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  • 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...

  • Company Office

    Zapacab Releases the Simplest App to Order a Taxi

    Cape Town mobile taxi ordering startup Zapacab has released native apps for Android and iOS devices. This is in response to passengers demand for “clever, easy to use apps”. Zapacab initially launched their product on mobile browsers to allow all passengers the easiest access to ordering a cab. With the majority of users being Android and iPhone users, the requests for a slicker app-based experience have been numerous. Chief executive officer (CEO) Rupert Sully says they will continue to offer the web based service for Blackberry users, but felt it was strategic to launch the native apps. "It is the sort...

  • 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...

  • What happens after Venture Capital funding is secured?

    Many Venture Capital (VC) articles, blogs and the like focus on how to secure VC. But not many disclose that the real work starts post-investment. While the investment decision is critical to portfolio performance, VCs spend more than 60% of their time on post-investment activities in order to grow investments for lucrative exits. These activities can be separated into monitoring (protecting the interests of the investor) and value-adding activities (strategic influence, mentorship and access to networks). It should be noted that because of the many different VC management styles, VC involvement post-investment vary greatly -- ranging from informal interaction to...

  • Make Group-Buying work for your business

    Unless you've been holed-up in a snow-cave the last few months (Saskatoon is so lovely this time of year), you’ve probably heard about this “incredible phenomenon” called Group-Buying. It’s touted as the ultimate way for you to generate business awareness and get more clients through the door. South Africa hasn’t been left behind either -- someone mentioned to me last week that there are now 39 such sites around in South Africa, with an airline just starting one. Even local Shock-Jock, Gareth Cliff, has one. With everyone jumping on the bandwagon of Group-Buying, should you be putting your business on...

  • We are on the verge of an eCommerce revolution

    If you have recently spent any time in the United Kingdom or United States, you will no doubt be aware of the vast difference in eCommerce between South Africa and those countries. In statistics, the difference is made clear: In 2010, UK shoppers spent GBP£58.8bn (US$92bn) online, while South Africans did a paltry ZAR2bn (US$254-million). Even accounting for population differences that's a significant differential. So, why is South Africa so far behind? It's certainly not that eCommerce itself is without benefits. In fact, it's often chosen over traditional retail for three main factors: range, price and convenience. No need for...

  • WooThemes launches retail WordPress plugin

    WordPress theme provider WooThemes has launched a new plugin application and library of integrated themes. The company claims that the product, called WooCommerce, will help "individuals and businesses turn WordPress sites into simple, elegant and fully-customisable eCommerce offerings". The South African-based company aims to replace traditional eCommerce CMS platforms and hosted services that require outside expertise to implement. It hopes that companies will instead use WooCommerce to build WordPress-powered shopping sites without the headache and hassle that such projects typically entail. WooThemes says that “carefully integrating successful themes means WooCommerce can have a huge impact on any businesses looking to improve...

  • Silicon Valley startups can’t rebuild US workforce

    There has been a lot of discussion lately about US jobs and Silicon Valley's role in helping to rebuild the US workforce. US government officials and many others believe that Silicon Valley is key to reviving US jobs growth. But is this really true? It's worth revisiting an article in Bloomberg Businessweek from last year, written by Andy Grove, a veteran Silicon Valley executive who helped build one of its most successful companies: Intel. Andy Grove worked with the early founders of Intel and became its CEO and chairman for many years. In this article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek he takes...

  • Moneysmart – a better way to manage your money

    Zulfiq Isaacs and Tobie van Zyl want to help you to understand your money better. Moneysmart, their startup, is a user-friendly financial management platform. Users aggregate their banking information into a single place, outlining budgets and setting goals. For those who were once scared of their finances, the enthusiastic founders reckon Moneysmart will put the control back into your hands and help you to "reach your financial dreams". I visited the Moneysmart offices in Gardens, Cape Town. Their workplace is akin to a renovated iStore, starkly white and divided into rows of gleaming laptops. From here, we travelled to...

  • Bozza: A mobile startup aimed at township mobihoods

    Bozza plans to add the phrase "mobihood" to our lexicon. The new startup, funded by Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa (HP Ventures) is a mobile social networking service aimed at township users. Its primary focus is to give a voice to the Pan-African market. HP Ventures is a €29-million (about US$40-million) venture capital fund based in South Africa. The intention of the fund, it claims, is to "invest in promising innovative technology companies, allowing local players to broaden their perspectives by entering a global arena". Bozza is a mobile application which enables communities to tell their stories "from the inside out"....

  • Down and out in Silicon Valley: The dark side of easy VC access

    The Valley is the tech centre of the Universe and you're unlucky if you're not based there. That's what popular culture will have you believe. The image of Mark Zuckerberg waltzing into Case Equity in his night gown and slippers and telling Mitchell Manningham that Sean Parker says F You is what pop culture will have you believe a tech founder on his way to business success must look like. There are many businesses like oil drilling and bio-tech that need a large initial investment or they simply aren't feasible. Software businesses are not one of them. A small group...

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