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  • Startup Weekends hit South Africa

    In what could be a potential boon for tech entrepreneurs in the region, Startup Weekends have arrived in South Africa. Startup Weekends are established in Silicon Valley, but until recently, South Africa had missed out on the benefits of this exciting 54-hour weekend phenomenon. The initiative involves teams gathering from Friday evening to Sunday night to set up a business, ultimately vying for the top position as judges assess the best business ideas at the end of the weekend. The first weekend took place in Cape Town, with Johannesburg having its own Startup Weekend soon after. ...

  • Company Office

    Zapacab signs 4 Cape Town cab companies for exclusive July soft launch

    Getting a Taxi in South Africa is difficult at the best of times. Calling through to a noisy dispatch centre and shouting your pickup location and cell phone number through the receiver is inefficient. Then to be told you’ll need to wait half an hour, even though you’re in the city centre, well that’s just painful. And lets hope the driver finds you. Thankfully, Zapacab is going to change all that. The startup has now signed up four Cape Town Cab companies to become the foundation for the its new Mobile Cab Hailing service. It will be doing a soft...

  • MTN Mobile Money launches debit card-based online shopping solution

    eCommerce service provider, MTN Mobile Money, has launched a mobile payment mechanism, which will enable users to purchase products online using a debit card. MTN Mobile Money says the mechanism, called payD, will enable millions of South Africans to make secure, online payments using only their pin-based debit cards. It is hoped that payD will provide a boost to South Africa's lagging ecommerce market. World Wide Worx's Online Retail in SA 2011 report shows that retail ecommerce hit R2 billion last year. "This sounds big", says Dave Parratt, head of new business development at MTN Mobile Money, "but it’s...

  • Blink Tower: Making money by explaining ideas

    If a picture says a thousand words then, some may argue, a video packs in a million. In the internet age, concentration spans are increasingly shrinking. An effective message makes a point and keeps attention. The fact that there are arguments that social media may be causing attention deficit disorder is perhaps enough to underlie the issue. Enter Blink Tower, which believes it has a solution. Its founders, including Skyrove's Henk Kleynhans say they turn ideas into simple videos which "even your grandmother can understand". The company simply titles its videos "explainers", a term which came up frequently during an...

  • 5 chess principles for internet business practitioners

    Gamification and how we can apply mechanics and principles from the world of games to our products is an idea on the rise, but it does have its limits. Have you considered gamifying yourself as a business practitioner? Chess is a good place to start. Serious chess nerds have linked improvement in their game to enhanced business acumen. This is not completely unrealistic, given the well-documented positive influence of chess on child development in areas like self-esteem, organisational skills, better thinking and problem-solving abilities. Chess-playing managers recognise many parallels between chess and business. In both cases you are required...

  • 5 steps to show you’re a safe investment, even in an ‘unsafe’ market

    The US Chamber of Commerce have lamented the fact that American investors were losing out opportunities in emerging markets during a time when the recession was killing profits seemingly everywhere. Part of the fear is a lack of stability and concern over just how safe it is to put money in areas where returns have been massive. If your country’s investment profile doesn’t seem that great, it may not be so much your business, but the perception of your nation’s institutions that create uncertainty. The Index of Economic Freedom shows that an open market, fair rules and a...

  • Forget the bubble, the rise in VC investment is unsustainable

    The latest MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and the US-based National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), based on data provided by Thomson Reuters: Q2 2011 VC investments jump 19% to $7.5 billion in 966 deals. Year ago: $6.3 billion in 814 deals Latest quarter is highest total since Q2 2008. These high levels are not sustainable says Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA: "For the past three years, the venture capital industry has been investing significantly more dollars into companies than it has been raising from institutional investors. This level of investment cannot continue if we do not start to see...

  • Hummba: Virtual guides anywhere, anytime

    An online audio and text guide shop may not be the most innovative idea, but having content easily available on mobile application anywhere in the world may just beat having a tour guide. If anything, according to its founder, it eliminates the need for one. This seems to be the thinking behind Hummba.com, a company planning to afford the resources of a personal tour guide to any user anywhere in the world. Founder Mark Allewel says the company's flagship product, Tourism Radio, is a GPS driven information station for tourists. “We tell you all about the area you are...

  • Twitter now looking to monetise from ecommerce

    Twittter chief executive Dick Costolo has announced that in addition to its current money-maker, advertising, Twitter -- in keeping with its monetisation drive -- could potentially generate revenue from commerce. Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference Costolo also dismissed reports of management turmoil at the San Francisco-based company and said it is still seeing explosive growth. "Along any axis you measure us we're growing faster than we've ever grown before", Costolo said. Twitter users are sending one billion tweets every five days and the service now has more than 200 million registered users, he said. Costolo declined to reveal whether Twitter is...

  • Why Silicon Valley can be bad for emerging market startups

    Launching a startup anywhere in the world is challenging, but launching one in an emerging market territory where there is often limited access to funding and a fragmented entrepreneurial ecosystem it is so much harder. One sure way to fail is to try and duplicate first world solutions for emerging market problems without tweaking them for the unique local conditions. The Silicon Valley story is inspirational. Its ability to launch globally competitive, world-changing internet startups is unsurpassed. It continues to be the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development and accounts for one-third of all of the venture capital investment...

  • Winners and losers in cloud computing and what your business gains

    The buzz around cloud computing has been around for a while now, and it doesn’t seem like the frenzy around this new phenomenon will wane out any time soon. This might be due to the realisation that the entire IT industry is on the verge of a major revolution, and we all know that in the midst of a revolution, there will always be winners and losers. The promise Cloud computing promises a paradigm shift in the way that we have been using computational resources; an environment where business applications are hosted by a service provider and accessed by...

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