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  • 20 startups from Asia that failed in 2015 and lessons learned

    2015 was a hot year for some startups in Asia. Venture capital flowed into China, India and South Korea in previously unheard of amounts. Southeast Asia saw a record exit with iProperty Group’s US$534million acquisition. Yet raising gargantuan rounds of financing is no guarantee for future success, and it’s in the risky nature of entrepreneurship that some companies emerge as winners while others bite the dust. Here are 20 startups from Asia that were forced to shut down this year. We clustered them by country and in no particular order. These 20 are by no means the only ones to cease operations...

  • Company Office

    SA consumers doing their product homework before purchase

    At a time when most consumers are spending conservatively, with a hawkish eye on every last Rand, value for money has become paramount. Long gone are the days when people sign on to mobile contracts on a whim, or buy insurance products at the behest of a smiling salesman. With deep-seated economic and political uncertainty prevailing, consumers are looking to inform themselves as best they can before spending a cent. “The good news for sceptical South Africans is that a host of new and sophisticated digital tools are coming online, giving people much-needed access to information,” says Ryan Marx, CEO...

  • PE incubator boasts 25% growth, takes on 10 new tech startups

    The SEDA Nelson Mandela Bay ICT Incubator (SNII) has taken on 10 new ICT and tech startups and shown a 25% growth for its clients over the past year. This comes from their performance findings, which covered the incubator from April 2014 to March 2015. The incubator aims to drive small business enterprise development through its incubation of South Africa, Port Elizabeth-based tech startups. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, 10 new tech startups were established from 11 projects in the same period. Along with these new ventures, it also has 26 SMEs in various stages of incubation. Over...

  • 20 successful years of backing independent news — Q&A with MDIF’s Mohamed Nanabhay

    The media world has seen major disruptions since the advent of the web, especially when it comes to social media and mobile. While there are a handful of publications and platforms reaping the profits, most are struggling to keep their heads above water. This pressure is especially felt by companies that face unfavourable economic or political conditions, where government often use the internet as a tool for censorship, espionage and control of information. Yet, in this state of transformation, the MDIF (Media Development Investment Fund) recently had its 20th anniversary, celebrating a total of US$133.6-million invested in 108 independent news...

  • SA small business to face tough 2016 if opportunities overlooked

    South African small businesses can expect a tough 2016, but there remain opportunities for those willing to search them out. In a presentation delivered yesterday at Property Point's To The Point session, Small Business Insight’s Stephen Timm (pictured above), joined by policy expert Septi Bukula of Osiba Management, outlined some trends SMEs can expect next year. Property Point is property group Growthpoint's supplier development programme. The seminar was held at the Southern Sun Hotel in Hyde Park in Johannesburg. Constrained outlook The National Treasury last month said the economy is set to grow at 1.7% next year, after an expected growth of just...

  • Governance and startups — the Ethiopia experience

    Last month, Seedstars World held its first challenge in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa and the event featured eleven of the country’s best startups. AhadooTec’s Fidel which is Ethiopia's first mobile learning platform, won the competition. And last Monday, as my taxi slowly left the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, I began to ponder on why Ethiopia -- which is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populous nation on the African continent after Nigeri -- was just having its first mobile learning platform in 2015! Perhaps the Ethiopian calendar, which is seven...

  • Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme 2016 calls for mentors

    The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), a supporter of African-owned businesses, is looking for mentors for its inaugural startup programme. The initiative is founded by Nigerian entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropic billionaire Tony O. Elumelu. The Tony Elumelu Foundation launched TEEP in January 2015 and looks to identify and support the growth of 1 000 African-owned businesses annually. This will be achieved with a US$100-million philanthropic programme, which includes the a highly designed framework of training, mentoring, funding, and networking for these startups. The 1 000 entrepreneurs -- from 51 African countries -- chosen for this year's programme went through a 12-week online...

  • How to keep the excitement going in your startup

    Whenever a company embarks on a process to create a culture that delights customers and creates loyalty, we usually recognise four very distinct phases in the process: First there is awareness, where people at all levels realise that change is important and imminent. Managers usually start reading up and enquiring about what to do next Then there is the evangelical phase, with bands and balloons and a lot of “Rah! Rah!” It is usually during this phase that the company carries out lots and lots of activities, including a launch event and training for everybody. Many systems and processes are established,...

  • Rush wants to change the way South Africans move their stuff from A to B

    Powered by WeChat, Rush is a new platform that's looking to forever change the way South Africans move stuff their from A to B. Launching today, the Rush app lets you compare a number of couriers, their prices and service delivery, in real-time. "A combination of an Uber and Hippo.co.za," the startup's CEO, Glenn Whittaker, likes to refer to the startup as. By aggregating numerous courier services, Rush enables users to choose their preferred brand based on reputation, price or delivery time. So far, the startup has boarded a handful of couriers such as Courier  IT, The Courier Guy, Globeflight, RTT and SkyNet, which collectively reach...

  • Western Cape Funding Fair calling for businesses seeking funding

    The Western Cape Funding Fair, to be held next year in May, is calling for local businesses seeking funding of between R2-million and R20-million. The initiative aims to stimulate local economic growth by connecting businesses that require funding with suitable investors, as well as to educate applicants on best practices to follow to turn ideas into bankable business plans. A second year running, the Funding Fair is also adding a R20-million-plus category for medium and large businesses. “The Funding Fair is a unique public and private partnership that aims to assist entrepreneurs to unlock the economic potential of our province," said Alan...

  • 3 reasons why you should apply for funding with the Awethu Project [Sponsored]

    Founded in 2009, the Awethu Project has grown from a R60 000 startup to a company with hundreds of millions of Rands to invest in South African entrepreneurship. Right now, the company is offering companies with the potential for high-growth the chance to apply for up to R5-million in equity funding. Awethu is interested in entrepreneurs who have products that are in demand or offer excellent services, and can prove they have the ambition and tenacity to become world class. The cost of the investment is a negotiated equity stake which brings Awethu on board as the high impact partner...