Where’s the line between inspiration and startup overhype?

Startupbootcamp A piece that my colleague Ali Mese wrote recently went viral instantly. My Facebook timeline became a mish-mash of people -- entrepreneurs or not -- sharing it and applauding his bravery in leaving his corporate job, and leaving comments on how it made them want to drop all they were doing and dive into the deep end of entrepreneurship. You know, the usual viral reaction. But not everyone loved it. Some were critical of how, they claimed, Mese’s story failed to provide ...

Africa, Featured, Startups

What startups may come: a look at Silicon Savannah in Kenya

Kenya "How would you like to pay?", a cashier at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport asks me. "M-Pesa or cash?" she continues as I try to gather my thoughts. And then it hits me -- this is Kenya, where mobile payment works and is everywhere. This is Africa's hub of innovation. The technology ecosystem here works and unlike Nigeria, the fragments are better held together. So I have decided to spend some time getting to know the ecosystem and the startups and ...

Startup news

Uber is bringing its enterprise-like offering to Africa, meet Uber for Business

Uber for business Uber is shaking things up with its latest offering Uber for Business. The enterprise space is hotly contested right now and everyone's favourite private driver is digging in for its share. According to the service, it wants to assist businesses with very mobile employees. How? By assisting business travelers to "move with ease and get where they need to go". The new enterprise offering was launched earlier this year in parts of North America and Europe. Uber says that ...

Africa, Startup news

Microsoft awards 7 more African startups with Innovation Grants

microsoft 4afrika alt Microsoft 4Afrika has announced the second round of startups that will have access to the tech giant's Innovation's Grant, the latest in a series of initiatives we've seen this year as it looks to fast-track African innovation. The grant will help each startup achieve their unique needs whether that be skills, funds or networking. Fernando de Sousa, General Manager of Africa Initiatives at Microsoft notes how critical it is to support Africa's future industry leaders: “The world is looking for the ...


Dragons’ Den SA episode 2: the dragons come into their own

Dragons Den SA 2 By anyone's standards, the first episode of Dragons' Den South Africa was something of a mixed bag. Outside of the random assemblage of people calling themselves entrepreneurs and pitching ideas they'd thought up during the week (these are the same people who believe they can win Idols based on their solo shower performances), there were a couple of promising ideas, one that was "too polished" and a single actual investment. The second episode delivered more, not least because the dragons -- ...


Quitting my corporate job to follow my startup dream worked out, but not in the way you think

Golden Hamster I was inspired to write this after reading an article by Ali Mese, where he discusses how quitting his job in order to chase his startup dream stuffed up his life. I found myself in a similar position not too long ago, and I want to share my story with those of you who may be contemplating doing the same thing. The startup journey begins In 2011 I was working for one of the top engineering companies in South Africa, a job ...

Africa, Startup news

Zimbabwean Wi-Fi startup SaiSai wins SWELL Innovation Award

SaiSai Wi-Fi distribution startup Saisai has been announced as winner of the SWELL Innovation Award at DEMO Africa. SaiSai will receive an all-expense paid trip to Silicon Valley as part of the SWELL Innovation Tour, which includes the exclusive participation in SWELL’s intensive soft landing programme in California. The Zimbabwean company provides a bandwidth redistribution wireless mesh network consisting of free access wireless hotspots in public areas, including public transportation. SaiSai explains that many companies have large periods of time when their internet capacity ...

Ecommerce, Entrepreneurship

What I’ve learnt from the trenches of startup ecommerce in London

London I’ve spent almost two weeks writing this. At first it was too personal, then it became too anecdotal, so I’ve settled on a list of things which I think are concrete lessons I can impart, and which are easily digestible. Hope you find it useful! Ecommerce is hard The startup world is largely populated by tech people. Or led by tech people. I think that ecommerce went through a phase where technology was a barrier to entry, but that phase is over ...

Competition, Startup news

Student admin startup Gradesmatch wins Ventureburn Startup Battle

Startup Battle 2 From B2B recycling through to travel agents and elearning, last week's Social Media Week Johannesburg saw five exciting tech startups go head-to-head for a chance to be crowned the ultimate winner of Ventureburn's Startup Battle. While competition was extremely tough, student administrative startup Gradesmatch was eventually dubbed the winner and walked away with R25 000 sponsored by Ford Motors SA. Apart from the cash prize, the winning company was also awarded a mentoring session with Sage Pastel Managing Director Steven Cohen, as well ...

Startup news

Sage SA acquires talent connection portal SkillsMap

Sage Skillsmap Software and services company Sage South Africa has acquired SkillsMap, an online platform that connects employers in South Africa and the rest of the continent with potential candidates. According to Sage, the cloud-based, end-to-end recruitment solution was acquired in order to broaden its payroll and HR offering. In line with this, the product has been rebranded Sage SkillsMap and will eventually integrate to both Sage VIP and Sage Pastel’s Payroll & HR systems. In addition, the company says, Sage SkillsMap ...