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  • 14 of India’s hottest mobile startups

    India is taking its place as a growing technology powerhouse, with a number of mobile startups looking to make a name for themselves. During this year's MobiSparks conference, the organizers showcased 14 of the country's hottest examples. This growing startup space in India is recognised by global Venture Capital firm, Sequoia Capital whose India head noted the 2013 will be critical for India as majority of the mobile startups in the world will come from the country. "In the next 12-18 months we will see major global mobile startups emerging from India. Mobile remittances are big in India. Interesting problems waiting...

  • Company Office

    Merchant solutions could be the answer to mobile money’s last mile issue

    The mobile money agency system has made huge progress in increasing access to financial services and reducing the cost of transactions, though in terms of serving the “last mile” - those wishing to make single dollar transactions - there is still much to be done. But the answer may be staring us in the face. In disrupting the traditional financial system, with its reliance on formal tellers and ATMs, mobile money and its agency model have taken off across Africa. According to Frost & Sullivan, the value of mobile money transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa reached USD 656 million in 2014,...

  • 4 ways to help build your tech startup in Africa

    There are many issues that African tech startup entrepreneurs have to deal with in building successful global businesses, but I'd like to highlight these four points because I believe they are particularly important for the ever-growing African tech scene. 1. Be open to partnerships I have identified two main kinds of partnerships: the first kind is based more on the core team itself. Your early employees or co-founders will bring complementary skill sets to make your team a stronger one. These co-founders also create/become a social, supportive work environment for your business. A classic example is how Pierre Omidyar, who had...

  • Entrepreneur diaries: trying to get funds can be a distraction

    Editor’s Note: Nicholas Haralambous was the co-founder of mobile social network builder Motribe, which was recently acquired by Mxit for an undisclosed sum. The company was started two years ago with Vincent Maher and was invested in by local venture capital company 4Di Capital. He also recently started an environmentally friendly online sock shop. This is the second post in the series: "things I learned building a mobile startup in Africa". There are few things that you should focus on when building a company. Things like customer growth, product development and revenue growth. Early on in the life of a business,...

  • Paul Graham: the best startup ideas come from solving problems

    I recently read a great piece by Paul Graham that talked about getting startup ideas. In the well thought out essay about entrepreneurship and the various ways startup ideas have come to some of the world's biggest innovators, Graham finds a central concept at their core: problem solving. Graham is one of the founders of the widely popular YCombinator, a startup incubator that has funded more than 450 startups, including Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, and Reddit in the last seven years. As an investor Graham knows a thing or two about startups and good ideas. He reckons that startup ideas shouldn't...

  • Quicket: ticketing service claims lowest commission charges in industry

    We love Quicket, the ticketing service that allows you to sell tickets for your event and promote it online. Create an event page, promote it through social channels, and collect payment for tickets online. To round things off the solution also offers venue access control through rentable ticket barcode scanners. It does all this while charging a seriously low commission of 4.9% which it claims to be the lowest in the industry. According to a recent study conducted by World Wide Worx, commissioned by Google South Africa, the country's internet economy makes up R59-billion or 2% of South...

  • Entrepreneur diaries: lessons I learnt from building a mobile startup in Africa

    Editor's Note: Nicholas Haralambous was the co-founder of mobile social network builder Motribe, which was recently acquired by Mxit for an undisclosed sum. The company was started two years ago with Vincent Maher and was invested in by local venture capital company 4Di Capital. He also just started an environmentally friendly online sock shop. I have learned a lot in the past two years. Many of the lessons haven’t really even sunk in yet but I thought that I should start off by writing a list of things I’d learned while building my mobile company in South Africa. This list...

  • Your internet startup: Why it’s OK to clone a business

    "Creativity is just connecting things," said Steve Jobs in 1996 Wired interview. According to Mark Twain, all ideas are second-hand. Maria Popova, editor of Brain Pickings, and MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow, writes that creativity is a "combinatorial force", referring to the belief that ideas are products of collaboration. Her thoughts are echoed in Twain's writings, which dismisses the existence of the solitary creative genius: "the kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism". Like LEGO creations, ideas are made up of pre-existing...

  • Pop quiz: which US university has the best funded alumni?

    If you could choose to study anywhere in the US, which university would be the best fit for your entrepreneurial spirit? A recently published report that reveals which universities graduate the most entrepreneurs and how much funding their alumni get from investors and VC companies, has been condensed into a colourful infographic. It shows how alumni from six major US universities have raised US$12.6 billion in financing across 559 deals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Stanford University leads the pack, boasting alumni such as Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google), Reed Hastings (Netflix), William Hewlett and David Packard (Hewlett-Packard), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Scott McNealy,...

  • QikCommerce: Behind the MIH-Obox break-up

    Back in March, we reported that Naspers’ investment arm MIH had teamed up with Obox to launch QikCommerce — a Wordpress-based eCommerce tool that lets users “create an online shop in minutes”. It was an exciting development: a large multi-national internet company had joined forces with local internet entrepreneurs to launch a new ecommerce service that allowed users to create their own online stores on the fly. But just a couple of months after QikCommerce launched, Obox founders David and Marc Perel had left the joint venture. Obox made its name after switching from creating full websites to WordPress themes in...

  • Ex-Mxit boss admits IM startup 2go is a threat

    The South African tech scene is quite abuzz with news of Alan Knott-Craig and post-Mxit information. In a recent Memeburn article, some insight was given into his time and the mobile social network and why it came to an abrupt end. Now, in a video interview discussing a post-Mxit life and how Africa's supposed largest social network fitted into his own company, World of Avatar, the former CEO has admitted that small instant messaging startup 2go could be a threat to Mxit. 2go is a startup based in South Africa that currently boasts just over 10-million active users...

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