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  • Startups: forget consumer, B2B is where it’s at

    Pssst! Startups. Lose your fixation with consumer-facing services, take a look at solving problems for enterprises and start riding the “techquisition” wave. Techquisition is what Gartner is dubbing the acquisition of clever technology by businesses -- in any sector, and is one of the ways they are advising enterprises to get ahead as a digital business. What’s the background to this? Well businesses are entering a "bimodal" phase, says Gartner. On the one hand, they need to keep the lights on, minimise risk, keep costs down and steer a slow-and-steady course when it comes to technology. On the other, they...

  • Company Office

    Don’t let expansion ruin a great company culture

    As a young company that primarily serves informal markets, we have quickly expanded into new regions on the African continent. While South Africa remains a key focus – and our base – we have invariably needed to establish a presence in other fast growing markets. In practice, this has meant that our management team spends a great deal of time away from the rest of the team – and working remotely. Without a doubt, this scenario is impacting the culture of the business – as the core structure shifts from a centralised management system to a more distributed model....

  • Nigeria’s person-to-person money transfer company Paga bags $13m

    The Nigerian person-to-person money transfer company, Paga, has secured US$13-million from renowned international investment firms Adlevo Capital, Omidyar Network, Goodwell West Africa, Acumen Fund, and Capricorn Investment Group. Jeremy Stoppelman, the co-Founder and CEO of Yelp, also joined in on the round. The massive round comes after the six-year-old company has been boasting massive growth rates. Today, Paga is being used by over three million Nigerians -- and 3 600 SME clients -- who use it to send money to any phone number for the beneficiary to then redeem at a Paga agent or at any ATM via a cardless withdrawal. Additionally, customers...

  • Entries open for 2015 South African Small Business Awards

    Entries for the 2015 South African Small Business Awards, which aims to celebrate successful small business in South Africa, are now open. Taking place for the past seven years, the awards are hosted by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) and sponsored by FNB, Adams and Adams, and Vodacom. Mike Anderson, the CEO of the NSBC, says that in addition to recognising the achievements of small business owners, the awards also set out to inspire business owners and entrepreneurs to keep striving for success. Read more: Awards to recognise South Africa’s top township entrepreneurs “Entry into the South African Small Business Awards...

  • Sw7, AlphaCode debut fintech accelerator for high-growth businesses

    Start with Seven (Sw7) has partnered with Rand Marchant Insurance Holdings' (RMI) AlphaCode to launch a dedicated fintech accelerator in the region. The event will run for nine consecutive weeks, starting in January 2016 and will feature evening and structured mentoring sessions during the day. AlphaCode is a business platform helping to identify and enable key investments in the financial services industry. It has been developed as a next generation business platform. "Working with AlphaCode gives us a strong support structure and insights into the next generation financial services industry," states Odette Jones, the Sw7 co-founder. Senior Investment Executive for AlphaCode, Dominique Collett,...

  • Barclays Africa launches startup community aimed at FinTech innovation

    Barclays Africa on Monday announced the launch of Rise, a physical and virtual startup incubator aimed at African startups in the financial services space. According to the banking multinational, Rise aims to take advantage of technology solutions that are not reliant on physical infrastructure. This, it says, is particularly relevant in the African context. It provides developing markets with an opportunity to leapfrog ageing analogue infrastructure, deployed in most developed economies, and with it the capacity to solve some of Africa’s development challenges. "The financial services industry is undergoing a paradigm shift and new tech start-ups are challenging traditional...

  • 3 vital truths about running a business you should know about

    Management textbooks and the business press are full of advice about creating entrepreneurial business models, shaking up markets, and offering game-changing customer experiences. As exciting as those opportunities are, there are some important and less glamorous truths about building a business that every entrepreneur should know from the outset. All too many of us learn them only through hard experience. 1. You will have a business plan, and life will have other plans It is sensible to start out with a business plan that charts the expected course of your company for the first two or five years of its existence. Banks,...

  • India poised to become world’s next startup nation

    If India is to follow Israel and the US to become the world’s next great startup nation, it must do much more to vamp up internet access and cut choking red tape both of which do little to encourage entrepreneurship. India is still coasting on a high following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Silicon Valley last weekend. While there he interacted with entrepreneurs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla’s Elon Musk. The release of the latest Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum on Tuesday is an added boost -- India has risen an impressive 16 places to...

  • Affordable greenhouse company recognised as best startup in Kenya

    A company responsible for constructing affordable, modern greenhouses has been recognised as the best startup in Kenya. This follows the winning pitch of Illuminum Greenhouse Kenya, which alongside eight other startups, competed in the regional competition for Seedstars World -- a global startup competition for emerging markets. Illuminum Greenhouse Kenya has been invited to go to Switzerland in February next year where it will stand a chance of winning US$500 000 in equity investment. Other opportunities up for grabs include a US$500 000 equity investment from lastminutegroup.com as well as a US$50 000 grant for the best space-focused startup. Seedstars World...

  • Sw7 opens applications for its 2015 Cape Town programme

    South African technology accelerator Sw7 has opened applications for its Cape Town accelerator programme. Sw7 Cape Town will be a replication of the recently completed programme in Rosebank, Johannesburg at Standard Bank's new incubator. According to Sw7 co-founder Odette Jones, it has been a year since the organisation ran an event in Cape Town. Since then, the ecosystem has changed a lot. "We have seen a significant increase in the quality of the applications as well as in the support being offered by the players in the sector," adds Jones. Read more: Sw7 partners with UKTI to take SA entrepreneurs to London In a press...

  • 5 mistakes SA entrepreneurs should avoid when going lean

    The lean startup has changed the way new companies are being launched. It is a methodology that has been used by the likes of Dropbox, Airbnb and Uber. SpaceX and Google have used it to disrupt industries and large companies like Intuit and General Electric have adopted the approach to get new products to market faster with higher success rates. In addition, a number of studies have shown that it is one of the best ways to improve a new businesses odds of success. For example, research done by the Startup Genome project showed high growth companies that apply lean...