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  • Google-backed VC supergroup to startups: build us a killer Glass app!

    We're pretty big fans of Google Glass. This type of wearable computer has tremendous potential to augment our daily experiences, but we're only starting to imagine what's possible. So is Google. To help the search monolith along, it's created the Glass Collective, a venture capital supergroup consisting of Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). The three VC companies have teamed up to "provide seed funding to entrepreneurs in the Glass ecosystem to help jumpstart their ideas," writes Bill Maris, VP, Google Ventures. Google is thinking of Glass as a new computing platform and as such, it...

  • Company Office

    New integrated payment, POS solution allows retailers to transact in 2 seconds

    The South African financial technology company that brought card-payment systems to smaller businesses as far back as 2008 has just announced a new integrated payment solution that will benefit franchise store owners, larger independent retailers and franchise owners. Sureswipe is SA’s first independent payment service provider to offer a fully integrated payment solution with acquiring services. Paul Kent, managing director of Sureswipe, says: “Our new Integrated Payments product has been developed for higher volume businesses that use a Point-of-Sale system. It reduces manual hours spent on reconciliations, makes customer payments quicker and safer, and cuts both costs and complexity. We have brought functionality...

  • Leadership lessons from the Iron Lady

    Vilified by some, loved by others – the leadership legacy of Margaret Thatcher is as varied as it is distinct. Said German chancellor Angela Merkel: "She was an extraordinary leader in global politics of her time. I will never forget her part in surmounting the division of Europe and at the end of the Cold War." Analysing Thatcher’s eleven and a half years in office, here are three primary leadership lessons that have characterised her style of leadership and are most applicable both to leadership in politics and business today. Clarity trumps consensus Shortly after taking office in Downing Street in...

  • Vodacom partner Mondo launches with SIM-only option

    The headache of getting a cellphone contract just got a little of bit of remedy with the launch of Mondo -- an online mobi shop in full partnership with cellular network giant Vodacom. Promising to end the days of waiting in long queues, customers can purchase everything from cellphone to data contracts as well as various mobile devices on generic Vodacom deals or exclusive Mondo deals. Mondo's real kicker is that it offers SIM-only contracts which has multiple benefits. SIM-only is great for people who already own a phone, and in a country like South Africa it makes a lot...

  • Mentorship Marketplace: matching entrepreneurs with business experts

    African entrepreneurs are increasingly looking for mentorship. Locally, a study by the Silicon Cape initiative, revealed that access to business mentors was the second most sought after resource. Now, VC4Africa (Venture Capital for Africa), the African entrepreneurial hub, is launching the Mentorship Marketplace, a peer-to-peer marketplace where entrepreneurs can add "mentor requests" that are searchable and actionable by a pool of registered mentors. Entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to grow their business in Africa now have access to a group of dedicated mentors, while Africans living abroad can get directly involved with venture creation. Assisting promising entrepreneurs Having a...

  • Tips for personalised ecommerce and the savvy eshops that inspire them

    Personalised ecommerce. It's all about data. Every click, purchase, like, share or pin executed on a website has the potential to allude to your tastes. How eshops use that information effectively is a tricky business indeed. But now, the age of collected and then curated information, is upon us -- and we're here to help you. One could argue that there are two divisions of personalised ecommerce. They aren't necessarily distinct in that their end-goal is the same -- to get you to buy more things -- but that they operate in different manners, and play on...

  • 20 finalist startups announced for U-Start showcase in Milan

    U-Start, the Italian funding platform with a penchant for emerging markets is narrowing its search for six of South Africa’s top startups. The winning teams will be showcased to investors in Milan, Italy from 11 May to 14 May 2013. U-Start says that it has received entries for its BLOOM Business Plan Competition from over 250 enterprises. 20 finalists have been selected for the South African leg of the business plan competition which will be held at the Bandwidth Barn on 11 April 2013. Let's take a look at the finalists. Chowhub -- An online takeaway and food delivery service. Chowhub is...

  • For the sake of future startups, WeChat has to stand up to the telcos

    China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is pressuring Tencent to subsidise telcos in China for supporting the huge data demands of the user base of its popular IM chat app WeChat. There are a total of 300-million WeChat users globally and 260-million residing in China. According to Chinese authorities, either Tencent or its users have to foot the bill. But Tencent president, Martin Lau, confirmed over the weekend that WeChat will remain free to users. Good news for users, at least for now. I find this whole subsidising the telcos fiasco ridiculous simply because users have actually paid...

  • Invasion: will international attention boost or badger African tech startups?

    As Africa keeps emitting positive economic signals, international investment will continue to rise. The question is, how will it affect Africa's tech startup scene? Will it boost the fledgling ecosystem, or cannibalise greenfield opportunities? There's a balance in the middle there somewhere, and it's worth exploring. For example, Futurex is the latest international security company to see opportunity in Africa. Based out of Texas USA, the 30-year old company specialises in encryption for secure transactions. Futurex will be represented in South Africa by Stanchion Payment Solutions. As Africa’s unbanked start to gain access to new payment channels, while connectivity...

  • Seed Engine selects first 6 startups, applications remain open

    Since we last checked in on Seed Engine, the accelerator has begun its first 13 week accelerator boot camp. Six teams of entrepreneurs have been selected from more than 300 applications. Each venture has been given R100 000 startup capital to convert their ideas into practical business plans ready to attract further investment at a demo day in May. Entrepreneurs hope to raise between R200 000 and R2-million. Marc Elias, CEO of Seed Engine says that the ventures selected are all tech focused, have international appeal as well as disruptive and scalable qualities. "There is tremendous energy in our Sandton based...

  • Three trends linking Silicon Valley to Africa’s startup ecoystem

    There is simply no denying that tech entrepreneurship in Africa is on the rise, and the dedication and passion of community leaders across the continent has resulted in a strong pool of technology-driven investment opportunities. From our vantage point high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, we’ve been watching three trends that seem to be bridging the ocean between Silicon Valley and the so-called Silicon Savannah. Below are three trends that demonstrate these connections. The rapid growth of accelerator programs Going through an accelerator program today, some would argue, is equivalent to past generations getting their MBAs. The key benefits from an accelerator...