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  • 5 things African governments can do to stimulate startup ecosystems

    A famous quote by, author and New York Times columnist, Thomas L. Friedman goes “every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.” By this he means that entrepreneurs should be adaptable to whatever environment. We have seen startups adapt successfully in tough circumstances in...

  • Company Office

    How to build local brand awareness

    Local search engine optimisation (SEO) has become central to the success of startups in the modern age, as small and independent businesses look to reach a targeted, regional market. This is borne out by the fact 50% of customers who perform a local search on the smartphone visit a physical store within 24 hours, as the power of targeted, local marketing continues to resonate with businesses. With this in mind, it's crucial that your business looks to build brand awareness within the local area before looking to expand nationwide. Here are some steps that you can take to achieve this. Invest in...

  • 10 reasons why coworking makes sense for startups

    Imagine an office with people; only these people aren't employed by the same company. One is a lawyer, the other, a freelance app developer, and the small team in the corner is building a service aimed at disrupting the mobile payments industry. This is coworking. Coworking happens when a group of people, working independently of one another, share a workspace, and it's happening all around the world. By some estimates, there were 1320 coworking spaces worldwide at the beginning of 2012, up 88% from the previous year. Today there are likely over 2000 coworking communities. Africa has its fair share...

  • Knife Capital launches new Accelerator for post-revenue startups

    I can't say this surprises me. South African growth equity fund manager Knife Capital has launched a later-stage business accelerator in Cape Town. Knife Capital manages Mark Shuttleworth’s HBD Venture Capital's South African portfolio of investments and was named the South African venture capitalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013 by Acquisition International Magazine. The news comes from this year's Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship currently taking in place in South Africa. According to Knife, the point of the programme is to "assist post-revenue high-growth technology enabled SMEs to become sustainable and fundable". Acceleration programmes and startup competitions are...

  • Startup Blitz: Zapacab talks taxis and being South Africa’s Uber

    Ever wished you could just snap your fingers and a taxi would magically appear in front of you? Well, a South African-based startup is working on a similar solution: one that involves a smartphone app that lets you 'zap' a cab. Founded by Paul Donner and Rupert Sully, Zapacab is a high-tech taxi-hailing service that allows passengers to request a ride and track the cab's progress towards their location in real time. The startup, which is currently working towards a public launch, is funded by accelerator 88mph and is an African developed mobile service based on a similar model to...

  • Tech Trailblazers Awards adds incentive with Regional Trailblazers Cups

    The global Tech Trailblazers Awards for IT startups has announced a new Regional Cup Awards. Every entrant into the global competition will automatically be entered into their Regional Cup - giving them an opportunity at recognition, mentoring and prizes (from an estimated US$1-million fund) not only within their technology sectors, but also in their geographical regions. The Tech Trailblazers Awards describes itself as a new concept in awards, designed explicitly for smaller businesses and startups that are five years old or less and at C-series funding or below. It prides itself as a global startup platform for IT areas such...

  • 5 top startups emerge from the Global Forum

    Entrepreneurs are important. They help drive economies by creating jobs and their disruption of industries can help push innovation forward. Giving them a helping hand is therefore pretty important, which is what the Global Forum, currently taking place in East London, South Africa is all about. And now, Ventureburn can reveal the top five startups from the event's Dragons' Den contest. The winners, selected from the top 20 we wrote about recently, are in reverse order of ranking: Amant Antennas, Microforester, Afroes, Mpayer and the winner GreenGar. In winning the contest, Amant Antennas and Microforester both net themselves US$5 000,...

  • How do startup valuations work?

    Putting a price tag on a young startup is a peculiar practice. While valuation models exist, many agree that it's more of an art than a science, especially in the absence of revenue -- if you've ever wondered how Instagram reached a billion dollar valuation without literally ever having made a cent, you're not alone. When a company is producing a profit or revenue, valuations can be based on thumb-suck math like five to ten times annual profit, or three to four times revenue. Great, but what if you were a VC in the early days of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest,...

  • GoMetro launches in Eastern Cape, brings relief to commuters

    As promised, GoMetro is rolling out its traveller information system to railway commuters in the Eastern Cape. The Cape Town startup has a partnered with Metrorail Eastern Cape to become a digital resource for the 40 000 train users of East London and Port Elizabeth. GoMetro's service delivers train schedules, updates, announcements and other important information to commuters' mobile phones. Commuters can also access a trip planner, fare calculator as well as general information like line maps. Updates detailing delays or breaks in service will be posted regularly from the Metrorail Control Centre. This service will eventually replace the SMS...

  • Hate shopping? Meet Tate & Tonic, the personalised fashion site for men

    A man doesn’t go to the shop. The shop comes to the man. Tate & Tonic comes to you men with curated picks. All this talk about online fashion startups and female clothing made us wonder, “Hey, this isn’t fair! What about the men?” If you’re a male and shopping for clothes happens to be your favorite activity, well, good for you. But for those of you men out there who would rather do something else, you might just want to consider Tate & Tonic, an up-and-coming Singaporean startup which specializes in tackling your fashion woes in a quick five-step...

  • Forget mobile-web: here are 5 sectors in Africa worth your money and innovation

    Mobile-web is all the rage in Africa lately, and not without reason. Mobile penetration and access to the internet is going to blow up in the coming years on the continent, connecting around one billion new and empowered consumers waiting to be tapped into. But let's not forget that there are other areas, sectors, that could use our attention - be it in innovation from entrepreneurs, or from funding. Let's take a look at five. Energy The energy crisis on Africa is widespread. Countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania have unreliable electrical infrastructure which results in frequent shortages. The result is...

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