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  • 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...

  • Company Office

    Sureswipe launches another service to help small retailers grow their business

    Sureswipe, one of South Africa’s first card payment acceptance companies, has introduced a new online service, called Self Sign up, that allows retailers to order and pay for their card payment machines online and start processing customers’ credit cards within days. “We believe that all retailers across South Africa should be able to accept card payments to increase sales. This has not always been possible mainly due to affordability and accessibility," says Sureswipe managing director Paul Kent (pictured above). Kent says the company's new Self Sign up service removes the daunting and time-consuming application and contracting process, which often involves face-to-face...

  • With CellSchool Mxit flexes its muscles as an online teaching platform

    Despite the recent turmoil at Mxit, it's good to see the instant messaging service continuing to attract interest from companies involved in South Africa's education sector. A free revision series designed to help this year’s Matrics ace their exams, has been developed on the Mxit platform. ‘CellSchool’, created by the EISH-Team in partnership with the Digital Media and Marketing Agency (DMMA), consists of short video lessons for six key subjects that guide Grade 12s through what they need to study to succeed in their final exams. With forty 10- to 15-minute lessons for Maths, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and English FAL,...

  • Pizza, beer and elevator pitches. Google/88mph partnership launches

    Ventureburn was invited to the Google for Entrepreneurs offices in Woodstock, Cape Town for the launch of the search giant's partnership with Kenyan-born startup accelerator 88mph. The the 88mph programme will be merging with Google's previous incubation programme, Umbono, and startups will be supported by both 88mph and Google for Entrepreneurs going forward. 88mph will take the lead with its structured accelerator programme and Google will provide mentorship and program support to startups in the 88mph program. Program Manager Johanna Kollar opened the event and spoke about the demand for incubation programmes in the country. Kollar, who works on startup...

  • Howzit MSN partners with Ad Dynamo to help brands advertise in Nigeria

    Howzit MSN is partnering with advertising network Ad Dynamo to monetise its growing traffic in Nigeria. The partnership allows brands to reach Nigerian consumers that frequent Howzit MSN properties. Ad Dynamo now serves more than a billion contextual ads per month across over 28 000 websites. The South African ad-serving company has an extensive footprint in Africa, which made it an attractive partner for Howzit MSN. Howzit MSN, owned by Kagiso New Media, is one of South Africa's largest Web portals and the official South African partner for Microsoft's MSN. Microsoft redirects African traffic from its global MSN property...

  • China’s second largest ecommerce site goes global

    China’s second-largest e-commerce site, 360Buy, has opened up an English-language site that will ship items to 35 countries worldwide. The site has just gone live minutes ago at en.360buy.com. The site’s help center points out that it’s only accepting PayPal as a payment method for now, and all goods will be shipped out of China, causing lengthy delays. As I first suspected when I heard this news, 360Buy is not truly launching in lots of markets, with warehouses and stock in numerous countries -- as Amazon has done. Rather this sees 360Buy using its existing resources in China to reach...

  • What’s wrong with Africa’s startup scene?

    We were first introduced to Zimbabwean Munyuki Manatsa, when his online hip hop community mixdem, started trending on tech news aggregator, Hacker News. In a recent blog post, he kicks around a few sticking points which he believes are holding Africa's tech startup scene back from prospering. Despite the global crunch, the continent continues to draw positive growth outlooks thanks in large part to its oil and mining industries. But, like many, Manatsa senses that the continent's technology sector has plenty of potential for growth and that it will be a key industry that drives personal and economic prosperity in...

  • Wumii: the Chinese reader app that thinks it knows what you want to read

    One of China’s most innovative reading apps, Wumii Reader has just upgraded its Android app to version 2.0. In contrast to many other apps that demand you add in lots of subscriptions or preferred sites -- which can be quite laborious -- Wumii Reader instead uses its own clever algorithm to offer up what it thinks you might want to read. One new feature that takes advantage of that is the “shake to read” that causes the Wumii app to freshen up your suggested list of relevant articles. Also new in this v2.0 beta is a reading network where you...

  • SA gets R400m VC fund for startups and SMEs

    This is big news anyone involved in the running of a startup. Business Partners, a specialist risk finance company, has launched a R400-million fund for small and medium-sized businesses in South Africa. A portion of that will be aimed tech startups, with the fund concentrating on providing first-round finance deals up to R10-million. The main criteria for investment, the company says, will be the potential for growth and its viability as a business. “Small businesses, particularly those in the concept or start-up phase, struggle to find funding as financiers are reluctant to enter this high-risk arena,” Business Partners...

  • Ecommerce advertising: Online has its own rules baby

    While at the Online Retail Conference last week in Cape Town, Danie Strachan from Adams and Adams gave a very succinct presentation on the CPA (Consumer Protection Act) and POPI (Protection of Personal Information). Filled with this information, I’m pretty sure many retailers went and made a few small changes to their offerings to legalise them. All good. But the online world has its own set of rules. You may very well be abiding by the laws of your country, but not those of the internet. Or vice versa. Here are just a few ways that you can either “get...

  • CityMob: How a startup pivoted from group-buying into flash sales

    CityMob, the group buying site started by three entrepreneurs in Cape Town, South Africa in early 2011, has made a significant change in direction as the shake-out in the group buying market continues. Although profitable at the time, the trio – Luke Jedeikin, Claude Hanan and Daniel Solomon – have decided to move away from the mass discount, quantity over quality focus in much of the group buying space. As their competitors closed up shop, including the Naspers-backed Dealify and the Avusa-backed Zappon, the CityMob founders had already identified their key differentiator and were planning the relaunch of their...