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  • Virtual Firehouse wins Startup Weekend Cape Town 2012

    Virtual Firehouse walked away with the honours from this year’s Startup Weekend Cape Town following a frenetic 54 hours in which entrepreneurs and innovators gathered to pitch and develop their business ideas in the hope of creating the next big thing. Startup Weekend is a global initiative which started in 2007 in Colorado, USA and over 500 events have been held in 90 countries to date. It was hosted in Cape Town for the second year running. Winners in the competition are provided with support from mentors, funders and industry giants such as Microsoft and Google. This year’s event took place...

  • Company Office

    SA founder of Fintech platform Prodigy Finance announces over R3bn fundraise

    International fintech platform Prodigy Finance, which has developed the world’s first borderless credit model, today (21 August 2017) announced a R3.19-billion fundraise. The amount includes a R532-million Series-C equity round led by venture capital firm Index Ventures, with participation from Balderton Capital and AlphaCode; and a R2.66-billion debt facility led by a global investment bank. The company, which has 126 staff across offices in London, Cape Town, and New York, offers loans to postgraduate students accepted into business, engineering, law and public policy degrees at the world’s top universities, such as Harvard, Oxford, INSEAD and the University of Cape Town. Since it was established in 2007, the company has provided more...

  • How to rock your elevator pitch and get funding for your startup [Infographic]

    Quick. What is one sentence you'd use to describe your startup? Well, spit it out. Still trying to condense it? Yes, it's probably awesome. Maybe it'll even change life as we know it. But if you need funding, you need to be able to sell your idea so well that someone else will believe in it as much as you do. Time is up. What did you come up with? Lets say you're pitching to a super angel investor like Fabrice Grinda. He has said that getting a cheque from him is easy -- if the startup meets his four...

  • Virtual tax assistant TaxTim now speaks Afrikaans, isiXhosa and isiZulu

    Ventureburn recently wrote about TaxTim, the approachable, virtual tax assistant who helps South Africans complete their tax returns by asking simple questions, in plain English. Starting today, TaxTim will be able to converse in Afrikaans, isiXhosa and isiZulu as well. "Despite only 8.2% of South Africans speaking English, SARS continues to provide help in this language only, ignoring the other 10 official languages. We are delighted to announce that TaxTim has now made it easier for the majority of South Africans to get and stay confidently tax compliant. For the first time, 63% of South Africans will have access to...

  • Angel group invests in African low-cost housing solution

    This is interesting. South African angel investment group AngelHub's is taking a swing at the low-cost housing market by providing funding for Namibian-developed technology, the Kavango Block Brick. The technology looks to address the lack of affordable housing on the continent, which is a major obstacle to development on the continent. In South Africa alone, the housing backlog is 2.6-million houses. Many of these customers fall into the so-called gap market, representing would-be homeowners whose income is too high to qualify for government subsidies but too low to qualify for bank loans. Heinrich Schroeder...

  • 5 thoughts on writing great press releases

    Michelle and I attended a Silicon Cape event this week where Sarah Rice shared her experiences as a public relations consultant for rock-star companies like personal finance management site 22seven and African instant messaging giant Mxit. Rice sowed valuable advice on relationships between startups and the media onto a hotbed of Cape Town’s bright up-and-coming startups and a lot of what was said resonated with me, especially the part that affects my job the most, communication with startups. The communication usually starts in the form of a press release. We love press releases. Learning about new companies and tracking their...

  • Doing business in SA? Take heed of the Protection of Personal Information Bill

    The protection of personal information bill (PPIB) is a law which will be passed shortly to regulate the manner in which entities may use an individual's personal information going forward. The purpose of the bill is to fundamentally protect a human right, which is a person's privacy and their right to choice, and as long as we don't have any mechanism or regulatory control over what people can do with an individual's information, that right cannot be protected. This bill enables that right to be protected. Deloitte and ITWeb recently conducted a survey to gauge what South African companies are...

  • WPP’s buying spree shows a thirst for digital marketing startups

    WPP, the world's largest advertising and marketing group, is on a buying spree, reports the Financial Times. Who says there is no M&A any more? WPP made no fewer than 40 acquisitions, in 21 countries, in the first half of 2012. That is nearly two a week. ... WPP is already the world's biggest advertising agency. It intends to get bigger still. As Sir Martin points out, half its business -- emerging markets, digital -- did not exist a decade ago. Ed: One of the most recent examples of WPP buying a company with emerging markets roots saw it acquire South African-born...

  • Business in 2012: is it a case of go mobile or go home?

    eBusiness has gained traction, as companies are conducting more transactions, improving digital content and expanding the amount of services on offer online. But the industry has also diversified into the mobile marketplace. For over a decade, mobile retail has been viewed as a niche market, with profitable but somewhat insignificant products such as ringtones and wallpapers. The industry was scattered and unstructured, facing several challenges (including a somewhat shaky reputation due to a number of unscrupulous merchants). This changed rapidly when mobile platforms such as the iPad and with it, the highly-successful app store, gained popularity. Addictive new...

  • Plans this weekend? No? You should probably check out Gigham

    Gigham popped up on our radar earlier this year when the guys behind it pitched their idea for a new type of online events portal at Google's startup incubation project, Umbono. People living in the Mother City and Jozi are not exactly left wanting for things to do, but it's not always that easy to find out what's going on. Some folks are particular about what they're looking for and others are more intrepid and would like to try something new. Gigham aims to cater for both groups with over 2000 events in total listed for both cities. When the...

  • eCommerce goes freemium with eShop

    eShop, a new “freemium” eCommerce solution, launches today to South Africans. If you're thinking of selling products online, eShop deserves a serious look. eShop's setup is refreshingly uncomplicated -- integration happens through copying and pasting code generated via eShop into your existing website. The service is available to SME businesses, as well as larger enterprises. eShop's free account offers basic, but essential functionality needed to sell up to 10 of your products online. Should your needs grow beyond the features offered in the gratis version, there are three paid packages to choose from. There are no setup fees and eShop offers...