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  • Michael Joseph and Mpesa: A missed opportunity

    Michael Joseph was the CEO of Safaricom, taking the mobile operator from 5 employees to dominating the Kenyan mobile operator market with over 80% market share in his 10 years at the helm. Regardless of your personal feelings on the man, you have to admire the tenacious approach he took growing the business, and his willingness to invest in his company’s future, thereby decimating his (often inept) competition. Possibly MJ’s (how he’s known in local Kenyan parlance) greatest business move was also a measured risk --that is being the company to take a software created by parent Vodafone Group...

  • Company Office

    Why all fintech startups should consider joining a global innovation hub

    Entrepreneurs in the fintech space have been shaking up the banking industry for a number of years and their impact continues to grow, making it imperative to collaborate with the startups that are helping to shape the future of financial services as we know it. Stories of entrepreneurs who "cracked the code" in the basement and became overnight billionaires are plentiful, but in most cases, a great idea is only half the battle won. And in most cases, successful entrepreneurs have to invest time and money over long periods to get an idea off the ground and through to execution...

  • How to safeguard your intellectual property

    Intellectual Property (IP) is an intangible asset to an entrepreneur. When it comes to assuring investors they are placing their cash in an exclusive product or service that is legally protected, securing your IP is a must. Alex Fraser of Invenfin, an early-stage venture capital company says there are some things you need to know before you take your idea to investors. According to Fraser, not having proper IP ownership is by far the largest problem Invenfin sees when dealing with the thousands of entrepreneurs that pass through its doors. Fraser, who lectures on entrepreneurship and venture capital to students,...

  • 3 things to remember when trying to win over an investor

    The fact that there are thousands of books on investment strategy means there are an infinite number of different investor mindsets. No two are probably exactly the same, but every investor holds to some basic fundamentals, first and foremost: How will this make money? Having sat through meetings, spent time living with serial investors and enjoyed the insights from some whose picks have been nothing short of outstanding, the best starting point is to just relax. It’s not a process. Following a set of rules for a meeting is not the best option. Learn some of the tips and apply...

  • Indeed: Search jobs, don’t browse

    There are apparently millions of jobs out there, at least that’s what everyone used to tell me when I was the eternal student hopping from one graduate programme to the next. In this society of the unemployed? Where are these jobs? Turns out you have to know where to look. Indeed you do. Indeed.co.za says they have created a way to make job hunting "easier and much better". The site claims to give job seekers free access to thousands of jobs from hundreds of company websites, recruitment agencies and job boards. How is that different from what Monster, CareerJunction, ...

  • Village Telco: Addressing the issue of rural connectivity

    In the words of African telecommunications expert Steve Song, Village Telco is "an easy-to-use, scalable, standards-based, wireless, local, do-it-yourself, telephone company toolkit". He’s just put out a new video making it very clear just how useful this system is. The team over at Blinktower has done an exceptional job of creating a short, concise and eminently understandable video of what Village Telco is. The Village Often, we get caught up in our high tech wizardry and get overly excited about the newest Android app or the best new web app built in African Megalopolis #5. And by “we”, I mean “I”, since...

  • 7 advantages cloud computing holds for your business

    Cloud computing is gaining traction globally. The practice refers to data access and storage services that do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the system delivering a particular service. Trends in cloud computing indicate software may cease to become the tangible product we are used to buying in stores or through online shopping. Companies and individual users can access software that resides on their servers in the "cloud" or the "grid," enabling users to acquire that software and information from any device with internet access. There are seven clear reasons cloud computing is...

  • Top two Alibaba execs resign over fraud allegations

    China's largest e-commerce group, Alibaba.com, has confirmed that two of its top executives, Chief Executive David Wei, and Chief Operating Officer, Elvis Lee, have resigned following a probe that uncovered over 2 000 cases of fraud. The Guardian reports that "an internal investigation showed sales staff 'intentionally or negligently' allowed more than 2 300 fraudsters to set up verified stores." While neither of the execs were directly implicated in the probe, "it took senior management at the online marketplace at least nine months to take action", a delay which has resulted in the resignations of the two executives. Alibaba has...

  • 5 ways startups can cash in on the emerging markets wave

    Africa is the final frontier. The subject rose quickly on CNBC after the Wall Street downturn. It has also been a major topic on the World Economic Forums on Africa's agenda since 2007. While consumers were buying less in established developed markets, finding new consumers meant taking advantage: Emerging markets have over three billion people startups can target. At the very least, most people have mobile phone access. At best, disposable income on average is on the rise like never before, according to McKinsey, a global management consulting company. So how do you take advantage? 5 ways start here: Be...

  • Major investment could see Personera going global

    Technology platform Personera has announced a US$1.4-million Series A round of venture capital from Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa (HPVA), the South African subsidiary of German billionaire and venture capitalist Hasso Plattner. The personalised merchandise company provides customised digital and print products for brands' Facebook fans. The latest announcement brings its total capital raised to US$1.6-million. Personera is a free app that brands can install on their Facebook pages which offers fans the chance to order personalised products built around their social networks. "The capital will be used to fund global sales, product launch and marketing initiatives, growing Personera's team in...

  • Exclusive: Major int’l VC stealthily buying into SA eCommerce sites

    A major US$3.5-billion New York-based hedge fund headed by investor Lee Fixel has been quietly buying up some major eCommerce properties in South Africa over the past five years. The New York-based Tiger Global Management LLC, which recently invested US$20-million in business social network LinkedIn and US$80-million in Facebook, now holds a stake in the country’s largest online auctions site, Bid or Buy. Add to that a growing portfolio that includes key online properties such as Private Property, the largest online property portal, and Take2, an online shopping site and Kommetjie-based travel bookings site SafariNow. Tiger also enjoys...

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