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  • Small brand, big mouth: 5 web tools for entrepreneurs

    Not reaching the customer is one of six reasons Inc.com says emerging enterprises fail. But social media channels, and other brand-friendly apps, are an incredibly useful -- and cost-effective -- means to attract the buyers who often just need the reassuring nudge digital interaction gives them. Shout out your brand to the online world with these free tools, and watch your business blossom. 1. Logo Garden Your logo is flawless in your head — but it's the designing and printing that strangles your ad budget. Graphic designers cost money, and if you get a free one it may be at the expense...

  • Company Office

    Should I be doing something about blockchain?

    This worry is behind a lot of the questions we are being asked by clients, colleagues and friends at the moment. The technology behind bitcoin enables multiple parties to transact based on them having a copy of the same information updated by consensus and removing the need for rent seeking intermediaries. Concern about the technology takes a lot of forms, ranging from FOMO about the cryptocurrency boom to a growing realisation that industries are changing. The pace of that change, and the attention that blockchain is getting, is feeding a self-reinforcing process of hyper growth in this space. Many people draw...

  • Gumtree SA renovated with improved interface, seeks ‘mobile-only’ focus

    Celebrating eight years of bartering everything from second-hand cars to divorcees trying to sell off their side of the bed, Gumtree South Africa's website has recently been revamped to highlight the start of a fresh new year. Bigger fonts, less clutter and a more visually appealing gallery are some of the things you'll notice when you visit the eBay-owned online classifieds. In a recent press release, Gumtree also points out that other crucial elements such as the Related Ads, Most Popular Ads, and a more synchronised Watchlist have been improved. The head of Gumtree, Bart Molenda, says, "New innovations...

  • Daptio: the SA startup personalising education with adaptive online courses

    Online learning in South Africa is still in its infancy. But many regard the African continent as the next frontier of online education, with the market showing signs of massive potential and room for investment. Daptio is on the supply side of this chain and hopes to "bring things back on track" by using deep analytics, and providing personalised learning to teachers, students and content creators in Africa and other emerging markets through its online software service. UNISA (University of South Africa) has an annual pass rate of 15%, says Daptio founder Tabitha Bailey. That's a worrying statistic for one...

  • Isolation: a problem for current and future African entrepreneurs

    Talking with African entrepreneurs, one of the recurring topics is the difficulty of sufficient funding in seed- or early-stage with internationally acknowledged and well-connected investors. The recently born African digital ecosystem has only a few established venture capital funds, and even these funds usually have limited available capital with a minimal international network. Understandably, this limited available capital results in a serious constraint in the later stages of funding (Series A and Series B) for any aspiring start-up. The lack of the investors’ international network also means that the knowledge transfer between Africa and the developed tech communities (US, Europe...

  • Michael Jordaan’s MonteGray Capital makes first VC bets and it’s all about tech

    Last year when former FNB head Michael Jordaan joined South African instant messaging service Mxit as chairman, we heard that his new aspirations were to learn more about innovation and investing in startups. Soon after, Jordaan launched his first VC firm, MonteGray Capital. Today, news came about that the first companies getting a cash injection from MonteGrey include interesting tech companies such as Multisource, Bright Black and Execmobile. Jordaan has mentioned before that he's interested in "disruptive technologies that will change the world in the next 10 years," and all three companies mentioned above focus on using disruptive tech...

  • IBM study identifies African businesses’ need to adopt technology

    A recent study by IBM titled Setting the pace in Africa: How IT leaders deliver on the potential of emerging technologies has revealed that 36% of businesses in Africa could be considered as prioritizing and rapidly adopting technologies. This forward-thinking approach to business is crucial for Africa's future economic growth, it argues. The survey looked at 180 Africa-based IT leaders across 29 industries in countries such Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Morocco. This gives us a bird's eye view of what the current playing field of business and technology in Africa looks like. Though certain industries are expected...

  • Nigeria launches Open Data initiative to stir innovation, investment and growth

    Today, the Nigerian Ministry of Communication Technology announced the Open Data Development Initiative to help drive innovation, investment and economic growth by enabling access to government data. The Initiative will open up high value datasets from across government ministries to Nigerian citizens, businesses and the rest of the world, for free. The Open Data Development Initiative aims to highlight the potential efficiency, innovations and public value that can be achieved when government uses technology to open its data to the world. The Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson stressed the issue of demand. "We would like to ensure that...

  • Guybox delivers essentials to men who have better things to do than shop

    Guybox is a trimonthly service that sends out packages filled with men's essentials such as underwear, socks and deodorant. This is not a try-before-you-buy subscription service like the ever popular Birchbox or South Africa's Rubybox. Instead, Guybox's mission is to free men from the grind of picking up grooming essentials. The Pretoria-based service is a one man show. Its founder, Oscar Baruffa, says that Guybox delivers the convenience of a curated basket of essentials aimed at men, without the frustration, boredom and time-suck associated with a traditional shopping experience. Subscribers can expect products from brands such as Oral-B, Colgate, L'Oréal, Gillette,...

  • Budgeting app ExpenZa hits surge in user activity, R1-billion transactions

    Budgeting apps will never go out of style. Until people stop worrying about where their precious money is mysteriously disappearing, personal finance management tools such as ExpenZa won't get old. The company has recently announced that it has had a surge of user activity in the last three months and has processed transactions worth more than R1-billion. Based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, ExpenZa is an app available to Android users with the need to effectively organize their income and expenses. The app saw user activity increase since its latest update in October and during the high-volume retail period leading...

  • 7 customer service trends that startups should know about in 2014

    Ask people about the state of customer service and there is a good chance that they will be able to tell you at least five stories of terrible experiences –- and not many positive ones. In a recent survey of more than 400 South African customers, 72% said that they had experienced rage with a business at least once in the last four months. Anyone who has tried to solve a problem with a bank, airline booking, or mobile phone service provider recently will know what this sense of powerlessness feels like. The horrendous state of customer care is not...

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