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  • 15 years, 5 key lessons in entrepreneurship

    Junk Mail started life as a weekly print publication, a solidly old-school business – but in the 15 years since I joined the business in 1998 it’s also become South Africa’s largest online classified advertising site, with a huge mobile reach as well thanks to our custom-developed mobile site. These are the top five things I’ve learned in the past 15 years: 1. Never think you’re ahead of the game We went through a phase a few years ago where everything we touched made money. I thought I was so good: And then the competitors came. I watched them,...

  • Company Office

    HealthQ

    HealthQ has been  tasked to assist with the testing and industrialization of a technology called LifeQ. The LifeQ product, worn by the user, will be able to determine the amount of calories and type of food that is being metabolized in real-time. Through constant electronic monitoring, both the energy uptake from food consumption and the energy expenditure of the user from vital functions and exercise will be accurately tracked, without the need for manual data logging and intervention, or the use of inaccurate proxies such as accelerometers or GPS. Being essentially a dashboard with the ability to track processes inside...

  • Steeple: the virtual real estate broker

    If you're thinking about selling your house, give Steeple a look. Launched earlier this month, the online estate agency service for South Africans keeps commissions low by cutting out flesh-and-blood estate agents. Sellers send their property details and photos to Steeple and show potential buyers around themselves. Steeple will value the property, market it on online property websites, arrange viewings, obtain feedback, negotiate with buyers, and project-manage the sale -- all without visiting your home. The startup has been operating in test-mode since March and claims to have already sold a number of properties. David de Waal, a chartered accountant and...

  • 5 entrepreneurial lessons from 3 African tech innovators

    Africa has made promising leaps in the tech space over the past few years. Hubs in Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria are all priming the next generation of entrepreneurs to make a big splash on the continent and the world. Those who have already succeeded provide lessons and models for others to follow. They will of course be adapted and changed, sometimes for the worse, but mostly for the better. And if entrepreneurs are looking for role models, they could do a lot worse than the likes of Sim Shagaya, Mbawna Alliy and Verone Mankou. All three have...

  • What are some of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make? [Video]

    If you run your own business, then you’ve become very good at one thing, and that’s making mistakes. Starting a new business requires you to possess many skills, many of which you’re admittedly not that good at. Unfortunately, screwing up is an inevitability as a new business owner. I’m a small business owner myself and I’ve made tons of mistakes. But I’m calling it quits now. Not for my business, but for my mistakes. I don’t want to make any more. To lessen my mistake quotient, I asked attendees of the Small Business Expo in New York to tell me...

  • Naspers snaps up online photography retailer SAcamera

    Emerging markets internet and media giant Naspers has snapped up SAcamera, an independent online retailer that sells cameras and photographic equipment. According to Bandwidth Blog, the outfit will be absorbed into Kalahari -- one of South Africa's largest online stores. SAcamera will however reportedly retain its own identity within Kalahari. “The appetite for online retailing in South Africa, and for quality products backed up by efficient service at the right price, has grown, and continues to grow significantly,” said Jesse Hemson-Struthers, who started SAcamera back in 2004. He also reportedly said that the deal would enable the business to...

  • Meet the startups set to battle it out at IBM’s inaugural SmartCamp SA

    Tech startups from across the country are about to throw down for top honours at the first IBM SmartCamp to be held on South African soil. The team that emerges victorious, will compete in the Global SmartCamp Finals for the chance to be crowned IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year. In September this year, we reported on South Africa's induction into the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program. IBM SmartCamps are an aspect of the Global Entrepreneur initiative designed to foster startups involved in building new technologies that tackle some of the world's most pressing issues. SmartCamp winners receive mentoring, access to...

  • appening: The SA-born app that lets you know what’s happening

    Geo-location is a becoming a hotly contested space right now. The latest entrant in the space is South Africa's appening, a mobile event app that allows users to keep up to date with local events. The apps targets events to users in their specific areas pushing the information to their mobile phone or tablets. The creator of the app, Dale Amler, reckons "appening answers a question that we have all asked, what is there to do." Amler says the app can be used to find a wide variety of events: appening enables users to find a wide range of events,...

  • Internet startups in South Africa: some home truths

    Founders of South African startups are overwhelmingly white and male. And, for all the rumpus around the lack of access to VC in the country, the majority of new ventures do not seem to be actively pursuing funding. Furthermore, turnovers seem to be R1-million or less and emerge mainly from founders with tertiary educations and stable incomes -- either while being an employee at a company, or as an existing business owner. If startups are to be the solution to South Africa's economic woes, the importance of education is clear or at the very least, there has to be an...

  • 3 tips for entering the US market: From Russia, with love of startups

    Culturally, socially and historically, Silicon Valley and Moscow are worlds (or at least 5800 miles) apart. But in a small pocket of Moscow, a growing number of entrepreneurs – supported by a growing number of enthusiastic local venture capitalists – are beginning to make the Russian capital a key pushpin on the tech startup map. The international success of these startups will ultimately dictate how the Russian high-tech community is viewed, but there is a raw (and at times admittedly naïve) passion for creating high tech that has begun to get Russia international attention. Being part of this tightly knit...

  • 5 pieces of startup wisdom from Svbtle founder Dustin Curtis’ Twitter account

    Among the pantheon of Silicon Valley types on Twitter, Dustin Curtis is one of the more worthwhile ones for anyone involved in the startup scene to follow. The founder of long-form content venture Svbtle, Curtis describes himself as a "rogue industrialist" and "villain". That kind of attitude runs through his Twitter feed. The widely read designer mixes humour with sage advice and his own experiences. Here are five of the best pieces of wisdom he's tweeted out recently: 1. On people and time You can't buy someone's obsession, you can only buy their time. This is why most startup acquisitions...

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