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  • Hot SA tech startups from towns and rural communities head to the UK

    We recently introduced you to 18 entrepreneurs hand-picked by BT Global Services and MEDO from towns, townships and rural communities across South Africa. The group competed to secure their place on a trade visit to the United Kingdom in April later this year. The selected entrepreneurs will spend a week in the UK participating in training programmes, networking events and business and investor pitches. After a final pitching session to top level executives, we now know who made the cut. According to Judi Sandrock, CEO of MEDO says that although all the teams were well prepared and delivered business pitches...

  • Company Office

    Don’t let expansion ruin a great company culture

    As a young company that primarily serves informal markets, we have quickly expanded into new regions on the African continent. While South Africa remains a key focus – and our base – we have invariably needed to establish a presence in other fast growing markets. In practice, this has meant that our management team spends a great deal of time away from the rest of the team – and working remotely. Without a doubt, this scenario is impacting the culture of the business – as the core structure shifts from a centralised management system to a more distributed model....

  • China’s startup scene needs more Angel investors says tech mogul Lei Jun

    Lei Jun wears many hats -- he’s Xiaomi CEO, the board chair at Kingsoft and an Angel investor -- and is one of the most respected figures in China’s tech industry. As one of the wildly successful Xiaomi co-founders, he’s also someone worth listening to when it comes to China’s startup scene. In a recent interview, the Beijing News asked him what he thought the differences were between Silicon Valley and China. Here’s what he said: The biggest difference in the startup environment between and the US is that China doesn’t have enough Angel investors, and there is...

  • CitiDoc: an exciting platform for doctors, now they just need to use it

    Choosing a healthcare provider can be a tough call. It is always advised to learn about a doctor first before jumping into this, the most delicate of relationships. The main port of call for many a would-be-patient is going on the recommendation of an already trusted doctor or a friend (of a friend) - after all, everyone always has the best doctor or specialist that you "just have to see, no really, he's excellent". Subsequently, the last route people generally seek out is medical directories or ratings sites, especially in less internet-prevalent places such as South Africa, where I would argue that traditional directories...

  • Why (almost) every startup should be working from home

    Marissa Mayer may have decided that working from home doesn’t work anymore for Yahoo, but that doesn’t mean that working from home isn’t the best option out there for some tech companies. And for startups it seems like a no-brainer. Here’s why: No rent, no utilities. This is big, obvious reason that everyone should already know: if your team works from home, you don’t have to rent office space or pay for anything like heat, internet connections, electricity, phone lines, or anything else like that. There’s a big expense that just vanished from your budget. Poof! Good home workers are self-starters,...

  • 2go and iROKING partner to bring Nigerian music to millions

    Nigerian music service iROKING is partnering with South African-born instant messenger and social network 2go to bring free Nigerian music downloads from the likes of Timaya, Flavour and Burna Boy to the more than 9 million active 2go users across Nigeria. 2go, a service who's popularity rivals that of Facebook in Nigeria, becomes the second South African startup iROKING has partnered with in recent times. In late 2012, iROKING joined forces with traveller information company, GoMetro to bring its music catalogue to South African commuters. The mobi site, built by iROKING, will deliver Afrobeats tunes to 2go users....

  • Put that Schadenfreude on hold, Silicon Valley is still king

    Silicon Valley reported 226 private company acquisitions in 2012, well ahead of New York with 100 deals, and leagues ahead of any other US tech hub, reports PrivCo, which tracks such deals. The Silicon Valley region, including the wider San Francisco Bay Area, recorded 226 private company sales in 2012, next was New York with a surprising 100 deals, which ousted Boston and its 62 deals, LA had 55, and Seattle's 43 narrowly beat Austin's 40 deals and Washington D.C.'s 39. Silicon Valley companies dominated as the top acquirers in 2012 with Facebook tied with Google at 16 deals, Twitter...

  • Building a tech-focused continent: 9 of Africa’s innovation hubs

    Innovation, mobile, tech and startups. These are Africa's buzzwords. A continent that arrived late to the web revolution, Africa is catching up fast and leading the way in some aspects. The continent is working overtime to build and create products, services and businesses that can rival that of the developed world. It is no longer the dark continent. According to a Daily Beast report, Africa is being heralded as the "new Asia" and the "home of the next Google". "Compared to dismal rates in the rest of the world, Africa’s growth is exceptional," Gustavo Galindo, a portfolio manager with...

  • Dear Asia, please stop trying to be Silicon Valley and do your own thing

    One of my favourite jokes about Silicon Valley goes like this: A million guys walk into a Silicon Valley bar. None of them buy anything. The bar is declared a rousing success. It underlines an unbounded enthusiasm that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. And yet, this hasn’t stopped cities like Beijing, Bangalore, Singapore, Shenzhen, Daejeon, and even Ho Chi Minh city, being touted as the next Silicon Valley. People think that if you’ve got a bunch of tech companies all in one place you can call it a Silicon Valley. But the fact is, people don’t tell these kinds of jokes...

  • Early-stage startup accelerator with Silicon Valley roots to launch in SA soon

    The Founder Institute (FI) is the latest incubator to hit South Africa. The global network, headquartered in Silicon Valley, focuses on accelerating early-stage startups. Founded in 2009, the FI has helped more than 650 companies in roughly 50 cities around the world create enduring technology companies -- we've briefly written about Udemy, an FI alumnus before. The South African chapter, steered by director Keith Jones, is in the process of preparing for its first full length programme, scheduled to commence 28 May 2013 in Johannesburg. The FI aims to improve the success rates of early-stage startups. With that goal in mind,...

  • Why is talking about money in SA’s startup scene a no-no?

    Trying to get an investment amount out of a startup in South Africa is nearly impossible. I used to think that it's because the amounts are so little that the startups are a tad embarrassed to state publicly that, truth be told, their companies aren't really worth that much. But that cannot be the case. We know of companies that have received hundreds of millions in funding, but choose not to make the figures public. Why? Surely this cannot be a case of culture, where we are too polite to talk about money because it's seen as a taboo subject. If...