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  • 6 startups scaling up in India

    Startups that operate in important sectors such as healthcare, analytics, and small business lending found funding today. And then there was news of an investment by industry honcho Ratan Tata. Here are the six on our list today: UrbanClap Local services marketplace UrbanClap has just found an investor in industrialist Ratan Tata, who has put in money in his personal capacity, the company said in a statement. UrbanClap is a marketplace for hiring professionals for local services such as plumbing, yoga training, tutoring and wedding photography. It provides over 80 services and operates in NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, and Hyderabad. The...

  • Company Office

    How to find a strong mentor to guide you to business success

    Why every entrepreneur needs multiple mentors… While the challenges of being an entrepreneur have been well-documented, reports often fail to describe the feelings of self-doubt, loneliness and isolation that tend to plague aspiring entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. No amount of angel funding, slick technology or strategic business consulting can really assuage the feelings of doubt that accompany starting a brave new enterprise. Yet this is where strong mentorship can play a critical role – and in fact can prove to be far more valuable than landing an investment deal or angel fund backing. Mentors can keep tired...

  • Investors should look to private equity in Sub-Saharan Africa, says CEO of SAVCA

    Private equity in Africa is set to present significant opportunities, says CEO of the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA), Erika van der Merwe. According to van der Merwe, sub-Saharan African is experiencing strong economic growth and generating robust returns. Private equity is under-represented in the region and is something that should be explored. This is backed up by the Search for Returns survey, which states that 80% of investors expect African private equity to outperform African-listed equity over the next decade. South Africa has done well with private equity investments by delivering healthy returns. She believes the industry's 30-year track...

  • Invest in training your employees — 6 ways it will pay off for your business

    In a difficult economic climate, the training and education budget is often one of the first areas of the business to suffer cutbacks. After all, training can be expensive, takes people away from the work they’re paid to do and often delivers benefits that can be hard to quantify. But it’s worth remembering that every business with a payroll in excess of R500,000 pays a Skills Development Levy to the government for each employee and can claim back a portion of that amount in the form of training grants. Why leave that money on the table when you can use...

  • Sw7, AlphaCode open applications for fintech accelerator

    Applications have opened for the Sw7 and AlphaCode fintech accelerator. The partnership looks to create the first Fintech Accelerator in Africa. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the programme will take place at the AlphaCode premises in Sandton, Johannesburg. It will start on 27 January and continue over the course of 12 weeks. Microsoft's BizSpark Plus will be lending its support to the programme as well. Sw7 co-founder Odette Jones says the company has been running a closed recruitment round for a few weeks and have accumulated a number of strong applicants. "We are processing these and will be opening...

  • Why SweepSouth believes in US-based 500 Startups incubator

    South African-based on-demand cleaning service SweepSouth believes more local startups should take advantage of US-based initiative 500 Startups. The company recently returned from the four-month long incubation in San Francisco. 500 Startups is a seed fund, incubator and accelerator based out of Silicon Valley in the United States. In the past five years, the programme has invested in over 100 companies from 40 countries. Aisha Pandor, CEO and co-founder of SweepSouth says: "It's impossible to put a value on what sharing experiences with others in different markets, with different business strategies and plans, has on how we as a team think about...

  • Riovic wants to be the personal financial advisor in your pocket

    Plaguing unbankable communities -- in addition to not having access to banking services -- is not having access to professional financial advice. South Africa's Riovic, a virtual financial advice service, wants to change this. Based in Johannesburg, Riovic wants to bring virtual financial advice to every single person in South Africa, by putting a financial advisor in your pocket 24/7. “It puts your bank branch in your pocket,” quips twenty-three year old Naledi Mokoena (pictured above), the founder of Riovic. Having studied BCom Financial Management at the University of Pretoria, Mokoena is focusing on a field that she understands all too...

  • Rise: Barclays officially opens hub to catalyse fintech innovation in Africa

    Last month, ex-Barclay's CEO Antony Jenkins warned that banks face massive disruption within the very near future. Similar to how the popular ride-sharing app Uber is upsetting the balance within the transport industry, so too does the financial services sector face inevitable disruption. Technologies such as cryptocurrencies, blockchains and mobile are opening up cheaper, faster and more secure avenues for services. In order to stay ahead of the curve, Barclays has officially launched the African arm of its global innovation network called Rise. Located in Cape Town, South Africa at the The Bandwidth Barn, the hub is also partnering with the...

  • GoMetro Traffic wants to help on your holiday journey

    Just in time for the holiday season, GoMetro Traffic is an app designed for users travelling on roads. It is a spin-off of South African railway notification app, GoMetro. "We observed that other traffic applications are focused on navigation, and require a user to keep their GPS on all the time in order to receive traffic information. Obviously, this kills battery life and can overheat your phone," says Justin Coetzee of GoMetro in a recent press release. He goes on to say, "Our app doesn’t waste battery life because we don’t use your GPS to send contextual traffic alerts, rather using...

  • Entrepreneurship training for African startups? Stakeholders disagree

    While entrepreneurship is an essential aspect of the economy of most African countries with entrepreneurs acquiring knowledge from different sources, tech entrepreneurs in West Africa that desire to get empowered and supported to build their products and launch into the market desire to do that at either of the region’s two leading tech entrepreneurship incubators -- the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) located in Yaba area of Lagos, or Accra-based Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST). Even though these two incubators are both supporting tech entrepreneurs to build tech solutions for critical problems in their respective regions, their approaches are largely different....

  • Using lessons from tech innovation to build change elsewhere

    When he won the Nobel Prize for his work on laser technology, Charles Townes said, “It’s like the beaver told the rabbit as they stared at the Hoover Dam. ‘No, I didn’t build it myself. But it’s based on an idea of mine.’” Cheekiness aside, this remark hints at the escalation of ideas that define innovation. In his recent book and serial biography, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, author Walter Isaacson takes an entertaining and informative look at how innovation and failure propelled technological advances during what is being called the...