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  • Opening speech @ #SiliconCape

    Here is the text of the speech I gave at the opening of Silicon Cape in Camps Bay. I'm not alone in saying that this was an inspiring and well-supported event. Welcome everyone and thank you all for coming. A special welcome to the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, Dr Mamphela Ramphele and Mr Johann Rupert. It’s an absolute honour and it’s humbling to be speaking in front of such an important gathering of tech people in this country. I think we all realise that we’re part of history here. Here, today, history is being made. There are some powerful and...

  • Company Office

    Geeks Online SA to launch soon

    Brand new education startup Geeks Online SA (GOSA) based in Cape Town, South Africa, looks to bring an innovative solution in the education space. It’s an idea inspired by the self-proclaimed “Geek” himself, one of the co-founders. The company has been founded by two chief enthusiasts, Anele Geqiwe and Busisiwe Ngxande. What they lack in years of experience, the pair has vision and passion for education. The concept driving GOSA is very simple: it requires strong relationship between high school students and tertiary institutions. We aim to introduce and prepare Grade 10-12 students to academic competency standards expected in tertiary level. Of course there are so many solutions...

  • A short word on innovation

    Innovation in a business context is one of the most misunderstood concepts around. I have to admit that I've misunderstood it for most of my life too. I've grown to realise that ideas by themselves are pretty much worthless -- and innovation really arises out of a process of execution of those ideas that tests and combines other ideas, technologies and theories. It's common sense really. It's why Venture Capitalists will rarely invest in ideas (or even a track record), but rather need some evidence of execution (focus and passion help too). Of course there are always exceptions, but the...

  • The surprising science of motivation

    Fascinating TED talk on what motivates people in companies, challenging traditional notions of management. Very relevant to many online companies who are looking at building new and different cultures. (via Wendy Robb @ 20fourlabs)

  • Online chess play scoops $1.25m in funding

    ChessCube has concluded a US$1.25m funding agreement with Venture Capital fund, InVenFin (Pty) Ltd. InVenFin, the VC-focused subsidiary of VenFin Limited, invests in intellectual property-based start-ups with global potential. This transaction brings ChessCube’s total funding to date to US$1.8m. ChessCube is an online chess site, which allows players of all skill levels to compete and learn chess, while socializing with others. With a potential market of over fifty million active chess players in the world, ChessCube.com has already attracted over 650,000 registered users across 207 countries -- making it one of the leaders in the growing online chess market. Mark Levitt,...

  • Survey claims 80% of SA users shop online

    A survey by Master Card claims that 80% of South African users are shopping online. CDs, DVDs and VCDs” emerged as the most sought after item category, with 58% of online shoppers saying that they frequently shopped for these items online. “Airline tickets” and “books and arts” emerged as the next most sought after items, with 45% of online shoppers saying that they had frequently shopped for these items in the three months prior to when the survey was conducted. These are some of the primary findings of a survey commissioned by MasterCard Worldwide on online shopping behaviour, the results of which...

  • SA bank claims 1-million mobile phone banking users

    Absa, the country's largest retail bank, says it's one of the first banks in the world to notch up a million cellphone banking customers, prompting it to call "2009 the year for Cellphone Banking". It was the first South African bank to introduce Cellphone Banking services in the year 2000. Absa says that over the last few years there has been a surge in uptake, with up to 5000 new clients registering for Cellphone Banking each day. Absa says: “From observing the registration and usage numbers, 2009 will be the year in which Cellphone Banking develops serious traction in the market such...

  • Sequoia Capital on startups and the economic downturn

    This presentation from famous Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm, Sequoia Capital, is a must-see. It explains the effects of the economic downturn on venture capital and internet startups. The news obviously isn't good, as investors will shun typically risky online startups, unless they are entities that can turn faster, if not immediate, profits. There’s quite a bit of information on what went wrong in the economy, why the recovery is going to take some time, and what startups can do to survive. Sequoia reckon that startups without at least a year's worth of cash in the bank are in trouble....

  • Internet Solutions to create new VC fund for web innovation?

    It looks like Internet Solutions (IS) may be creating some kind of incubator or venture capital fund to encourage local web innovation and startups. The details are sketchy at this stage, but it in fact looks like the new initiative will launch as soon as this month, possibly middle of the month, with the launch of their website. I've been promised further clarity on the new venture in the coming weeks. I am guessing there is some Ronnie Apteker influence in this, as Ronnie has been travelling the world lately looking at new online ventures to invest in. Apteker was...

  • Venture Capital: The lies people tell

    Got this from a presentation by David Murray of Cape Venture Partners, a Venture Capital fund which has invested in quite a few successful businesses. Was alerted by a comment about 10 seconds after I posted this (literally) that it was originally adapted from Guy Kawasaki, here and here. So duly credited. Top ten lies entrepreneurs tell 1. “Our market is $X billion” 2. “We won’t need a second round of financing” 3. “A large contract with BigCo is signing next week” 4. “If we sell less than 50% of the company we still have control” 5. “All our estimates are very conservative” 6. “We...

  • SA aggregator cracks CNN mention

    This is killer. CNN.com mentioned Afrigator as a hot web 2.0 startup. Afrigator is the Africa-focused blog aggregator by Justin Hartman and Mike Stopforth. Nice. Very nice guys. Just noticed that my evil twin, who called me about it on the way back from work, also blogged about it here. This is the second time an SA Web 2.0 project has cracked a mention. Neville Newey's muti, a local Digg, was also recognised by CNN some time ago. Nice to see these cool, local projects on the world map.