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  • Ad network startup secures R15m VC funding for int’l expansion

    Cape Town-based online and mobile advertising network Ad Dynamo has announced a second round of funding via venture capital firm Invenfin, the Remgro Group's investment arm. Its CEO, Sean Riley, says the capital will be used to fund Ad Dynamo’s "international expansion programme into key foreign territories". Riley refused to discuss the funding amount but an insider close to the deal told Memeburn that the investment is in "the R15-million region". The source claimed the new VC tranche would value the company at between US$8-10-million. Riley famously took Google South Africa to the Competition Commission in 2008 in a...

  • Company Office

    SA consumers no longer willing to pay a premium for big name brands

    Prior to the arrival of the Digital era, marketers and advertisers gained insight into consumer sentiment via door-to-door visits, lengthy paper surveys and tedious questionnaires. Now, by simply scrutinising what consumers are searching for online – and more specifically – which search terms they are actually using, companies and marketers can get an accurate take on what consumers actually want (and what they are concerned about). “In recent years, people have been spending a significant portion of their budgets on mobile phones and connectivity, especially given the initial aura around brands such as Blackberry and Apple, coupled with the fixation...

  • Why startups move to Silicon Valley

    I'm constantly meeting companies that have moved part of their operations to San Francisco/Silicon Valley. Usually it is the CEO and/or the marketing and sales group that moves. Loic Le Meur, a serial entrepreneur, founder of Seesmic, did the same several years ago, moving to San Francisco from Paris. In a guest column in the UK Daily Telegraph newspaper, Le Meur explains why he moved: "In the Valley, the best companies, entrepreneurs and investors are all in one place. It feels like a campus. Everything you do, from the morning run to the coffee run, is a networking opportunity." Compare this to...

  • New online classifieds site targets South African market

    MIH Naspers, South Africa's internet powerhouse, launches a brand new online classifieds venture on Monday in a bid to become market-leader in a field that is currently dominated by eBay's Gumtree. Kalahariads.net is offering "a user-friendly, feature-rich portal that provides customers with access to the widest classified network in South Africa". Naspers has accumulated extensive experience in the field with international properties such as OLX, Brazil's BuscaPe and Allegro, and plans to take all that it has learned and apply it to the new South African classifieds portal. Leveraging the well-respected Kalahari brand name, and a firm foothold in print...

  • WeLove: ‘Because sometimes a Like just isn’t enough’

    We have become a society that likes to "Like" and share our preferences with everyone we know. Millions of people join all sorts of Facebook groups to show their support for causes or their own interests. But the sheer size of Facebook and the number of groups available can often result in information overload that we just end up ignoring. We need quicker, simpler, more instantaneous ways of sharing our “likes” and maybe our “dislikes”. "Sometimes a Like isn't enough” according to WeLove.net, a new niche location-based social media site, which also includes a set of mobile applications. WeLove.net is...

  • The startling rise of Groupon, and predictions of the fall [Infographic]

    Groupon and the collective-buying model that it spawned is the darling of social web. The company began in the United States in 2008 and has grown rapidly to include 38 different territories, all offering the basic deal-of-the-day model to more than 35-million registered users. It gained instant fame when it declined a purchase offer of US$6-billion from Google. In case you still don't know, Groupon's business model works like this: You reserve your deal by clicking the “Buy Now” button and entering your credit card details. Once the required number of people have signed up to the daily offer, the deal...

  • Prominent SA startup FireID hits the skids

    FireID, a Stellenbosch-based startup specialising in mobile authentication, will probably be forced to close its doors or dramatically downscale after news that its main investor has pulled its funding. The main source of funding was via the Luxembourg-based Reinet Fund S.C.A., run by billionaire Johann Rupert, who invested in the company through Cape Town VC 4DiCapital. The company employs just under 40 people. Justin Stanford, who runs 4DiCapital, told Memeburn on Wednesday night that Reinet's refusal to renew the funding "came as a surprise". "It's been an emotional day... We were confident of a renewal due to FireID's revenue," he said. Stanford...

  • Groupon moves into South Africa, India, Israel via new acquisitions

    Groupon, the famous collective online buying phenomenon, has announced the launch of Groupon India, Groupon Israel and Groupon South Africa via acquisitions of similar daily-deal sites in those countries, namely SoSasta, Grouper, and Twangoo. Using the principles of collective buying, Groupon negotiates discounts with businesses and shares them with subscribers via free daily emails. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy, encouraging subscribers to share the promotion with family and friends. By guaranteeing a large number of new customers, Groupon has created a marketing vehicle for local merchants in thousands of cities...

  • Mobilitate: A social media platform that takes on government

    Social media has become the proverbial soap-box for causes, issues and many things that need a voice. Social media campaigns spear-headed by individuals often lose momentum because they fail to mobilise people. The power of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogs lie in the fact that they empower individuals to publish, influence and make a cause known. But that's the ideal world. The reality is that the impact most individuals can make on a regular basis is limited, fragmented and not coordinated. Enter Mobilitate -- a platform that allows an individual to coordinate a response using various social media tools to...

  • Facebook IPO: ‘Suddenly it feels like 1999’

    The high valuation of Facebook on secondary share markets might be out of line with its revenues but it does show one thing: A large investor appetite for investing in leading Silicon Valley companies. The fact that the investors are making large bets without having access to the underlying financial information is similar to the wild days of the dotcom boom, when companies were able to IPO on the basis of very little proven financial information. Investors were happy to pay high multiples for a stake in a business that might have a bright future. The comparison between now and the...

  • Insights from a VC: Social networks overdone, but storage is hot

    I spoke with Bob Ackerman, managing director of US-based Allegis Capital and a veteran Silicon Valley venture capitalist about some of the trends and issues in VC. Here are some of his insights on the key issues: - Cloud will be big this year and a big buzzword and that worries me because there will likely be too many companies funded that shouldn't be. - Storage is another hot area simply because of the massive amount of data being created daily and the need to make it available online and searchable. - Social networks are overdone and over invested. There have been too...