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  • Africa’s crowdfunding context: starting up startups the African way

    "Crowdfunding is the democratization of for startups," says founder of Thundafund Patrick Schofield. People get the opportunity to directly vote with their wallets for the services or products they want. Though massively popular and hyped-up by the media in the US and Western Europe, where does it leave Africa? How has the continent adopted its philosophy to its own advantage, and is it successful? Starting up startups the African way Out of all the sites we could find, there are as many as three in South Africa namely StartMe, FundFind and the most recent ThundaFund to provide micro financing...

  • Company Office

    Digital Agency Creative Spark expands to Johannesburg, opens up new office in Sandton

    Full-service digital marketing and development agency Creative Spark has opened up a permanent office inSandton, Johannesburg, to support its growing client base in Gauteng and complement the company’s existing Cape Town head office. The new branch is currently being headed up by Creative Spark’s Head of Digital Marketing, Melissa Chetty, who has been with the company almost since its inception – and who has been part of the company’s growth from startup to a mid-sized digital agency. The Johannesburg team now includes account management, digital content producers, project management staff and some development capability and supplements the 45-strong staff complement based...

  • Duties, supply and cost: the problem with making hardware in Africa

    Recently I wrote about the making of our mobile internet router, the BRCK, here in Nairobi, and I alluded to some of the issues around doing hardware in Africa: Making things is hard. It’s harder in Africa. I can’t overnight an order of processors, boards or 3D printing filament here. There isn't an over abundance of local fabrication facilities or tools, and the milling machine you find might be in disrepair and take you two days to calibrate. We’ve got our work cut out to create the right spaces for prototyping and small-scale fabrication on the continent. I just had another...

  • Don’t go unappreciated or waste money on gift cards anymore, be Kiind

    A gift-card given, is a gift-card thrown away, as a wise man once said. A verbose and fake idiom, but in reality about 8%-19% of gift cards are never used. For Kiind, a Canadian-based startup, this means waste: financial waste, environmental waste, delivery and time waste... it's just so wasteful, and Kiind aims to fix that with its new gift-card platform which only charges a giver, "when the receiver chooses to use the gift." Actually, if you were to take Kiind's press release at face value, we've got a gift-card crisis on our hands. "If you bought a gift card for...

  • African crowdfunding site seeks funding… on crowdfunding site

    There are a number of upcoming crowdfunding platforms in Africa, but this Nigerian-based startup is taking an interesting route -- it's launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds it needs to get its site up and running. Yes, a crowdfunding site is using another crowdfunding site. Meta. Headed by two co-founders and five volunteers based in Abuja, GogoAfrika is currently seeking US$15 000 to cover the building of its website and the initial marketing and awareness costs. It is currently working on a beta version which is set to launch in early August, but if it meets its...

  • Startup Blitz: Supernice on improving brands’ digital engagement

    "Innovate. Touch. Create." are the words that Supernice stands for. While aiming to create "not just another app," the startup wants to create fun, engaging and rewarding brand experiences. Our new Startup Blitz, puts Supernice founder Daren Fuchs under the spotlight. Simply put, the startup promotes better user engagement for brands to connect the online with the offline world. This is done by designing digital widgets ranging from web, mobile to touch and gesture-based applications focused on improving interactive digital experiences. So far Supernice's portfolio includes applications for Adidas and The Bubbleheads as well as an environmental awareness iPad game called POP...

  • The startup curve South Africa: wiggles of realism

    It is sometimes too easy to dish out titbits of startup advice from a venture capital ivory tower without going through the practical realities of executing a business plan, but pattern recognition could close some expectation gaps. As Paul Graham pointed out in his version of the Startup Curve, while many people think startups are smoothly up and to the right all the time, the path to success is more of a roller coaster ride. Because of a fragile startup ecosystem in South Africa, startups here have additional challenges to overcome. An adaptation of the Startup Curve reflects the typical path of a local startup’s wild ride...

  • SumUp secures funding to take mobile payments to South America

    Mobile point-of-sale company, SumUp, recently raised a rumoured 'double-digit million Euro' round in Series B funding from Groupon and American Express. Today it announced further Series B funding with investment from BBVA Ventures. The investment from BBVA Ventures, which is the corporate venture arm of multinational banking group BBVA, will help SumUp cement its position in Spain and Portugal, as well as expand into South America in the near future, reports The Next Web. The investment amount is undisclosed, but it is known that BBVA Ventures has US$100 million at its disposal to back financial service startups worldwide. SumUp co-founder...

  • Go start something: free Ruby on Rails workshop for women and their friends

    The organisers behind the RailsBridge Workshop, believe that there is a gender imbalance in Cape Town's tech community. The inaugural "one-and-a-bit day" Ruby programming course that runs from 26 July to 27 July, aims to serve as a starting point to women interested in coding. The free workshop which promises to show how programming skills can be useful, empowering, and fun -- particularly in the context of the web -- is bound to pique the interest of female entrepreneurs who have been thinking about starting an online venture. RailsBridge is an opportunity to both learn and network with a...

  • Martin Bjergegaard talks pitching new ventures, multi-million dollar exits

    Martin Bjergegaard was an unknown name to me, till some few weeks ago. His profile, at the time, included him being the co-author of Winning Without Losing and being the co-founder of a startup accelerator called Startup Bootcamp. That alone, aside from the fact that he’ll be in South Africa next week, was enough for me to want to find out more. Bjergegaard built the Startup Bootcamp as well as Rainmaking, which is dubbed a ‘startup factory’, and was part of two multi-million dollar exits at the age of 35. At both Rainmaking and the Startup Bootcamp, Bjergegaard and...

  • The trifecta of pitching (plus two): why good startups don’t get funded

    People ask these questions often, especially in startup obsessed circles. Why don't good startups get funded and why do bad ones? It seems there is finally an answer. I recently came across this piece from iBusiness Angel on Twitter (Hat tip: Brett Commaille). The piece looks at why good startups don't get funded and bad ones do. It's actually quite simply in the end -- leadership. The piece argues that the quality of a pitch is highly dependent of the quality of the leadership team. Defining leadership as "the level of influence that a person or a pitching team has. No...

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