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  • Is there a solution to Groupon’s SA woes?

    There’s been a recent surge in complaints about the South African iteration of Groupon, with many customers getting vocal about undelivered products, not receiving refunds as promised and even about difficulties in opting out of their mailing list. Complaints are flooding in on consumer websites such as HelloPeter, most of which typically relate to users not receiving goods paid for, refunds that never get processed, poor after-sales service and spamming by the group-buying giant. One HelloPeter user said that he keeps receiving the company's daily deals, despite repeated attempts to make it stop emailing him: “I unfortunately subscribed to Groupon...

  • Company Office

    Here are some simple ways to manage your finances within your startup

    The rate of small business failure remains alarmingly high, even in a digital age that supposedly empowers aspiring entrepreneurs. So despite the fact that it has never been easier to launch a startup venture in 2018, just 40% are still trading after five years of operations. Interestingly, the rate of small business survival after the first year is relatively high at 91%, but this begins to decline considerably as ventures progress and continue to age. Much of this to do with financial mismanagement, particularly in instances where firms try to expand quickly at a disproportionate rate to revenue. In this article, we'll...

  • 4 tips for protecting your tech startup idea

    In this month’s Entrepreneur magazine, startup adviser and mentor Ed Hatton provides four tips for turning your idea for a tech startup into a business, without someone stealing it. To develop an idea, founders need to approach service providers and investors. This may require divulging your secret recipe. Unlike offline businesses or products that can be protected by patent laws, internet-based businesses require a different approach. #1 Deal with trustworthy suppliers Check references carefully before picking financiers and advertising agencies. Opt for reputable and established suppliers who respect the confidentiality of their clients’ ideas. #2 Use a Non-Disclosure Agreement Although banks and financial...

  • From TEDx Cape Town: How to incubate new business ideas

    At TEDx Cape Town over the past weekend, Peter Greenwall, author of the book Logical Stupidity delivered a colourful presentation on innovation. Greenwall stressed the importance of embracing discontent, failure, anxiety and curiosity as energy sources for creativity. The creative process starts with asking the question: “What went wrong?" or as Greenwall likes to put it "Why The Failure (WTF)". If it’s hard to identify the root causes at first, start by describing the symptoms of the problem -- it will help you connect the dots. Greenwall describes anxiety as a "dark hole of vulnerability" that should be celebrated as a...

  • Paperight: turn your copy shop into a book shop, pay less for books

    In a time where digital books and distribution are vying for mindshare as the best weapon in the fight against illiteracy in Africa, Paperight is reviving the traditional paper textbook in an innovative way. Launched in May this year, Paperight is aiming to repurpose the humble copy shop -- plentiful stalwarts in most small towns -- for printing affordable books, while protecting the rights of authors and publishers. “Paperight is essentially a rights clearing house,” says founder Arthur Attwell, a former publisher who developed the business as a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. “We negotiate printing rights with copyright owners and...

  • 10 African news innovations with serious potential

    If you’ve been following the Knight News Challenge, the US headquartered Knight Foundation’s multi-million dollar initiative that rewards innovation in the news media industry, you’ll find the African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC) equally compelling. With ANIC’s maiden voyage this year, it became Africa’s largest fund for supporting digital news startups and encouraging new media experimentation. The challenge will award prizes totalling US$1 million to startups that create innovative solutions in fields such as “data driven journalism, investigative reporting, newsroom management, audience engagement, digital convergence, and media business models." ANIC is headed by the African Media Initiative (AMI), the continent's largest umbrella...

  • Tech startups in Botswana are tackling transport and health challenges

    This week finds me sitting in Botswana. I’ve talked to a couple of startup entrepreneurs; Pule Mmolotsi who is testing out an Oyster-like payment card for public transportation in the country, and Katy Digovich who is creating mHealth apps for the Ministry of Health. While only a small sample, they do a good job of representing what I continue to see around the continent; a new generation in Africa trying new ideas and taking to technology to cut the way forward. Five years ago in Tanzania we had TED Africa, where George Ayittey coined the term “cheetah” to represent the...

  • Vodacom could sell Zoopy by month end

    Ventureburn has received word that Vodacom could offload a large portion of its investment in mobile video product Zoopy before the end of the month. Rumours that the African mobile giant could be selling off its stake in the service first emerged last week. At the moment little is known about the deal. A source, who asked to remain anonymous, told Ventureburn that the sale would definitely go through before the end of the month. When approached for comment, Vodacom spokesperson Richard Boorman refused to comment on a specific date, confirming only that it was looking for a potential investor...

  • How a hacker became a shit-hot entrepreneur: the Alistair Petersen story

    Recently you may have seen massive hype and attention around a bank hacker called Alistair Peterson, mostly unknown, even in some parts of the tech world in which he operates. His blog had a few hundred hits less than a month ago, now it has over 22 000, with over 5 000 newsletter subscribers. If you still haven't heard about him, then read on. A Google search brings up little except his own blog and a small LinkedIn account, so the questions begs, who is he really? The thing is, due to the nature of what he's doing, some folks...

  • TEDxCapeTown live stream coming to a browser near you

    Another TEDx event is hitting the Cape Town tech scene which will "showcases inspirational ideas" in the vein of which TED conferences are revered for. According to TED.com, "TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, 'ideas worth spreading.' The programme is designed to give communities, organisations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level." The Cape Town edition of the event, which will take place on 21 July, wants to showcase Africa's growing role in the tech world. "We want partnerships, not aid. We are majestic and innovative, and proud to be...

  • PNet acquires Jobs.co.za, scores a premier domain name

    PNet.co.za, a leading South African online recruitment service provider, has acquired Jobs.co.za. The deal will see new enhancements for improved user experience coming to Jobs.co.za, as well as a renewed focus on driving the right candidate traffic to the site, ensuring clients have access to quality candidates. PNet is owned by saongroup.com -- an international online recruitment and software company. The acquisition of of Jobs.co.za will further strengthen saongroup.com Africa's position in the South African market. The amount of the transaction is undisclosed. Jobs.co.za will continue to operate independently while growing its customer base and strengthening relationships with existing customers. “The acquisition...