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  • Is South Africa really the entrepreneurial gateway into Africa?

    The short answer is: it depends. It depends on whether you are an investor or an entrepreneur. And here’s why. Investors, get there early! On the surface, South Africa doesn’t seem to pose the most enticing investment case. Here is a comparison of the country’s GDP growth rate compared to some of its peers on the continent. South Africa, although it is the continent’s largest economy (for now), is also its slowest, and taken at face value that’s not something investors find particularly attractive. But (and it’s quite an important but) –- the savvy investor does not invest in South Africa point-blank. The...

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    Project Isizwe’s WiFi TV hits 1 million views in one month

    Project Isizwe’s Video-On-Demand (VOD) service, WiFi TV, that was launched in November last year, has reached the coveted 1 million view milestone during February alone. WiFi TV is a free and hyper-localised internet VOD service delivered by the City of Tshwane (CoT), providing unlimited access for users of the Tshwane Free WiFi network. The VOD service streams video content created by young film makers living in various areas of the CoT, offering relevant and engaging news and entertainment. They cover topics such as music, current affairs, entrepreneurship, religion, jobs and sport and were previously unemployed or under-employed. The CoT created the...

  • Uber partners with Taiwan’s number search service WhatsTheNumber

    Today Uber, the fast-growing transportation startup, announced it will collaborate with WhatsTheNumber, the phone-number search service from Taiwan-based mobile app company StorySense. As reported by Taiwan’s Business Next, users who register with Uber and use 'WHATSTHENUMBER' as a reference can receive NTD$350 (about $10) towards a ride. WhatsTheNumber is a mobile app for iOS that lets users search for a specific location and immediately dial its phone number. Developed by MIT Media Lab alum Edward Shen, it has racked up 800 000 registered users to date, the majority of whom reside in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Linking up with local startup ecosystems...

  • Publicis buys digital agency Synergize, merges it with Saatchi & Saatchi SA

    Looks like WPP's not the only big player heating up the South African acquisitions space. Advertising and marketing mega-corp Publicis Groupe today announced that it has completed a 100% acquisition of South African digital agency Synergize. Under the terms of the deal, Synergize will be integrated into Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa. Saatchi & Saatchi’s At Play digital arm will be absorbed into the new division, which will be renamed Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize. Shaune Jordaan, CEO of Synergize, will become CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize and Chris Corbet, the co-founder of Synergize, will become Chief Operating Officer. The...

  • iROKING founder Jason Njoku returns as troubled music service’s CEO

    Almost exactly a month following the ousting of former iROKING CEO Michael Ugwu, the ailing Nigerian music service has announced that iROKING founder and original CEO Jason Njoku, will take back the reins. Njoku's return will see him continue his duties as CEO of iROKOtv while taking overall control of iROKING artist management, all aspects of music distribution, including YouTube, iTunes and Amazon distribution, and oversee platform partnerships with the likes of Mxit and Eskimi. Following Ugwu's ousting, the ex-CEO commented on iROKING's ill-health saying that iROKO Partners Lagos has seen its staff decrease from around 80 staff to about...

  • Breaking Bad, 12 Angry Men and House of Cards: the entrepreneur’s watch list

    I recently caught up on Breaking Bad, and thought what great inspiration the show was for budding entrepreneurs -- not the cooking meth bit, but all the other things around building a business and a product that people want. With that in mind, I combed through my collection of movIes and shows and whipped out seven I think all entrepreneurs should watch. 12 Angry Men -- Doing what it takes to get people to see things your way If you have seen this Sidney Lumet classic then you will no doubt understand its place on this list. For the entrepreneur...

  • StartupBus Africa launches feature phone teaching aid Sterio.me

    StartupBus Africa has finished its trip from Harare to Cape Town, and over the course of the 2500km travelled, a new education startup for Africa has emerged: sterio.me. StartupBus is a simple enough concept: a mobile hackathon aimed at developing technology solutions across a variety of sectors. The African leg paired 15 African entrepreneurs with 15 global counterparts for the five day road trip. In that time participants are expected to conceptualise, and execute ideas for a startup. This year designers, developers and the business-savvy alike joined forces to tackle African problems in areas like energy, mobile, education and healthcare. Sterio.me is...

  • Startup founders, are you offering your employees stock options?

    We all know that everyone wants to build their own startup; everyone wants to create the next billion dollar company. But what about working for one? What about the employees? I think this topic concerns many founders: stock options. With more than a few startups emerging in the past three years, I wonder how many actually set aside an employee stock option pool. Will it only happen when you get funding? Or do most founders just not mention it unless their employees ask? This is important both for the startup and the ecosystem as a whole. The main attraction of working...

  • 3 tried and tested ways to hire great work-from-home employees for your startup

    With technology making it easier for startups to go virtual and decrease overheads, many entrepreneurs are opting to have their teams telecommute. A recent study by Stanford University found a company can save approximately US$2 000 per employee just by allowing them to work from home. For startup companies without deep pockets, running a virtual team can be a great way to keep overhead low while the company grows. Still, virtual workers can present challenges in the hiring process, especially when it comes to finding the best people. You need someone who is not only right for your startup, but...

  • SnappCab hailed winner of The Innovation Hub incubation programme

    As part of The Innovation Hub's Maxum Business Incubator, five entrepreneurs were chosen out of a total of 20 to pitch their innovative products to a group of venture capitalists, innovators, entrepreneurs and the public at the Absa Maxum annual showcase in Pretoria, South Africa yesterday. Johannesburg-based startup, SnappCab, was ultimately announced as the winner. Sponsored by Absa, the winning pitch was awarded to Anton van Metzinger from Snappcab with the prize valued at R50 000. SnappCab is a multi-platform hail-a-cab app to order, use and pay for metered cabs generally based on the user’s GPS location. The service is...

  • Startups, learn the value of free

    Do you spend too much time trying to figure out how to get new customers through the door? If you’re anything like most business owners we work with on a daily basis, and statistically you are, then it is the number one thing that permeates your thoughts and your actions. It is a constant source of frustration and takes time away from delivering increased value to your existing clients... which is way more fun. The below model is not unique, it’s not revolutionary, but it does seem to be effective and I would argue will become ever more important in...