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  • From coupons to furniture removal: first annual #Hack.Jozi Challenge winners announced

    The #Hack.Jozi Challenge recently announced the winner of its R1-million reward. Developed by the City of Johannesburg and Wits University, the event was aimed at developing digital solutions to everyday problems. First place was awarded to MoWallet, a startup focused around coupons and vouchers, and spearheaded by Desmond Mongwe, took the prize of R1-million. Lazy Lizard's Teachinator and MoveThisStuff both took runner-up places, which consisted of a R350 000 prize each. The top ten teams also received a subscription to IBM's Bluemix for a year. The City of Johannesburg pledged R5-million towards the #Hack.Jozi Challenge project and prizes. The judging panel...

  • 8 examples of why university is the perfect time to found a startup

    There's no perfect time to startup a business and you'll always be able to find excuses not to. But when you're a student, you have a lot fewer excuses than many older people do. You're unlikely to have kids for instance, or a home and car to pay off. You also have immediate access to a wealth pool of incredible minds, a potentially lucrative market base and, depending on the course you're pursuing, a heck of a lot more free time on your hands than anyone in the working world. And let's not forget that both Google and Facebook...

  • AgriProtein: the company using flies, our waste to keep the planet from eating itself

    The fly makes the world go round. While many find these critters repulsive, they actually play a very important role in how we get our food we eat. For starters, by eating decaying materials, the fly helps speed up the nutrient cycling which helps generate richer soil for plants and vegetables. It's also a protein food for some animals -- a lot of which, people eat. As much as we might hate it, it's actually nature's filthy little farmer. The problem with nature is that it is slow. Way too slow for our overpopulated, capital-driven world of today. But if AgriProtein...

  • 5 questions you really need to ask about startup growth

    Mobile startup expert Olga Steidi gives an insightful list of the right questions to ask and the ways to implement growth in your startup Travelling across four Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand) in the last month, I met early-stage CEOs to talk about the way they see internationalisation and growth for their startups. From incubators and company builders to stand-alone startups, every one of them puts growth in the spotlight and understands how critical it is to focus on numbers. Unfortunately, many of them ask (mainly themselves) the wrong questions when it comes to growth. To help founders...

  • Organic online shop Faithful to Nature bags R10m from Silvertree Capital

    Are you a fan of organic products? Well, finding them at the right price at the right time might soon just become a tad easier for South Africans. South African online shop Faithful to Nature, which specialises in organic products, has completed a round of funding from Silvertree Capital valued at over R10-million. The deal, which was facilitated by global boutique investment advisory firm U-Start, includes financial investment to grow marketing spend and expand operations beyond consumer-focused online sales. In addition, Silvertree and other companies within the Silvertree portfolio will support Faithful to Nature on topics including online marketing, IT systems, logistics...

  • Zapacab relaunches as white-label solution to save SA taxi companies from Uber

    Uber's disruptive nature in South Africa's taxi sector is more heated than ever before. So much so that it just prompted the relaunch of a white-label product which taxi companies can use to compete with the San Francisco-based multi-billion dollar company. "Taxi companies need to be able to compete with Uber, as currently they are unable to," says Mark Allewell who -- together with undisclosed partners -- bought the Zapacab IP from the original founders. Zapacab offers independent South African taxi companies to create their own branded mobile app so they can compete with the likes of Uber. "There is a huge...

  • BizSpark’s Dream Big campaign sets out to inspire startup culture in SA

    The South African government’s National Development Plan outlines that 90% of new jobs will be created through entrepreneurship and the expansion of companies by 2030. Microsoft trying to help drive this vision. Supporting small business with access to tools and mentorship, Microsoft BizSpark SA programme has around 1 665 SMEs under its wing. Of those, six companies have been chosen to become part of the Big Dream programme, which hopes to inspire a culture of entrepreneurship among the country's youth. "The Dream Big campaign is really there to highlight entrepreneurial success stories from all different backgrounds," explains Alex Fraser, one of...

  • 4 reasons investors should seriously look to Africa for tech

    In recent years, Africa has become a hotbed of technological innovation. The spread of mobile technology has spurred new companies, such as delivery service MamaMikes, which allows dispersed family members to send gifts, and energy provider M-Kopa Solar, which now provides energy to a reported 150 000 homes across East Africa. This shift has transformed Africa’s investment landscape. African developers will continue generating cutting-edge technology in the coming years, and investors who jump on these new opportunities will reap the rewards. Here are four reasons to source your next tech product from Africa: 1. Mobile Tech Boom Smartphone penetration continues to increase as...

  • Q&A with Francesco Signoretti from lastminute.com group on emerging markets

    Feature photo: Seedstars Cape Town judges during a startup's pitch Francesco Signoretti is the CEO of lastminute.com group, a European leader in the online travel and leisure industry. The Group has an impressive portfolio of well-known brands such as lastminute.com, Bravofly, Rumbo, Volagratis and Jetcost, with websites and mobile apps in 15 languages across 35 countries. As an official partner of Seedstars World, lastminute.com group has agreed to power a Travel Investment Track that will award US$500 000 in equity investment to the best travel startup. Signoretti was with the Seedstars World team at the Cape Town event to help source...

  • On the hunt for Holy Grails, Unicorns, VC funding and other fabled creatures

    This article may be a little controversial but it is part of my mission to guide our entrepreneurs to success -- and if we can stop our founders from wasting time doing things that will never bear fruit, then we are doing our job. New venture founders are massively overly focused on VC-sourced funding – which may initially seem appropriate as lack of money is a problem that most startups face at sometime. However, there is undoubtedly a disproportionate amount of time and resource dedicated to seeking VC funding which will remain for most, a holy grail. In the UK there...