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  • Forget the bubble, the rise in VC investment is unsustainable

    The latest MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and the US-based National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), based on data provided by Thomson Reuters: Q2 2011 VC investments jump 19% to $7.5 billion in 966 deals. Year ago: $6.3 billion in 814 deals Latest quarter is highest total since Q2 2008. These high levels are not sustainable says Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA: "For the past three years, the venture capital industry has been investing significantly more dollars into companies than it has been raising from institutional investors. This level of investment cannot continue if we do not start to see...

  • Company Office

    Barclays Accelerator programme in full swing

    The 2017 Barclays Accelerator is in full swing at the Rise fintech innovation hub in Woodstock, Cape Town, with ten fintech companies on site, participating in a tried and tested start-up accelerator programme presented by Barclays Africa in conjunction with US-company Techstars. The 13-week programme sees startup fintech companies follow a growth acceleration curriculum designed by Techstars, which has supported more than 900 technology startups across 23 cities around the world. The experience is enhanced through the involvement of a network of local and global mentors, as well as Barclays Africa executives, who help shape participants’ business plans and development. The...

  • Hummba: Virtual guides anywhere, anytime

    An online audio and text guide shop may not be the most innovative idea, but having content easily available on mobile application anywhere in the world may just beat having a tour guide. If anything, according to its founder, it eliminates the need for one. This seems to be the thinking behind Hummba.com, a company planning to afford the resources of a personal tour guide to any user anywhere in the world. Founder Mark Allewel says the company's flagship product, Tourism Radio, is a GPS driven information station for tourists. “We tell you all about the area you are...

  • Twitter now looking to monetise from ecommerce

    Twittter chief executive Dick Costolo has announced that in addition to its current money-maker, advertising, Twitter -- in keeping with its monetisation drive -- could potentially generate revenue from commerce. Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference Costolo also dismissed reports of management turmoil at the San Francisco-based company and said it is still seeing explosive growth. "Along any axis you measure us we're growing faster than we've ever grown before", Costolo said. Twitter users are sending one billion tweets every five days and the service now has more than 200 million registered users, he said. Costolo declined to reveal whether Twitter is...

  • Why Silicon Valley can be bad for emerging market startups

    Launching a startup anywhere in the world is challenging, but launching one in an emerging market territory where there is often limited access to funding and a fragmented entrepreneurial ecosystem it is so much harder. One sure way to fail is to try and duplicate first world solutions for emerging market problems without tweaking them for the unique local conditions. The Silicon Valley story is inspirational. Its ability to launch globally competitive, world-changing internet startups is unsurpassed. It continues to be the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development and accounts for one-third of all of the venture capital investment...

  • Winners and losers in cloud computing and what your business gains

    The buzz around cloud computing has been around for a while now, and it doesn’t seem like the frenzy around this new phenomenon will wane out any time soon. This might be due to the realisation that the entire IT industry is on the verge of a major revolution, and we all know that in the midst of a revolution, there will always be winners and losers. The promise Cloud computing promises a paradigm shift in the way that we have been using computational resources; an environment where business applications are hosted by a service provider and accessed by...

  • 5 free web applications to take your startup to the next level

    Starting a business can be daunting and trying to keep tabs of everything from sales to projects, even more so. If you happen to be an entrepreneur still writing things down on paper or using TextPad or the like, then this one's for you. The digital age is one that encourages start-ups, in the sense that they no longer need expensive stand-alone applications to move their business to the next level. Say hello to the following free web applications guaranteed to change the way your business operates. Freshbooks We’ve all been there: creating invoices ad-hoc, taking time to edit each one,...

  • Create your own mobile application for your company

    It's self-evident that most organisations have already rolled out their own email and personal information software (PIM) to their workforces. Are internal apps, however, the next step in productivity and mobility? One Johannesburg startup believes this trend is already underway, paving an opening for mobile to step into the next phase. Device Magic’s product Mobile Forms follows in the wake of the company’s launch at the beginning of the year. The product works by allowing a business or organisation of any kind to create its own data-gathering application for a mobile device. In explaining what it is, the...

  • Digital marketing: Next steps for startups

    Promoting your startup effectively is a critical step towards ensuring that your business makes it from being a big idea to a well known and self-sustaining concern. In a previous article, on Digital Marketing and what startups need to get right from the start, I mentioned that building a new business is like caring for a baby. Now it’s time to teach your baby to walk! Once you have completed the initial steps in marketing your business online, it is time to get serious about the next two steps and make sure that your business has legs. The initial steps...

  • Startups to ‘Ignite’ Tech4Africa 2011

    Tech4Africa, one of the continent’s most prominent web and emerging technology conferences, has launched an initiative called Ignite, which will provide leading African startups with the opportunity to pitch their products to a carefully curated panel of Angel investors, mentors and business leaders. Startups selected to partake in the Tech4africa Ignite pitches will be given five minutes to showcase their products, with the opportunity to gain not only potential investors but also invaluable exposure to the wider Tech4Africa audience of thought leaders, decision makers, journalists, influential people and potential recruits. From the initial applications, a select group of the most...

  • FabFi does fabulous things in Afghanistan and Kenya

    Something interesting is happening in Afghanistan. It’s also happening in Kenya. I think that it is proof that it is possible to open the Internet to every developing country in the world. Back in December 2008, a group of individuals in Jalalabad, Afghanistan started working on a project to bring high-speed internet to a village, hospital, university, and an NGO in the city. The group was known as FabLab Jalalabad and they modelled their project on a system which was designed to track sheep in Norway. The remarkable thing about this project was that they were designing an incredibly...