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  • 8 venture capital sources for your startup

    Raising funds in emerging markets may not be a walk in the park, but the process has become easier. Though some have complained the current economic environment is not favourable to startups, the current mindset is favourable to good ideas - no matter where they are. For startups with global vision based in emerging markets, here are eight sources of capital to consider. Venture Partners The US-based Venture Partners (USVP) has helped build great companies in the last three decades. Since its inception in 1981, USVP has invested more than US$2.7-billion in about 450 companies. After the investment the company’s...

  • Company Office

    CompareGuru set to simplify financial services for SA consumers

    Launches new site with advanced features and real-time services.  For most time-constrained South Africans, choosing between financial products and service providers is a laborious and challenging task. Despite the increasing access to all sorts of information online, it remains a complex and daunting process to sift through various product offerings, pricing structures, terms and conditions, etc. “This complexity is especially problematic when trying to choose between products and providers in the mobile, banking and insurance spheres, where contracts are often filled with jargon and consumers are understandably wary of hidden fees,” explains Ryan Marx, CEO of CompareGuru, a site which draws...

  • Avusa joins the daily deals game with Zappon

    South Africa's group buying market adds another contestant with the launch of Zappon.co.za, just two and a half months after project initiation. The startup, owned by South African media company Avusa Media, joins many other Groupon like deals sites in the country. The only difference is it comes into to the game with the backing of Avusa's brands. “The daily deal space is on the cusp of maturing in South Africa,” says Zappon creator and General Manager of Avusa Media LIVE, Elan Lohmann. “Other players - both local and international entrants - have been working to create the...

  • Bubbling in the cauldron: Is Twitter a sign?

    "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble," chanted the witches of Shakespeare's Macbeth, cooking up trouble. Similarly, are the VCs of Silicon Valley cooking up trouble by helping to fuel a new bubble? Valuations for venture backed companies are certainly higher than they've been in a long time but are we in a bubble? The answer seems to be no. At least, not yet. I spoke with veteran VC Bill Davidow: "When I look at companies such as Facebook, Zynga etc, I see high valuations but at least these companies have business models with proven revenues. Whether they...

  • Formsly: A profitable approach to interactive ‘contact us’ pages?

    Formsly - Cape Town based, Silicon Cape start-up is adamant it is meeting the needs for a global market with its offering at www.formsly.com. Falling into the online tools and web-apps category of the tech industry, the startup is targeting individuals and small businesses. Formsly describes itself as a web app which allows users to create custom, feature-rich 'contact' pages for websites. Its features includes google maps, GPS, turn-by-turn navigation, social media links and integration, live support integration, as well as custom mailing lists and analytics. Formsly is available as a basic free service or a premium, paid...

  • Startups/apps all the rage in coffee shops and bars

    These days it's difficult to go anywhere without hearing about startups and their apps. That's natural in my job but when you start hearing "normal" people talking about apps all of a sudden then that's an interesting trend to watch. Some say it is a result of the movie based on Facebook's beginning, The Social Network. This is an interesting trend to watch because it is not limited to San Francisco and its Silicon Valley neighbourhood. You see a big interest in startups and innovation occurring in many countries. London, for example, has its Silicon Roundabout, an area of London marked by...

  • Ad Dynamo: A plucky Google David-and-Goliath story?

    By far the biggest contender to the online revenue stream for advertising would be the Pay-per-click model, largely dominated by Google's famed contextual advertising network: AdSense. Companies love it because it is a risk-free way of advertising, but many traditional online publishers are weary because it generally pulls in significantly less revenue than traditional advertising. But one thing for sure: It has revolutionised the online, and even the offline, advertising model for good. So if you were considering a business in this sphere, you would be crazy to compete with the mighty Google. Right? Not so for one ambitious startup....

  • 6 tips for startup success

    Rob Stokes is an entrepreneurial successes heading a multi-national agency, Quirk eMarketing. His company delivers marketing solutions for businesses and brands that seek to engage with connected audiences. Quirk has grown from a one man agency working out of Rob's home to an international business with headquarters in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London. In just under a decade there are now over 80 "quirkstars" across the 3 offices, with the main production studio located in Cape Town. Through campaigns, platforms and software applications, Quirk has gained international recognition. Memeburn sat down with Rob, who is also chairman of the...

  • Snaply: Taking the ‘exclusivity out’ of eCommerce site building

    As society moves more into the online sphere, the need to do practically everything online grows. eCommerce sites are growing bigger and adding more products online. What began with just DVDs and books sales online has now moved to helicopters, real estate and ridiculous items such as actual human beings and Twitter accounts being auctioned off on eBay. Companies that want to be taken seriously in this economic climate need to stake their claim online. Buying and selling online is a growing trend that cannot be ignored and companies that rely on a steady sales stream need to cater for...

  • Michael Joseph and Mpesa: A missed opportunity

    Michael Joseph was the CEO of Safaricom, taking the mobile operator from 5 employees to dominating the Kenyan mobile operator market with over 80% market share in his 10 years at the helm. Regardless of your personal feelings on the man, you have to admire the tenacious approach he took growing the business, and his willingness to invest in his company’s future, thereby decimating his (often inept) competition. Possibly MJ’s (how he’s known in local Kenyan parlance) greatest business move was also a measured risk --that is being the company to take a software created by parent Vodafone Group...

  • How to safeguard your intellectual property

    Intellectual Property (IP) is an intangible asset to an entrepreneur. When it comes to assuring investors they are placing their cash in an exclusive product or service that is legally protected, securing your IP is a must. Alex Fraser of Invenfin, an early-stage venture capital company says there are some things you need to know before you take your idea to investors. According to Fraser, not having proper IP ownership is by far the largest problem Invenfin sees when dealing with the thousands of entrepreneurs that pass through its doors. Fraser, who lectures on entrepreneurship and venture capital to students,...