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  • Screw Silicon Valley, Brazil actually has a startup show worth watching

    Anyone on the tech startup scene will have at least heard mention of a Silicon Valley reality TV show. Well Brazil looked at that, called bullshit and produced a show about startups that looks like it'll be worth watching. The Silicon Valley show's executive producer was Randi Zuckerburg (sister of Mark) and by all accounts, it was about as entertaining as getting hit in the head with a wet trout. Brazil's Go For It by contrast follows a more documentary-style way of doing things to tell the story of a handful of startups. The trailer obviously portrays them in...

  • Company Office

    Zapacab Releases the Simplest App to Order a Taxi

    Cape Town mobile taxi ordering startup Zapacab has released native apps for Android and iOS devices. This is in response to passengers demand for “clever, easy to use apps”. Zapacab initially launched their product on mobile browsers to allow all passengers the easiest access to ordering a cab. With the majority of users being Android and iPhone users, the requests for a slicker app-based experience have been numerous. Chief executive officer (CEO) Rupert Sully says they will continue to offer the web based service for Blackberry users, but felt it was strategic to launch the native apps. "It is the sort...

  • 18 questions you should ask a VC before you sign your startup away

    So you have been lucky: your idea is the next Google and investors have decided put a pile of money into it. This is all good news -- after all, it is not easy to impress venture capitalists. Building a company from scratch is a very difficult business and you need to be prepared. Choosing the right VC is a tough decision. I was once told by a VC that the relationship between a startup and its VC is very much like a marriage. It is a long-term commitment that is full of struggles and disagreements and it is quite...

  • As it readies its $109m venture fund, Japan’s Docomo invests in 500 Startups

    Japanese telco NTT Docomo announced today that the company is ready to open the 10 billion yen (US$109-million) venture fund that it teased back in October. To make it happen, Docomo, through its US-based subsidiary Docomo Capital, will make an investment in the US-based incubation fund 500 Startups so as to help its incubated mobile-related startups get some traction in overseas markets. The incubation program that it announced before has actually opened today, and is taking startup registrations up until March 11th. Selected companies will receive various resources and guidance, including seed funding of up to 2-million yen (US$23 000) in convertible notes, office...

  • Incubator Fledge closes funding round as its startup BURN gets cooking

    Young startup incubator Fledge, and the most successful company from its 2012 summer programme, BURN Manufacturing, had a fruitful week after closing the first round of its venture capital funding. BURN, a company addressing cookstove problems in the developing world, managed to secure a whopping US$3-million loan from the federal Overseas Private Investment Corporation and a US$1-million investment from General Electric. This around the same time that Fledge’s first round brought in US$307 000 -- enough money to back the seven companies from Fledge’s 2012 summer as well as those in the next round, beginning on 18 February, co-founder and managing director...

  • 7 things about your pitch the dragons hated

    When you are pitching to a venture capitalist or angel investor, it's like venturing into a dragon's lair and attempting to convince the fire-breathing monster to give you one of its golden eggs. It's a no-nonsense matter and one bad move could end your entrepreneurial ambitions. Startups often think that once they have an idea, chances are it is rock star worthy and any self-respecting VC will be bonkers not to fork over piles of money to back their venture. Not so. Yes, some people get lucky, most need to work really hard at it. When you approach the...

  • Will the proposed US startup visa help the world connect with Silicon Valley?

    The Obama administration is making a push for the 'startup visa' that will encourage foreign nationals with advanced tech degrees to stay in the US to start up enterprises. Two things attract entrepreneurs, and this type of individual would usually flock to where these two things are: money and a market. It would make little sense to start up a business if you don’t have a market in mind, and it would not be viable if there would be no economic returns down the road. Let’s face it — in terms of technology startups, Silicon Valley is still the place to be....

  • How the internet is beginning to transform Egypt’s economy

    A study by Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has revealed the great potential behind an internet-driven economy. The country at the heart of the study, surprisingly, is not Europe’s golden-boy Germany or South America’s fire-bearer Brazil, it is Egypt: a country that, not too long ago, looked in a dire state during the Arab Spring. Two years on though, and Egypt’s economy is thriving, mostly due to hundreds of startups using the internet to grow their business, and the ripple effects this creates. The numbers are impressive: 31-million internet users in Egypt (the largest in the Middle East) Mobile penetration...

  • 10 VCs you should be pitching to right now

    So you're a startup, and you have a great idea. In fact, your idea is going to change the world. It's better than Facebook. But you have no money. You need a venture capital firm to take pity on your poor soul (and make a truck load of cash from your great idea). South Africa's venture capital space is growing quite nicely. With startups funded by the country's firms exiting to big multinationals like Visa, it's no wonder the startup scene in South Africa has a seemingly cool visage. In the last year more than 30 startups received funding, won...

  • 11 massive startup lessons Om Malik learned building an online news empire

    Six years ago, Om Malik decided to leave his position at a magazine to build an online news startup. The startup would become GigaOM, which today is one of the web's most frequented destinations for tech news and in-depth analysis. Before founding GigaOM, which has now grown to a staff of writers in 12 cities in four different countries, Malik faced inner turmoil -- as most entrepreneurs do -- about which direction to pursue in life. At the time, he was writing for Business 2.0, the monthly magazine co-founded by renowned entrepreneur Chris Anderson (editor-in-chief of Wired until 2012). By...

  • Confirmed: Blue Label Telecoms inks deal with mobile startup Panacea

    Ventureburn can confirm that prepaid and mobile payment company Blue Label Telecoms quietly acquired a major stake in Bulk SMS startup Panacea Mobile in late 2012. The South African-based Blue Label Telecoms, which also has footprints in emerging market countries like India and Mexico, had apparently been working with Panacea for some time. According to Panacea co-founder and CEO Stefano Sessa, both companies realised that an acquisition would be beneficial after working together for nearly a year and a half. "The business was acquired because of both businesses sharing a similar growth strategy," he told Ventureburn. Sessa also...

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