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  • Google for Entrepreneurs: a boon for emerging market startups

    Google reckons there are about 400 million entrepreneurs out there in the world and it wants to see that number increase. The search giant recently celebrated its 14th birthday by launching Google for Entrepreneurs, a hub for its several dozen programmes and partnerships that support startups and entrepreneurs. The initiative that aims to boost entrepreneurial activities within local communities has projects running in 30 countries around the world including those in emerging markets such as India, South Africa, Kenya, Israel, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Egypt, Morocco, Russia and Brazil. Google also supports Startup Weekend, the 54 hour weekend incubators...

  • Company Office

    How to build local brand awareness

    Local search engine optimisation (SEO) has become central to the success of startups in the modern age, as small and independent businesses look to reach a targeted, regional market. This is borne out by the fact 50% of customers who perform a local search on the smartphone visit a physical store within 24 hours, as the power of targeted, local marketing continues to resonate with businesses. With this in mind, it's crucial that your business looks to build brand awareness within the local area before looking to expand nationwide. Here are some steps that you can take to achieve this. Invest in...

  • Art.sy: For the art lover and the art interested

    You know how Spotify and iTunes can tell the kind of music you might like based on previous purchases and listening habits? The same way Foursquare can tell you what restaurants you might like, ever wish there was a tool like that for art? Now there is and it's called Art.sy. Art.sy, is a genome project for art. Think Pandora for art. According to Pandodaily, the New York company has been building its art "database of tagged and categorized works of art" since 2010. "Art.sy’s mission is to make all the world’s art freely accessible to anyone with an internet...

  • 5 Ghanaian startups recognised at inaugural TopApps Awards

    Ghana, a strong West African tech startup region, played host to the first ever TopApps Awards ceremony, held in Accra last week. The ceremony recognised leading web and mobile applications in 10 categories and were decided through a mix of public voting and deliberation by judges. Of the 65 nominees, MEST incubator startup Dropifi walked away as overall winners, followed by 233Law, winner of two categories. Dropifi The team behind Dropifi are re-imagining one of the web’s oldest and most resolute elements, the “Contact us” form. The Dropifi solution consists of a website plug-in, optional QR code (for print-outs) and an analytics tool....

  • 5ounces: flash sale eCommerce for gourmet food and wine lovers

    There's a new gourmet food and wine eCommerce site on the block, and it's called 5ounces -- the name refers to the standard, one-fifth measurement of a bottle of wine. Launched in August of this year, 5ounces is inspired by the flash sale model of Gilt Taste and the artisanal wine offerings of Lot 18. Founder Trevor Gosling says that 5ounces aims to provide South African consumers with gourmet produce and premium wines at significantly reduced prices. A quick scan over the site reveals price reductions on Platter four and five star wine half-cases of close to 50%. A...

  • Meet OuterEdit: the startup all about online collaborative art

    The internet has impacted our lives in a number of different ways, but its function as a collaborative space is one of the most exciting, bringing together great minds over great distances. This advancement has touched the art community as well. And one young startup out of Singapore, OuterEdit, is a good example of what kind of amazing things can happen when artists meet online to work on projects together. We spoke to OuterEdit’s Ryan Tan to find out more about how this collaborative design process works, and how it all got started. What exactly is OuterEdit? Ryan: OuterEdit is a new online graphic...

  • Innovative competition sees startups compress a pitch into a tweet

    Pitching your startup isn't easy. You've got to be concise and able to say what you do and why you should be given funding in as few words as humanly possible. But, forget about elevator pitches, what would happen if you had to do it in a 140 characters or fewer? That's exactly what angel investment group AngelHub decided to find out when it held its recent #Twitch competition. The competition saw startups pitching themselves via Twitter for a chance at winning a ticket to Tech4Africa, a top African tech conference. Here's the winning tweet: No paper. No red tape....

  • Are startups with a female executive more likely to succeed?

    It seems that behind every successful startup you are likely to find a high-powered female executive -- or so says a report from Dow Jones. The report, titled "Women at the wheel: do female executives drive start-up success?" explores a few questions around women's roles at startups. The report doesn't really explain why women seem to make companies more successful, just that they do. It also poses some interesting questions about the influence of women in the startup world. What industries have women influenced? How have women on management teams affected exit options? At what stage do women join startups?...

  • Brazilian tech giant makes Silicon Valley play

    Brazilian tech giant TOTVS says it has established TOTVS Labs, A Silicon Valley based research and development facility that will be used to create new software and spearhead an expansion into North American markets. TOTVS is the largest enterprise software company in Latin America with more than 10 000 staff. I spoke with Vicente Goetten, executive director of TOTVS Labs. Here are some of my notes from our conversation: The move is a strategic one and will help the company become a global IT brand by leveraging the specialist cutting edge expertise of top Silicon Valley engineers. The primary focus is on...

  • 13 South African startups to look out for in 2013

    It’s been a busy year for South Africa’s startup scene and as we start winding down the last quarter of 2012, we decided to reflect on some of the successes we witnessed. The startups listed here either secured funding this year, or were recognised at a competition. While the list isn’t intended to be exhaustive, these are the stories we reported on, so you can read more about the startups, competitions and venture capital companies that help drive South Africa’s entrepreneurial community forward. Being self-funded is great, but if you find yourself weighing seed capital, new funding rounds or...

  • Signed, sealed and delivered: the Mxit/Motribe deal

    Mxit has officially inked the deal to buy social network builder Motribe. We reported a few weeks ago that the deal was in its final stages, we now have confirmation from the mobile social network that it is now the 100% owner of Motribe after buying out the current shareholders 4Di Capital, Nic Haralambous and Vincent Maher. Motribe has been working closely with Mxit over the last few months building photo-based apps for the platform. The most successful apps include MxPix (an Instagram-style photo sharing and filtering app that hit a million users in just over a month) and JudgeMe,...