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  • Spreading the entrepreneurship addiction [Net Prophet]

    No one can deny that the entrepreneurship bug has bitten: everyone wants to be one and people are beginning to teach it. Now it's a disease and Stephan Lund thinks we ought to spread it. Lund is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Nova Scotia Business Inc. "When we think entrepreneurs, we all think of people like Richard Branson, that is the traditional way of thinking," Lund told the Net Prophet tech conference. He declares that he suffers from entrepreneurialism. He figures that there are too many answers to the question of what an entrepreneur is. "Everything from...

  • Company Office

    Fintech business pays hosts in advance for Airbnb bookings

    Further disruption in South Africa’s accommodation and property letting sector is on the cards as AirAdvance, a fintech startup, provides those offering private accommodation through Airbnb easy access to affordable finance. It uses a confirmed Airbnb booking as collateral for a cash advance. Founder of AirAdvance, Jozette Chetwynd-Palmer (pictured above), says, "Using Airbnb to generate revenue is growing rapidly in South Africa as it joins the rest of the world in the sharing economy. In fact, last year, Airbnb stats show that South Africans hosted over 830 000 guests in their homes." Findings released during Airbnb’s Africa Travel Summit found that...

  • What can we learn from the coolest examples of commerce innovation?

    Finding creative ways to engage your customers can be the beginning of your stairway to success. However, there are now more and more ways to engage your client base thanks to a variety of platforms and marketing channels. Where once the height of an entrepreneur’s skills might see them getting an advert in the local paper or placing a note in a newsagent’s window, computers and mobile devices now mean that creative types can really go to town. The most creative and innovative examples of mobile and retail commerce are those that prompt the ‘why has no-one thought of...

  • Become an overnight success in 15 years [Net Prophet]

    "The idea will not make you rich", Andre de Wet, GM of PriceCheck, told the Net Prophet 2013 audience. Hearing that might make you think that the opposite - hard work - is the solution to running a successful business. While not refuting the importance of both those ideas, the GM of PriceCheck offered another viewpoint. "The reason why it takes so long to be an overnight success is the journey inside: to want it not because of money, but because you're alive." Money might buy you leisure, but it can't buy wisdom. And wisdom is possibly the most underrated trait an...

  • Googler Ory Okolloh joins Omidyar Network in support of government tech

    Omidyar Network today announced that Ory Okolloh has joined as a director, investments within the philanthropic investment firm's government transparency initiative. Okolloh will help drive the organisation's work that supports innovative tech organisations focused on providing information and tools to citizens, so they can participate in the governing process. Okolloh was formerly a policy manager for sub-Saharan Africa with Google and co-founder and executive director of Ushahidi, the open source project which allows users to crowdsource crisis information. "Ory is a well-established leader in the technology and transparency communities," said Omidyar Network Partner Stephen King. "She will help spur Omidyar...

  • Startups are gonna start: meet the Net Prophet 8

    As a startup journalist I am always looking for interesting startups to chat to. I want to write about them and tell you how they are going to save the world, or not. As part this year's Net Prophet event, an annual gathering of 2 000+ geeks and one of the bigger tech conferences on the South African calendar, the Silicon Cape Initiative decided to do give some startups a little press time. It's a pretty nifty idea: get a bunch of startups in a room with the media, let them pitch their ideas and hopefully get some exposure....

  • 3 steps for accelerating your startup’s productivity into high growth

    Our main focus here is entrepreneurial productivity and it can teach you how to be strong and financially powerful, so you can free yourself up to go on to other, more important things in life. With that in mind, I am going to fill you in on 3 important steps to increasing entrepreneurial productivity. These three steps will help you take action to build skills and create an environment that supports consistent focus, business growth and profit. 1. Know what you want to achieve with your business If you haven’t reached your financial goals in life, then I recommend...

  • SleepOut raises $200 000 seed funding, launches online travel mag

    SleepOut - Kenya's leading online accommodation marketplace announced today that it has raised approximately US$200 000 in seed funding, intended to finance expansion across Africa and the Middle East. The site, which allows users to find, offer and book accommodation, launched its BETA site in June 2012. Leading the funding round for the Nairobi-based company was Africa Media Ventures Fund (AMVF) coming out of Amsterdam. Lot Carlier, Managing Partner at AMVF remarked, "We are truly excited to embark on this venture. As internet penetration and e-commerce increases on the continent a new consumer class is emerging and SleepOut is simply in...

  • Rocket Internet-backed Zalora lands 100-million big ones

    The Rocket Internet-backed Zalora startup recently secured US$100-million in funding through investors like Summit Partners, Investment AB Kinnevik, Verlinvest and the Tengelmann Group. Yes, that's right, US$100-million. This hefty investment marks one of the biggest startup investments in emerging South-East Asia. The massive confidence boost comes after the South-East Asian online fashion and beauty store managed to get its hands on US$26-million from German retail group, Tengelmann, a few months back. Zalora also received funding from JP Morgan last year. This means that whatever it's doing, it's working. The young, 2012-born e-tailer claims to be "Asia’s fastest-growing online fashion and beauty...

  • Trending: the boom in startups for pets

    For a while, pet-related startups seemed to be a rarity. Ever since the Pets.com debacle in which the venture-backed startup went from a Nasdaq IPO to liquidation in about 9 months, entrepreneurs have given pet-ecommerce a slightly wider berth. Looking back, it was a difficult time for online startups in general. Not to mention one that spent US$1.2 million on a super bowl ad without any profitability in sight, right at the dot-com bubble's popping point. Since then, the online economy has stabilised and with a larger audience, we're seeing a litter of pet-related ventures making their way online. Perhaps still...

  • GoGifting seizes social gifting gap after Rocket Internet bins DropGifts SA plans

    Last year, we reported that DropGifts, Rocket Internet's social gifting startup was about to enter South Africa. Fast forward roughly a year, and there is still no trace of the Wrapp-clone. What happened? Kevin Tucker, the serial-entrepreneur who would have headed up DropGifts South Africa, tells Ventureburn that Rocket Internet was due to launch DropGifts in 27 countries, but scratched South Africa off the list days before the launch. "We were due to launch within days and they suddenly, due to all sorts of operational issues, decided not to launch in South Africa." Tucker founded shopping comparison service PriceCheck, which was acquired...

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