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  • From R50m to nothing: Lessons from the Global Vision story

    You hear this quite a bit in the start-up world: The thing about technology companies, or any company for that matter, is you have to “fail to succeed”. Many venture capitalists won’t invest in an entrepreneur who hasn’t failed at least once. Some start-ups rise from the ashes to develop into successful businesses. This is not always the case. Some fail, others thrive, some just evolve. Jon Jacobson, founder of high-profile Cape Town start-up Global Vision, rose to the top of his game, creating a company worth well over R45-million and employing around 90 people at its peak....

  • Company Office

    Why more entrepreneurs are investing in understanding AI

    Whether you’re wary of the disruption that Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings or you’re embracing it, there’s no avoiding the impact it’s expected to have on businesses in the coming years. Not only has AI been proven to speed-up processes and streamline operations, but it also has great potential for customer experience, product development, sales, and business intelligence – improving the bottom line for companies both big and small. In fact, PwC estimates that by 2030, artificial intelligence alone could add a total of $15.7-trillion to global GDP. Below are just some of the ways AI could influence how we do business, now...

  • Evrythng: The company that wants to bring…everything online

    People have been promising us The Internet of Things for some time now (the term dates back all the way to 1999). But so far we don’t seem to have moved much further than TVs and domestic appliances. A UK and Switzerland-based company called Evrythng wants to change all that and take the Internet of Things to well...everything. The term essentially refers uniquely identifiable objects (things) and their virtual representations in an internet-like structure. As its name suggests, Evrythng has pretty grandiose ambitions. Its raison d’etre is written boldly across the front page of the site:...

  • If your Facebook store failed, don’t blame Facebook, blame yourself

    I worryingly read a slew of articles over the weekend about the shuttering of numerous big-brand F-commerce sites. My issue with most of these closing is that few had good KVP (key value propositions) for the user and now the entire ecosystem is getting painted a very ugly colour. In light of Open Graph just coming onto the scene I’m surprised at these big brands’ quick plug-pulling behaviour. Let’s review history: be honest, most of these companies put up their websites (or some fraction thereof) on Facebook and gave no real reason for people to buy from it...

  • Gatfol: Google, Yahoo! and Bing are OK, we can make them better

    Search engines get you the results you want 80% of the time. That's according to a South African startup called Gatfol (pronounced Gat fole, not like the Afrikaans Gatvol) which will soon be launching its first product to help you get closer to 100%. Gatfol may seem like an odd name for a startup, but its US patented semantic search algorithm certainly isn’t. Rooted in natural language processing or NLP, the free Gatfol browser plug-in will attempt to optimise your search queries by making them as concise as possible. NLP, if you’re not familiar with the subject, is the field...

  • 22seven launch: How the Mint experience differed

    The recent launch of online money management system 22seven has raised a fair amount of controversy around allowing third-party applications to access user banking details. The innovative startup is the brainchild of Twenty20 founder Christo Davel, and is billed as an "intelligent money-saving tool" that plugs directly and securely into users' personal bank accounts and then delivers analysis on spending habits. It’s one of the sexiest start-ups to launch on the African continent, with VC from multiple investors. The “startup” bears some resemblance to US-based money management system Mint.com, which was launched five years ago following a bid...

  • AngelHub: Investors come together to foster startup growth

    You may believe tech creates jobs, you may believe it destroys jobs. Whatever the case, we know that in the tech world we are seeing entrepreneurial activity like never before. It’s not surprising that there is so much written about venture capital and startups in the tech world, and that there are so many incubators popping up Enter AngelHub. Launched in September of last year, AngelHub connects early stage investors with capital seekers. The funds, expertise and networks of its group of angel investors and founders, aim to create an environment that is conducive to sustainable entrepreneurial success. Although...

  • Crowd-funding pushes lone startup into spotlight

    Another crowdfunding project has hit South Africa's Angel investment landscape. Crowd-funding.co.za, a site aimed at raising money for startups in South Africa, recently launched. For those not in the know,crowdfunding is chiefly a product of the internet, where individuals come together to support private or commercial ventures. This follows a crowdfunding initiative by Eve Dmochowska, Crowdfund, which didn’t see the light of day. Dmochowska's project website has been shut down, and no further news has been heard from the founding members. Hopefully this new crowdfunding venture will fare better, and possibly reach the heights of successful sites such as Kickstarter, a successful...

  • 8 Reasons hiring at a technology startup is tough

    I like to define a startup in a way that goes something like this: A startup in my world is a young company in a new, fast growing and evolving industry that could swing, change or be disrupted very quickly. The reason that it's relevant for me to lay out how I define a startup is because this definition is extremely important when considering hiring a team. It is often not as simple as hiring the best person for the job. It's much deeper and more complicated than a simple contract with leave allowances and a stable income. Hiring is tough...

  • Chirpify looks to bring commerce to Twitter

    Twitter is a great platform for businesses, journalists and everyday people. We all know that. But what may not have occurred to you is that it could also be an incredibly useful commerce platform. At least one company was thinking differently to you. A Portland, Oregon based startup called Chirpify claims that it “turns tweets into transactions, enabling consumers and businesses to buy, sell, donate and transact on Twitter.” Although founded in 2011, the company only officially launched its product today. Chirpify’s product effectively integrates your Twitter account with PayPal, allowing you to make a variety of transactions over the...

  • 6 Things every startup should watch out for before signing with an investor

    "Yes, we would like to invest". The magic words that any startup owner loves to hear. Your idea is no longer just a seed in the back of your mind; it is about to be watered allowing it to blossom into the reality you always knew it could be. After the celebratory high fives and handshakes followed by the compulsory boozy lunch with your new best ‘investor’ friend, a term sheet or funding agreement arrives to formalise your relationship. The agreement is rather lengthy and contains some legal jargon; defining exactly when is the last day of the month, is important....

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