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  • ‘Artists helping artists’ with Headliner.fm

    Queen once sang, "I want to break free". They might easily have been talking about recording artists breaking free from the shackles of the traditional music business model. Headliner.FM embraces this and wants to "spread the music", helping artists to connect with their fan base. Facebook and Twitter users are invited to the party to swap music recommendations based on personal choice and the option of raising awareness for one of the 110 000 musicians currently registered on Headliner.fm. Headliner.fm is a meaty concept, with plenty of sinew to chew on. Essentially a recommendation and promotion engine, Headliner.fm "lets artists market themselves...

  • Company Office

    Banking Africa's Unbanked - Time For A Reality Check

    Plenty of progress has been made on increasing the size of Africa’s banked population. The trouble is, from the amount of noise that is made about the topic, you would be forgiven for thinking we had fixed the problem when we really haven’t. According to the World Bank, today, 62 per cent of the world’s population has a bank account. In 2011 that figure was 51 per cent. In three years, 700 million people became “banked” in some way, and the number of “unbanked” individuals dropped 20 per cent to two billion adults. Much of this progress was attributed to...

  • Death is the default for startups, and your little idea means nothing

    Death is the default for startups, reckons Amazon Web Services Technology Evangelist Simone Brunozzi. Apart from having a really cool Twitter handle @Simon, Brunozzi has founded a few startups himself, so speaks with some authority. Speaking at a Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg he mentioned that there was quite a bit of confusion at what constituted a "startup". He emphasised that most new businesses in the world were actually not startups, but were "service companies". I guess they like to call themselves "startups" because it's very funky and trendy to call yourself one these days. But to qualify as a startup, says...

  • Financial investors vs business owners: Every startup’s ‘offside’ relationship

    My cry goes out not to add to the orchestra of outrage as referees seemingly miss foul play in our favourite sports, but to voice my support for another cause, the "Business Owner" and "Financial Investor" relationship, where too many "offside" decisions are not blown. Any business owner, unless their family has one of those black American Express credit cards or they have, like Scrooge McDuck, managed to save their life earnings, would have had a relationship with a Financial Investor in some form. Call them Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists, Financial Institutions or my Silent Partner, I refer to...

  • FeedbackRocket, a ‘360 degree’ employer feedback tool

    If buzzwords like "360 degree feedback" and "anonymised responses" rev your engine, then FeedbackRocket.com will fuel the fire inside of you. FeedbackRocket is anonymous employee-to-employer feedback technology, used simply and effectively to communicate issues to relevant managers at work. Or as Dr. Gavin Symanowitz, the founder of FeedbackRocket puts it, "It enables important work-place conversations that would never happen face-to-face. It opens up the lines of communication between managers and employees in a powerful new way". Launched in June 2011, this self-funded Johannesburg-based company was the sole concept of Symanowitz, qualified actuary and previous strategic head of a major South African...

  • You better scale up: The ecommerce boom is upon us

    By 2015 companies will generate 50% of their online business via their social presence and mobile applications. This bold claim comes from prominent research company, Gartner. Retailers in the e-commerce sector will begin to offer new context-aware, mobile-based application capabilities that can be accessed via a browser or installed as an application on a phone. This will happen as the number of mobile phones overtakes PCs and as people use mobile browsers and applications as the main points of interaction. Gartner reckons that ecommerce operations will need to scale up their operations to handle the increased traffic on their sites...

  • Pitching perfection to investors: A 10-step guide

    Enthusiastic entrepreneurs looking to raise funding must realise that a great business case alone is definitely not enough to guarantee a favorable outcome. Not preparing adequately for a presentation to an angel investor or a venture capital fund is a sure-fire way of guaranteeing failure. The power of a strong, well polished pitch to funders cannot be underestimated and it warrants considerable time and effort to make sure that you hit the mark first off. Here are some tips on what funders might expect from entrepreneurs hoping to make a good impression. 1. Perfect your micro pitch This is your 90-second introduction,...

  • Eight startups that promise to Ignite

    Tech4Africa, a prominent web and emerging technology conference, has announced the eight finalists for its "Samsung Ignite" startup initiative. The startups provide a diverse range of services, covering everything from real-time wine buying assistance to automised billing. Ignite aims to showcase and foster local technology development and is inspired by similar competitions at internationally renowned conferences like South by South West and TechCrunch Disrupt. The eight finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their companies to an audience of influencers, journos, bloggers, media, attendees, investors, mentors, and their peers. "We are extremely excited about such a platform from which local...

  • Ziliot.com — making social B2B simple

    How often do you consider your business relationships in the social realm? Did you ever realise how powerful its influence can be in developing your company? Social startup Ziliot.com wants to harness the power of social networking, to "bridge the business trust and information gap between developed countries and developing countries". Memeburn spoke to Aniekan Okono, the 30 year-old Founder of Ziliot. Okono runs the company from Finland with his business partner, Tuan Vu, a software engineering graduate with a "distinguished interest in business”. Becoming the leaders of B2B Ziliot is all about bringing new business to the masses. Okono cottoned...

  • 4 steps to ‘acquirability’ in an age of tech optimism

    In the midst of a financial crisis earlier this year, news circulated that Apple held more cash than the US government. Analysts took what they wanted from the situation, but one thing is clear: Technology is driving wealth creation despite uncertainty in many sectors. Some have called it the Second Gilded age of massive wealth creation -- the original Gilded Age being the Roaring Twenties in the railroad era. Startup geeks and entrepreneurs are keen to take advantage, but so are investors. In his book, Richistan, the Wall Street Journal’s Robert Frank profiles the world’s new moneyed rich and...

  • eCommerce site buys Mr Delivery arm to offer same-day deliveries

    TAKEALOT, a South African online retail store and Mr Delivery Express, a subsidiary company of Mr Delivery Holdings are teaming up to give “speedier and more efficient service through the eventual introduction of same-day delivery for any item held in stock.” Simply put, same-day delivery for online shoppers. A 40% stake in Mr Delivery Express has been cemented by TAKEALOT and is said to be “a first of its kind in the South African e-commerce industry.” “Mr Delivery has a national footprint and partnering with TAKEALOT was a natural evolution given the nature of their business. With the logistical backbone that...

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