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  • Vinny Lingham’s Gyft launches APIs for third-party apps

    Gyft, the mobile gifting service from Yola founder Vinny Lingham, has announced the launch of APIs to extend gift cards into third-party apps. While the APIs also allow people to integrate Gyft into websites and other services, the focus is primarily on mobile. "A lot of developers out there have points, rewards, and unredeemed credits, and they want to offer a way for their users to cash out those points or credits,” Lingham told TechCrunch. Gyft, he says, offers a better alternative for developers than bill pay systems which charge transaction fees “We’re focused on mobile,” he adds. “There...

  • Company Office

    How insurtech partnerships are disrupting traditional sectors for the better

    South Africa’s funeral insurance market is booming. It is the most prevalent type of insurance in the country, with the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri) reporting that just under 90% of cover falls into this sector. In a digitally-driven world, service providers in this space no longer necessarily look the same. In fact, many traditional insurers are now looking to combine forces with technology (fintech) and insurance technology (insurtech) companies, which can often quickly draw large client numbers through innovative and nimble offerings. Research by PwC shows that nine out of 10 insurance companies fear losing business to fintech startups, but...

  • 10 step guide to running a successful crowdfunding campaign

    Hear ye, all you who are interested in raising capital but are sick of trying to convince the rich people to invest in your idea. Try tapping into the masses instead. Besides raising money, crowdfunding also serves a marketing purpose. It’s another way of getting the word out on your idea and to test your concept. Here’s a 10 step guide to running a successful crowdfunding campaign, with some insights from Daryl Arnold of Newton Circus. I’ve included step zero as an introduction: Step 0: Choose the right platform The most well-known platform is, arguably, Kickstarter, the mother of all crowdfunding sites....

  • 5 reasons why working for a startup can kick-start your career

    “I love my job” isn't something you hear very often, is it? Well, I love my job. Ever since I started working for a UK-based startup five years ago, I've never looked back. Still working at a startup, currently at mobile marketing company TextMagic, I've taken some time to reflect on the reasons why I find working at startups so compelling. I have heard from many people that they avoid working for a startup as they see it as unstable, low paying, unambitious -- or even all three. But that is a very short-sighted attitude -- working for a startup...

  • 10 great questions I never thought investors would ask a startup

    I’ve raised close to US$1-million for my previous startups and I've been asked questions that were not what I had expected to hear from the investors I was pitching to. I was expecting to be asked about my team, market segments, financial projections, go-to market strategy, exit strategy, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I was asked these questions -- many of them -- but it was the questions below that I wasn’t expecting. It’s also important to note that the investors who asked the following questions are the ones that I ended up having the best relationships with. You may...

  • Zando threatens legal action against Ventureburn over Koser claim

    South African online retailer Zando has threatened legal action against Ventureburn, a subsidiary of Burn Media, via its attorneys Webber Wentzel, following an article that was published on the site last week. Zando's online fashion store made serious waves after arriving in South Africa in late 2011. Since then, it claims it has grown to become South Africa’s largest online fashion player and is providing serious competition to the likes of established ecommerce players such as Kalahari and Takealot. The company is a subsidiary of the German-based Rocket Internet, a startup incubator whose business model is to...

  • The Yuppiechef cult: how a startup sparked a religion

    The Yuppiechef success story has been well documented, but until now, no one has been able to explain exactly how the kitchen utensils e-tailer has managed to evoke the type of fervent support that has catapulted the Cape Town company well into cult territory. Yes, cult. Exhibit A: a Pinterest page dedicated to customers who have submitted photos of their pets in Yuppiechef packaging. The running theory is that Yuppiechef has mastered the art of customer service. It's a strong hypothesis. Yuppiechef boasts 99% positive feedback -- read worship -- on customer service watchdog Hellopeter, as well as a consistent...

  • Meet the 11 startups aboard the Unreasonable Institute’s startup ship

    Entrepreneur accelerator programme, Unreasonable Institute, is on a 100-day epic cruise around the world with 11 startups hoping to scale their businesses globally. The cruise is dubbed Unreasonable at Sea. According to the Institute its role is to "get world-changing ventures and entrepreneurs what they need to scale their impact". The ship left San Diego in early January and plans to dock in Barcelona in April, with a few pit stops in-between. One of those stops is in Cape Town. During the stop, a pitching session hosted by SAP, an enterprise application software company, will see 11 startups that were...

  • Can Africa accommodate Elon Musk-esque ambition?

    “Young men with unlimited capital looking for interesting, legitimate investment opportunities and business propositions.” -- Advert in the New York Times that led to John Roberts and Joel Rosenman meeting Artie Kornfield and Mike Lang, organisers of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. I read two articles recently, Duncan Alberts’ Funding hurts SA tech start-ups and Alistair Fairweather’s Elon Musk: Pretoria’s billionaire space explorer and inventor. Both of them resonated with me and I wanted to add my voice to the discussion based on my experience at Triggerfish. There is no doubt that a shortage of risk capital exists in South Africa....

  • Rocket Internet’s Foodpanda takes off in Hungary

    Food delivery site Foodpanda seems to have scored a bit of a coup in Hungary. The Rocket Internet-owned service, which operates in 25 countries, is set to take over the service of food delivery site Ételvitel KFT. The platform allows people to choose a meal. Foodpanda processes the order to the restaurant, which delivers the meal to the person's doorstep. Currently, Ételvitel KFT has more than 200 partner restaurants in Budapest only. The takeover is designed to spread Foodpanda's influence within the country, where it has been operating for three months. According to Foodpanda it, along with its affiliated brand...

  • Notes from the Dragons’ Den: 9 lessons for the budding entrepreneur

    I guess this was inevitable. Two things are always meant to collide -- a startup journalist and a television show about startups. Dragons' Den is a reality television show that features entrepreneurs from various sectors pitching their business ideas with the hopes of securing funding from a panel of venture capitalists (the dragons). The British version of the show is currently headed into its 11th season and somehow the products just keep getting more bizarre. After watching close to 10 seasons of this show, there are few things that keep recurring that I think startups could take notice of...

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