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  • TrustFabric: One startup’s solution to call centre hell

    Pretty much everyone hates calling a call centre. They keep you on hold perpetually and when you finally get past the annoying repetition of bad eighties music and speak to a human being they have no idea how to help. So begins the "departmental bounce" and after you run the gauntlet of incompetence, running up a colossal phone bill, the call is ended without any real help being delivered. The days of the call centre gauntlet are apparently over according to a new Cape Town-based startup TrustFabric.com. The company claims to offer a service to individuals and businesses to...

  • Company Office

    Introducing the Compare Africa Group

    The Compare Africa Group, officially created earlier this year, includes CompareGuru, PriceCheck, and ShoppingFeeder. Funded, in part, by Silvertree Capital, the three CEOs are Ryan Marx (also CEO of CompareGuru), Kevin Tucker (also CEO of PriceCheck), and Andrew Lynch (also CEO of ShoppingFeeder). CompareGuru, originally known as Click n Compare, started as a marketplace for consumers to combine all their financial needs in November 2013. Operating from South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, CompareGuru is based on The Guru (animated mascot), a financial services expert, readily available to provide tips and advice to users. “We have come a long way in the...

  • So retailers are now media companies… but is that a good thing?

    The retailer is now a publisher. And we see retailers rolling out multi-channel networks filled with original editorial content spanning everything from how-to videos and gift guides to new-technology primers and behind-the-scenes looks at popular movies. As Natalie Zmuda, writes on Ad Age: "The press corps at this year's Consumer Electronics Show may find themselves jostling for soundbytes and product demos on the Vegas strip with video crews from Best Buy. "Execs say the intent is to be complementary to, not competitive with, publications like CNet, Engadget or Gizmodo, which cover consumer electronics. But while Best Buy says it's not looking...

  • Five red-hot Indian tech startups

    China’s enormous internet population has been getting quite a bit of press lately, but India is undoubtedly as much of an emerging world internet power. With more than 400-million internet users China’s online success stories, like QQ and Baidu, make even Facebook’s numbers look average. But India’s open economy, its high percentage of English speakers and its highly educated new caste of IT whizz kids make it a perfect breeding ground for tech entrepreneurs. Here are five of the most interesting startups to watch: Voicetap Founded: March 2009 Homebase: New Delhi Elevator pitch: Voicetap connects people in need of advice with genuine experts on every...

  • Groupon raises $500m

    Internet sensation Groupon, which specialises in dishing out local bargains, says it has raised $500-million, just weeks after rejecting a multi-billion-dollar takeover bid by Google. The mega-financing, revealed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was part of a funding round launched on December 17 that could fetch up to $950-million dollars. Google was believed to have offered more than five billion dollars to buy up the online discount shopping site early this month, but Groupon decided to remain independent. The Chicago-based startup is also considering an initial public offering to issue common stock or shares for the first time as part...

  • Startup prediction: Digital money is the space to watch

    Paypal has led the way by opening up its platform but there will be lots of startups focused on digital money in its many forms in 2011. Making payments easier and secure is a very big deal. History reveals many times when innovation around money resulted in massive economic growth, and conversely, when a lack of payment options resulted in economic depression. For example, look at these innovations around money: International banking and insurance originated with the Medici families in Florence and was responsible for an explosion in international trade; the invention of bonds in Renaissance Italy led to massive...

  • Kenya’s astonishing internet growth: Six key trends to watch

    For many years, Kenya was known as fertile ground for agriculture, but increasingly it's becoming known as a place where technology companies can grow and flourish. Many new technology players from across Africa have chosen Kenya as a base to serve their East African interests, to expand and launch new products and services into this dynamic regional economy. 1. Online classifieds MIH Internet Africa and the Bid or Buy group are both set to go head-to-head for the classifieds market in Kenya, and in other emerging African markets across the continent. After the launch of its mobile directory business, Mocality, MIH...

  • 4 ways to still be effective during holiday leave

    Looking to log-off but stay connected this holiday season? Whether you’re going to be travelling locally or abroad, working from home, or having a "Staycation" we’ve got four ways for you to make your time out of the office seem as if you haven’t missed a beat. As much as we love to deny it, today’s generation of online professionals are workaholics. We wake up and check our emails over our morning coffee, we monitor our projects on our lunch break, we network after work, and we tweet our industry news while brushing our teeth. The concept of an eight-hour workday...

  • Scaling: Don’t become a victim of your own success

    A common issue with online startups is that they only start thinking about scalability once their site goes down. Many of the big startups also experience this phenomenon (e.g Twitter, Tumbler). They take note and spring into action only once the issue has occurred, which almost always has a detrimental effect on the user experience. Unexepected traffic spikes that could be generated by something as simple as a post on a reputable tech news site can bring your site to its knees almost instantaneously. In that brief moment of fame, your site crashes and all those potential new readers/customers/fans...

  • Five difficulties facing startups in China

    There’s a legend about a Chinese monk who, after years of meditating atop a high, isolated mountain, envisioned the world’s first circular disk. Careful to keep his ideas to himself, the monk swore on oath not to speak to anyone until he had completed his invention. One day, a traveller from the West, fair in skin but foul of heart, passed by a town the monk frequented. He had heard of the silent monk and decided to test him. He managed to get the monk intoxicated enough to reveal his secret of the circular disk. The traveller took the...

  • Kenyan startups jump on the ‘Groupon’ bandwagon

    Groupon has been a massive success in the United States. It’s a deal-of-the-day site, with projected revenue of US$500m in just it’s second year of operations. It uses the framework of "collective buying", which means that if enough people sign up for a particular deal, then it’s on. If not enough people sign up, then the deal is off and everyone walks away. Revenue is shared per deal, which means that Groupon only wins if the company doing the deal wins. Of course, this framework has caught the attention of savvy business people in Africa. Rupu Rupu is a similar site...