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  • MIH launches new online shop creator on WordPress

    This has the potential to be big. It’s a new eCommerce tool that allows users to “create an online shop in minutes”. The new service, called QikCommerce, is a joint venture between MIH -- the investment arm of US$18-billion emerging markets internet giant Naspers -- and a small WordPress theme building company Obox. Obox has also been credited with building official themes for Posterous. It’s fairly natural then that QikCommerce should run off a WordPress platform, although the team behind it claims it has been “tweaked and manipulated to present a customer experience that is unlike any...

  • 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...

  • Y Combinator: Investors should back the jockey not the horse

    Y Combinator, a leading seed investment incubator, recently announced that it would be accepting startup applications for this years fund from startup founders WITHOUT an idea. Here's how the incubator describes itself on its website: Y Combinator does seed funding for startups. Seed funding is the earliest stage of venture funding. It pays your expenses while you're getting started. Some companies may need no more than seed funding. Others will go through several rounds. There is no right answer. How much funding you need depends on the kind of company you start. It appears that the technology investment market arrived...

  • Attention entrepreneurs, diarise this: LaunchCapeTown

    If you’re an entrepreneur looking to network, polish your elevator pitch, hone your product or simply learn from big names in the tech industry, diarise LaunchCapeTown, the five day event that starts on 23 March in Cape Town, South Africa and brings together startups, entrepreneurs, and digital tastemakers. The event includes the Cape Town Entrepreneurial Competition (CTEC), as well as startup-related speakers, get-togethers, mentoring sessions and keynotes from big name speakers such as Nimeshh Patel, COO of AOL Europe. Attendees will be able to mix with "trailblazers", media representatives, as well as digital creatives from the interactive industry. The competition...

  • Fabhunter: The new visual bookmarking startup with big dreams

    Tastemakers. Trendsetters. Fashionistas. Fabhunter aims to become a nexus where these fashion aficionados collide. Launched in January of this year, Fabhunter is a new “social fashion discovery engine” that relies on user generated content to facilitate fashion discovery and trend forecasting. As a collective, Fabhunter aims to become a harbinger for fashion trends, but also a platform where individuals can become tastemakers by showcasing their fashion sense and intuition about trends through visual bookmarking. Fabhunter is self-funded and was founded by Werner Geyser who previously served as the business development manager at World of Avatar, the South African VC-incubator hybrid that...

  • ZunguZ wants to turn Facebook into a bank

    Facebook’s great for a lot of things. Keeping up to date with friends, promoting your brand, and organising your social diary are just some of the things you can do on the world’s social network. But what if you need to pay someone you know on Facebook? Surely you’d have to at least have their banking or PayPal details right? That might have been true in the past, but a company called ZunguZ is looking to change all that. The company which has presences in Silicon Valley and Cape Town claims that its product allows social network users “to...

  • 30 brilliant African tech startups

    The methodology behind this list of startups had two simple directives. First, the startup had to have African roots and secondly it had to be brilliant. More specifically, we were looking for that type of brilliance that exudes intelligence, talent, quality or simply, something fresh. Of course brilliance, like most things in life, is subjective, so we went into this journey with an open mind. Tabula rasa if you will and we hoped to recognise brilliance when we saw it. We did, over and over again. Why did we focus on Africa? The continent’s one-billion people are coming online and 600-million...

  • Yola boss Vinny Lingham steps down to launch new startup

    Well-known Silicon Valley-based South African web entrepreneur Vinny Lingham has resigned as the CEO of Yola, the internet startup he founded about five years ago, to launch a new venture. The new venture -- Gyft -- promises "to change the way you think about gift cards". It plans to launch in May this year and is offering an early sign up for members. There is no indication of who is backing the venture (but Memeburn will find this out soon). Yola says that Lingham will retain his board seat and shares at the company and will "continue to provide vision and...

  • How Dollar Shave Club used its viral video to attract investors

    Dollar Shave Club’s debut video is cool. Scratch that. It is damn cool. It might even have convinced a few people to buy the product. Here’s the thing; it’s also been attracting investors. In fact, it was doing so long before it was convincing us to stop giving most of the money we spend on razors to Roger Federer. According to Mashable, CEO Michael Dubin -- who’s also the star of the video -- used it to get US$1-million in funding out of the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Andreessen Horowitz. "We develop great content," Dubin says, "and [the...

  • Emerging market fund launched for digital media innovation

    A well-known New York-based fund that focuses on emerging market media has launched an early-stage fund for entrepreneurs developing digital news and information businesses. The fund, called Digital News Ventures, has been launched by the Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF). The MDLF, which operates out of Prague, has invested more than $113-million in 79 independent news companies in 27 countries, mainly emerging markets, since 1995. It backs up all of its debt and equity investments with strategic advice and business assistance. Digital News Ventures will provide early-stage equity finance from $30 000 to $300 000 to entrepreneurs whose ideas...

  • The hows and the whats — 5 tough questions VCs ask

    Over the past six months I have spoken with a wide variety of people who have shown, in varying degrees, interest in investing in my company. Many of these VCs have specific ways that they conduct a call, interview or meeting. Many of them have lead me down long and wasteful due diligence processes, many have been kind, some have been blunt and harsh but all have been pedantic and specific about the types of questions they ask. I have found that, on the whole, the questions are standard and the steps straight-forward but there are always the tough questions...