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  • Q&A: What Africa needs to build the next Facebook

    I recently sat down with Seedstars World’s Marcello Schermer (pictured middle) and Gregory Pepper (pictured left). We spoke extensively about the startup pitching competition and how it's supporting emerging companies from all over the globe. We then dissected the startup ecosystem in Africa, focusing on what it will take for Africa to launch the next Facebook. Sourcing tech startups from around the globe, Seedstars World is currently making its rounds through 16 African countries. The top company from each country will stand a chance of winning a US$500 000 equity investment in Switzerland next year. Ventureburn: What is the business model...

  • Company Office

    How to find a strong mentor to guide you to business success

    Why every entrepreneur needs multiple mentors… While the challenges of being an entrepreneur have been well-documented, reports often fail to describe the feelings of self-doubt, loneliness and isolation that tend to plague aspiring entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. No amount of angel funding, slick technology or strategic business consulting can really assuage the feelings of doubt that accompany starting a brave new enterprise. Yet this is where strong mentorship can play a critical role – and in fact can prove to be far more valuable than landing an investment deal or angel fund backing. Mentors can keep tired...

  • Major South African VCs to officially launch web-based due diligence tool

    Major South African venture capitalists from Knife Capital are gearing up to launch a startup called YueDiligence, which aims to assist entrepreneurs and investors with due diligence. By relying on a web-based questionnaire, GAP analysis and a range of other tools, YueDiligence intends to help stakeholders make better early-stage investment decisions. The YueDiligence team is made up of Keet van Zyl, Andrea Bohmert and Eben Van Heerden from the renowned VC firm, Knife Capital. Not only did the firm see through the exit of iKubu to Garmin early this year, it also reported a 61% increase in revenue for the companies participating...

  • Lessons learned from Angel Investor Bootcamp in South Africa

    On 27 August the third session in a series of Angel Investor Bootcamps leading up to the ABAN Investor Summit at DEMO Africa was hosted in Cape Town. The Bootcamps are organised by the African Business Angel Network (ABAN) in partnership with VC4Africa, Intercontinental Trust and the LIONS Africa Partnership. The Cape Town edition was hosted together with the Silicon Cape Initiative. Alexandra Fraser, past-chairperson of Silicon Cape, welcomed an audience of angels, entrepreneurs and potential investors who were there to learn more, share experiences and to network with each other. “Angel investing is never just about the money” said Fraser. “It’s about bringing...

  • Hong Kong VC firm partners with Nairobi, Cape Town Garage

    Hong Kong venture capital firm and entrepreneurial hub Nest recently signed a partnership agreement with the Nairobi Garage and Cape Town Garage to connect three major hubs spanning Africa and Asia. The announcement comes after Nest announced its expansion to Nairobi earlier this year to tap into the continent's talent. Essentially, the partnership gives any member of Nairobi and Cape Town Garage a place to work from when visiting Hong Kong, and in turn gives companies incubated at Nest access to a space in Kenya and South Africa. Nest is described as Hong Kong’s only private, full-service startup ecosystem. The firm has...

  • 13 things I wish I’d known before starting a startup

    I have been blessed to own several businesses in my time, working across industries and sectors, from sports to hospitality and property development. I have a family of entrepreneurs. My mother has a financial planning business, my dad had a recruitment business, my uncle owns a large logistics company and family in Australia own retail stores and supermarkets. So the path to becoming an entrepreneur was a relatively easy decision and was met with loads of support and encouragement. Here are 13 things I’ve learnt along the way that will hopefully save you some time and a lot of heartache: Equip Yourself...

  • Digital marketing is crucial for startups if they’re to punch above their weight

    For most entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses, the realm of the internet, social media and digital marketing is a world that is the sole preserve of big businesses with deep pockets. Nothing could be further from the truth however; digital marketing is for everyone, especially small businesses that have a product or service that is attractive to a customer base situated outside of their physical space. The internet allows small businesses to tap into global knowledge and networks, and provides a major step towards guaranteeing the sustainability of businesses. The internet also allows small businesses to tap into...

  • PriceCheck, SnapScan team up to take ecommerce offline

    Online price comparison service PriceCheck has teamed up with mobile payments service SnapScan and ecommerce delivery outfit Pargo to bring ecommerce to those retail brochures that are the closest thing you get to actual post these days. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, shoppers will be able to browse for products from bricks and mortar retailers on PriceCheck’s mobile optimised catalogues before paying for their chosen products with SnapScan. While completing the SnapScan checkout process, instead of choosing a delivery address, shoppers will be prompted to select a Pargo collection point that is most convenient to them....

  • LexNove is almost like Tinder for legal services

    The founders of new South African attorney-to-client match-making platform LexNove have been involved in a couple of online legal-oriented ventures in the past few years. But it was only after quitting their day jobs that the two former attorneys, Kyle Torrington and Andrew Taylor, launched LexNove to focus all their energy on shaking up legal services to SMEs. Likened to a blend of Uber and matchmaking app Tinder -- but for legal services -- the Johannesburg-based startup was launched in June this year and aims to provide fixed prices and high-quality legal services to SMEs. After submitting a description of your legal problem (issue) on LexNove, you’ll receive a...

  • 7 things you need to know about pitching to South African angel investors

    Many youngsters rock up at my door asking for money to chase their dreams. Some of the ideas are great, but the pitch is amateurish. If you can’t execute your pitch, most investors will assume you can’t execute, period. Here are some tips. These are not Silicon Valley tips. These are tips for pitching to South African angel investors. 1. Dress neat Don’t be late. Have manners. Bring a gift (read Cialdini on reciprocation). 2. Start with summary Very few ideas are original. Make it easy for the angel to quickly decide whether it is original and worth concentrating, or whether he should...

  • Ecommerce startup Mergims named Rwanda’s top startup

    A mobile application that connects migrants to merchants, called Mergims, was selected as the best startup in Rwanda by Seedstars World. Seedstars World is a global pitching competition which invites and celebrates startups from emerging markets. So far in Africa, South Africa's mobile job-finding platform Giraffe and transport industry app MyQ in Nigeria have been selected to pitch on the international stage. The Rwanda event, was held in Kigali at the klab incubator. Mergims was selected out of a pool of 10 startups which were invited to compete in the country's iteration of the global pitching competition. The startups pitched in...