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  • Candystick: this new SA startup wants to help you crowdfund gifts, occassions

    Let's say you're getting married and that you've asked your guests for money so that you can buy something big. They could bring cash, but that's not safe or they could transfer the money into your bank account, but then it doesn't feel like much of a gift. A new South African startup called Candystick is aiming to fix that. Candystick's primary product is called Candybox, which the company describes as an "online money box where your friends, family, colleagues or anyone else can contribute towards an occasion or a group gift". According to the company, the service can be...

  • Why having the right cloud security is so important for small business

    While there are probably some people out there that still don’t understand the cloud, it seems as if it is taking over the world of computing. In the beginning it was a way to keep computers connected between long distances, giving companies and individuals a place to share and save their words and photos without it taking up space on their computer’s hard drive. Today, cloud computing is the way of the world for both businesses and individuals. It makes sense that with using cloud computing in all aspects of life and work now, that someone would come up with...

  • SA’s fire detection startup Lumkani named finalist in Index Awards 2015

    Lumkani, the South African startup behind the innovative fire detecting device, is a finalist in the globally renowned design competition Index: Award 2015. Lumkani and the other finalists had to meet vigorous criteria to be chosen as finalists. The most important being their strength and creativity in improving people’s lives, as well as their overall rank across the INDEX: Award criteria of form, impact, context. Ranging from body, home, work and play, other finalists include Foldscope by Stanford engineers Manu Prakash and Jim Cybulski, language and text translation platform Duolingo, the Ambulance Drone by Dutch designer Alec Momont, the Google...

  • Small business does not mean startup

    Every business needs to start somewhere and at some point it will be small. Does this mean that all small business are startups? No! The phrase startup has become very trendy and is heavily overused. With governments and incubators touting startup support services and growing the number of startups. Everyone seems to think that any early-stage business is a startup, which, in my opinion is very misleading. Most of the time what they’re talking about is a business starting up. Let me clarify. A startup -- in the sexy trendy sense -- is a small business with high-growth potential. They’re highly...

  • How much can small business learn from customer self-service?

    In the “old days” just a few years ago, it was a good idea to arrive two hours before your domestic flight in order to check in and get the seat you wanted. In some cases, it was a good idea so that you wouldn’t be bumped off the flight due to chronic overbooking practiced by airlines. And then suddenly passengers were able to check in on line and even using smart phones 24 hours before the flight, and all that stress just melted away. (Unless, of course, the airline’s website isn’t working too well.) Welcome to the age of...

  • The Asian giant arm-wrestle: Is India about to beat China at the VC game?

    China, by all means, is far ahead of India. Be it the quality of infrastructure, its business-friendly environment and backing from the government -- India has a lot to learn from this Asian giant. It’s no secret that India has always looked at China with a bit of envy, for its astonishing growth over the past couple of decades to become the fastest-growing economy in the world, despite the fact that a large chunk of its people still don’t speak English. According to a recent news report by The Economic Times, prominent Indian startup entrepreneurs have started paying regular visits...

  • Mobicred now allows you to pay off your concert tickets online

    This is pretty interesting. South African online credit startup Mobicred has teamed up with online ticket seller Nutickets, meaning that you can now pay off tickets for big-cost events rather than shelling out the full amount in one go. Founded in 2013, Mobicred has been baked into a number of local ecommerce sites, using algorithms to determine a person's credit-worthiness. It costs about as much as your average middle of the road credit card offered by a traditional bank and is meant to appeal both to people afraid of using a traditional credit card and for those looking for...

  • Rise of the consumer — is South Africa’s Private Shopper in the pound seat?

    Taking your business else-where can have some negative connotations, unless of course you are talking about taking it online, in which case you are possibly going to make a whole lot of money these days. That's especially true for some of the world's online shops. Ecommerce is making a big entrance all around the world. If you didn't know this, meet Instacart, a brand that has a style that resembles a stiff cocktail of companies, combining the convenience and flexibility of Uber, with a splash of Amazon and a hint of entrepreneurial intuition to make it a long island on-demand ice...

  • BitHub launches to help incubate SA’s bitcoin startups

    Cryptocurrency is a hot topic and the talking point on everyone's lips. Bitcoin has existed for a few years but is starting to make its way into the mainstream market. In South Africa, ecommerce giants Raru and Takealot has been some of the first major retailers to accept bitcoin as a payment method via payment gateway, PayFast. Launched this week, BitHub is a new space geared towards digital currency innovation based in Woodstock, Cape Town. According to Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, one of BitHub's goals the incubation of cryptocurrency startups. One of the ideas is to line up innovators with banks...

  • This is why I won’t run another startup

    Earlier this year, I closed my startup. So now I get to reflect on what I’d have done differently. Hindsight is unfair and inaccurate, but I still enjoy its lessons. This is one, a note to my future self: "Don’t call your projects ‘startups’". It’s a semantic trick, but a really important one. Here’s why. Startups have become a commodity in an industry of startup conferences, websites, courses and competitions. As founders of young organisations, we struggle to distinguish genuine guidance and support from the distracting pizzazz of the startup industry, where we’re just the product, not the customer. Lured...