the South African Department of Basic Education for free. With huge economies of scale, Government printers were able to print 2.5 million...

  • Remember China’s only US IPO of 2012? It’s doing rather well right now

    Remember VIPShop (NYSE:VIPS), the Chinese flash eCommerce sales site that’s the only company from China to list fully in the US this whole year? After an initial rough ride right after its IPO debut at $6.50 per share in March, it’s now having a superb week and closed yesterday at $8.00, giving it a market cap of $404.55 million.Chinese media have been having a field day with that latter stat, highlighting that it takes VIPShop higher in value than the Amazon-esque eCommerce site Dangdang (NYSE:DANG), which was the first Chinese B2C e-tailer to go public in the US. VIPShop...

  • What’s for dinner? Decide with Daily Dish, the service that shops for you

    Daily Dish is as a menu planning and grocery shopping service for "busy people" who want to eat delicious, cook-it-yourself food at home. We'd venture that it's also a godsend for South Africans looking to improve their culinary skills. Launched in September this year, Daily Dish allows "ordinary home cooks" to select dishes from a weekly menu; the ingredients and step-by-step recipes for these dishes are then delivered, same day, if the orders are placed before 10AM. Daily Dish co-founder Diane de Villiers tells us that the service was born out of "pure personal frustration." She paints the all too familiar...

  • Google for Entrepreneurs: a boon for emerging market startups

    Google reckons there are about 400 million entrepreneurs out there in the world and it wants to see that number increase. The search giant recently celebrated its 14th birthday by launching Google for Entrepreneurs, a hub for its several dozen programmes and partnerships that support startups and entrepreneurs. The initiative that aims to boost entrepreneurial activities within local communities has projects running in 30 countries around the world including those in emerging markets such as India, South Africa, Kenya, Israel, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Egypt, Morocco, Russia and Brazil. Google also supports Startup Weekend, the 54 hour weekend incubators...

  • Art.sy: For the art lover and the art interested

    You know how Spotify and iTunes can tell the kind of music you might like based on previous purchases and listening habits? The same way Foursquare can tell you what restaurants you might like, ever wish there was a tool like that for art? Now there is and it's called Art.sy. Art.sy, is a genome project for art. Think Pandora for art. According to Pandodaily, the New York company has been building its art "database of tagged and categorized works of art" since 2010. "Art.sy’s mission is to make all the world’s art freely accessible to anyone with an internet...

  • 5 Ghanaian startups recognised at inaugural TopApps Awards

    Ghana, a strong West African tech startup region, played host to the first ever TopApps Awards ceremony, held in Accra last week. The ceremony recognised leading web and mobile applications in 10 categories and were decided through a mix of public voting and deliberation by judges. Of the 65 nominees, MEST incubator startup Dropifi walked away as overall winners, followed by 233Law, winner of two categories. Dropifi The team behind Dropifi are re-imagining one of the web’s oldest and most resolute elements, the “Contact us” form. The Dropifi solution consists of a website plug-in, optional QR code (for print-outs) and an analytics tool....