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  • Is uHambi the genuine personal touch in a world of online travel bookings?

    Is there a difference between being a traveller and a tourist? For those of us who answer yes, one startup is trying to connect the dots. With 100% OpenSource software, one startup is attempting to close in on the middle ground between the convenience of a personal travel agent and the benefits of browsing for your own holiday choices. Cape Town-based uHambi was launched as a public beta in August 2010 by Nick Maurer, a 100% shareholder who drove the research and development behind the startup. The company says it wants to create a world class travel booking experience using...

  • Company Office

    SA consumers doing their product homework before purchase

    At a time when most consumers are spending conservatively, with a hawkish eye on every last Rand, value for money has become paramount. Long gone are the days when people sign on to mobile contracts on a whim, or buy insurance products at the behest of a smiling salesman. With deep-seated economic and political uncertainty prevailing, consumers are looking to inform themselves as best they can before spending a cent. “The good news for sceptical South Africans is that a host of new and sophisticated digital tools are coming online, giving people much-needed access to information,” says Ryan Marx, CEO...

  • Reid Hoffman’s ten rules of entrepreneurship

    You may not have heard of Reid Hoffman, and if you were introduced to him you might be forgiven for underestimating him. With his scruffy jeans, his coke bottle glasses, and his excited giggle he may be mistaken for a common or garden nerd. But Hoffman is a key member of what is called - only partly in jest - the PayPal mafia. Hoffman was a founding board member at PayPal, and was instrumental in its acquisition by Ebay. Since then he has co-founded LinkedIn and led it into profitability as its CEO, before moving his focus to Greylock -...

  • Yuri Milner: Making billions in the new bubble

    Craig Mellow, at The Deal Magazine has a fascinating profile of Yuri Milner, the Russian investment banker who runs Digital Sky Technologies(DST), a multi-billion dollar fund. Milner has garnered tremendous amounts of publicity for his investments in Facebook, Groupon and other high flying US companies. Late last year, DST partner Alexander Tamas, defended Groupon’s rejection of Google’s acquisition bid, citing that Groupon could become one of the most important companies on the internet. Tamas also said that DST looks for companies with a valuation of at least US$1-billion and it only invests in internet companies that have the potential to become the...

  • 6 eCommerce steps to online profit

    You may have just launched an eCommerce site, or perhaps your business is considering the advantage of the massive online market space. Don’t underestimate the growing potential. For a start consultant Neil Turner has been passionately devising ways to ensure maximum online profit and we’ve identified six steps in particular that will ensure you grow your business across the web. Identify users with their email address Identifying people with their email addresses is much better than doing so with usernames. We’re all likely to forget usernames for once-off subscriptions. Rarely do we forget our own email addresses. As email...

  • Understanding Color a little better

    It's a shame that the US$41-million funding of Color Labs has dominated the news about Color, a radically different type of mobile app, because that's what's interesting. Color shares photos with everyone around you that has the app on their iPhone or Android device. There are no privacy settings and you don't need to "friend" or "follow" anyone -- it automatically creates an ad hoc social network within 50 yards of your location. It's a fascinating concept and it will be interesting to see just how much people want to connect with strangers, where often the only thing they have in...

  • Color, a new social networking app that does away with privacy

    It was only a matter of time before a network was created for people who have no privacy issues and believe that all information should be available at anytime to anyone. It's a social network called Color for the "post-PC world" according to its founder Bill Nguyen, who was also one on the people behind music service Lala, which was bought by Apple in 2009 before it closed it down in April 2010. Speaking to the Huffington Post, Nguyen said "As tech causes cultural changes, we're going to live so much more of our lives in public. There's private...

  • A VC boom in new media?

    Investment banker Kevin Covert is increasing staff at his company, Covert & Co, up to prepare for a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) bonanza in Silicon Valley. Move over social networking, move over ecommerce -- he reckons that the conditions are great for M&A -- "especially in new media". If the recent, high-profile Techcrunch and Huffington Post deals are anything to go by, he may be right. Although these are only two high profile deals -- and to the same company, AOL. Covert is no stranger to the Silicon Valley scene: Over the past ten years he's had a hand in many...

  • WhereIsMyTransport: The solution to public transport problems?

    From third world countries battling with proper organisational issues with regards to locating routes, to travelers unable to locate transport when commuting in new cities, to congestion, traffic jams and lack of service delivery, public transportation issues are problems that occur on a global scale. Two entrepreneurs however believe that for the first time their company is offering developing nations a chance at a true end-to-end intelligent transport system (ITS). Transport IT infrastructure specialists, WhereIsMyTransport gives transport providers a platform on which to run all their daily operations such as routing, scheduling, reporting and monitoring which all form part of...

  • Emerging markets unclear about future of online gambling

    Online gambling in South Africa may be set for tough times ahead. For users, tech entrepreneurs and established businesses alike, new laws may change the way gambling in the wealthiest African emerging market takes place. The National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008, which is said to make provisions for the licensing of online casinos, may only come into force after an appeal to a high court ruling against “interactive gambling” is heard, according to journalist Jan Vermulen. Even services hosted outside the country would be rendered illegal if the proposed legislation comes into effect. The South African Department of Trade...

  • Umbono: Google launches new African tech incubator

    Google has chosen Cape Town as a pilot for a new technology incubator called Umbono which aims to bring together seed capital, Google mentorship, angel investors, local tech stars, entrepreneurs and business leaders. If successful in Cape Town, Google may take the model to other parts of the globe. Google says it chose Cape Town because the city is in "the process of positioning itself as a hub for innovation and technology". The search engine expects that successful funders will move to Cape Town and work "onsite" to take advantage of the opportunity. The search monolith says the incubator is "in...