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  • How to build a successful startup

    When it comes to venture capital, Keet van Zyl is as savvy as they come. He's worked for companies such as Procter & Gamble, Investec Bank and HBD Venture Capital, and helped set up private equity funds in the Southern African region for a US-based investor. He also co-founded fund manager, Knife Capital as well as the business Angel investment group, AngelHub, which invests in startups with high-growth potential. Based on his experience as a partner and board member of various investments, van Zyl shared some of his thoughts on what it takes to build a successful startup. His findings...

  • Company Office

    treadFEST 2017 - five stages with Graeme Watkins Project, Goodluck, Majozi

    treadFEST 2017, which takes place in the Drakensberg from 3 to 6 December, presents five stages with a mix of music genres: The Graeme Watkins Project, Goodluck and Majozi are just three among a host of bands and DJs in the pipeline. The Graeme Watkins Project exploded onto the SA music scene in 2011. Their debut album Corridors of the Mind produced no less than five top-10 singles and catapulted them into the spotlight. Their second album Soldier On, released in 2013, confirmed the band's dirty, edgy, rough approach to a medley of pop, indie, rock and electronic genres. Catch “the band with love in...

  • 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,...

  • 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...