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  • Ventureburn’s 2015 top 10 podcasts that you have to listen to

    One of the exciting things at Ventureburn in 2015 was visiting startups in their offices -- be they shared spaces, artsy dens or a cluttered mess. Apart from capturing images of these liars of innovation, we sat down with some of the most intriguing startup founders and spoke to them about their ventures and the industry they operate in. As you sit at home during these December holidays, contemplating quitting your job and starting a business, these podcasts can offer much needed personal stories from startups founders. 1. Special Podcast #1: Jacques Coetzee chats with Mark Forrester from WooThemes Earlier this year...

  • Company Office

    Welcome to the Matrix: Mastering the art of Scenario Planning

    For entrepreneurs, one of the most frequently cited challenges is the task of having to juggle multiple demands on your time at any given moment. In my view, however, there is a task that is perhaps more taxing – and yet absolutely critical – that entrepreneurs have to tackle every day. It is the task of identifying and planning for multiple possible business scenarios in the midst of an ever-changing market environment. Smart scenario planning, in effect, is something that undoubtedly needs to be built into the fabric of your daily communications with the board, management and your team...

  • What you need to know about growing your marketplace

    If you’re a new startup, or contemplating starting out, odds are you are thinking of creating something as a “two-sided platform.” That is, a platform-based business where you connect service givers to customers -- think Practo or Redbus. Now, if you’re starting out, you’re probably thinking, but how do I overcome our daily challenges to get there? The question gets all the more relevant in India now, as 2016 is going to see some major cold feet from investors. That means no more easy money, and no more “if I’m a startup, someone will fund me” assurances. Only those with solid...

  • The rise of African startups is a business opportunity, not a threat

    We are in the middle of a tech startup frenzy, with research suggesting that South Africa alone is home to more than 5 000 tech startups. Rather than just seeing this rise of new potential competitors as a threat, enterprises should take the opportunity to transform themselves, work and learn together -- and bottle some of that entrepreneurial spirit. Last year, a report on tech startups published in The Economist, likened the sudden growth in digital startups to “an entrepreneurial explosion”. The report explored the fact that “digital startups are bubbling up in an astonishing variety of services and products,...

  • Kenyan startup OkHi raises $75k from Garage Capital in latest round

    Location-based addressing app OkHi has raised US$750 000 in funding. The local and international investors include the likes of Silicon Valley-based Garage Capital, and former Google CFO Patrick Pichette among others. The startup previously raised funding in early 2015 from angel investors to the tune of US$325 000 and a further US$100 000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As reported by TechCabal, OhKi co-founder and CEO Timbo Drayson is pleased with this new round. We couldn’t be more excited about the investors who we have on board, not only do they help validate the opportunity ahead of us, but...

  • Padi is Nigeria’s new hyper-local delivery service

    Nigerian internet company Iconway has launched Padi, described as a hyper-local delivery service. It allows people to order products from neighbourhood stores and have them delivered to their doorstep within just 90 minutes. Nigeria's ecommerce space is growing fast, with online retailers like Jumia, Konga and Kaymu all trying to get a slice of the pie. But instead of connecting Nigerians with online retailers, Padi wants to connect offline stores with customers. Iconway is described as an African consumer internet company with interests in mobile, media, commerce and advertising platforms. Some of its products include Nigerian Monitor, KokoFeed, Stargist and PricePadi. Read...

  • Changing climates, changing fortunes: what African elections mean for investors

    Electoral cycles have long been a sticky issue for Africa’s business communities. Elections often evoke fears that a regime change will bring uncertainty and instability, two characteristics investors try to avoid in their portfolios. These reservations aren’t unfounded: Kenya’s bungled 2007 election crippled the East African region and forced landlocked economies such as Uganda and Rwanda to bear the brunt of post-election chaos. Investors expect some inherent risk in emerging economies, but at some point, they draw a line. So it was with great trepidation that foreign investors watched Africa's 2015 political season, waiting to see how governmental shifts would affect...

  • Kenya’s mobile customer care platform Ongair rakes in funding [updated]

    The Hong Kong-founded venture capital firm and accelerator, Nest, has invested an undisclosed amount into Kenya's mobile customer care platform Ongair. With hundreds of clients around the world, the one-year-old startup is now looking to expand its services into China. Ongair is behind a web-based dashboard that enables businesses to engage with their customers on instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram and WeChat. "Our goal is to help businesses serve customers and we’ll use the additional resources to support growth, expand strategically into Asian markets and deliver great product to delight our customers around the world," says Trevor Kimenye, CEO...

  • Axing of finance minister – SMEs in SA to lose big

    South African small businesses are likely to lose more than they gain from President Jacob Zuma's axing of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. While Nene's axing will likely hasten South Africa's economic slide - with the currency hitting R15.29 on the news of his firing on Wednesday - it could also open the door for a significant amount of state spending to be channelled to small businesses. The National Treasury has long been against set-asides (see this earlier post). Telling is that it has held off issuing a practice note to effect Zuma's announcement in February that the government would source 30%...

  • 4 tips startups need to keep in mind when raising first round funding

    Being a startup founder can be downright challenging. Whether it is developing a sound business plan, building a team, or acquiring customers, you will be dealing with a sheer number of hurdles. Moreover, if you’re not backed by an elite accelerator, getting your startup off the ground can be an uphill battle. Raising money for your company requires you to think strategically. Failure to take care of this aspect can lead you in the "valley of death" -- a term used in the startup circles representing the failure experienced in acquiring venture capital for a startup. In fact, according to Josh...

  • 6 startups scaling up in India

    Startups that operate in important sectors such as healthcare, analytics, and small business lending found funding today. And then there was news of an investment by industry honcho Ratan Tata. Here are the six on our list today: UrbanClap Local services marketplace UrbanClap has just found an investor in industrialist Ratan Tata, who has put in money in his personal capacity, the company said in a statement. UrbanClap is a marketplace for hiring professionals for local services such as plumbing, yoga training, tutoring and wedding photography. It provides over 80 services and operates in NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, and Hyderabad. The...