11 ways to spot a big-time Silicon Cape startup guy

You can spot a big-time Silicon Cape guy or gal from a mile away. And it just so happens that we here at Ventureburn have seen our fair share of them. Whether it’s the copious amount of skinny lattes, the regular fireside chats at tech conferences or just constantly debating whether or not South Africa’s Cape Town is really the next Silicon Valley, we know who you are.

If you’re new to the South African startup scene, below are a couple of ways you can spot a big-time Silicon Cape startup guy:

1. Write blog posts on how Cape Town is really Silicon Cape, and then also why it isn’t

You know you’re a big-time startup guy once you write long, personalised blogposts on how Cape Town is the world’s next Silicon Valley. You disregard world rankings hailing New York, LA, Boston, Tel Aviv, and London as the top startup cities, because how can they be killing it if you’re building something awesome in Cape Town?

A few conferences down the line, you change your mind after realising you know everyone on a first-name basis.

2. Own 16 pairs of blue jeans and a walk-in cupboard, because that’s all you wear with your black jacket of course

Mac Jeans

Image by Chapendra via Flickr

Nothing spells out “millennial child” better than a pair of blue jeans, a black jacket and the latest Macbook air.

3. Tweet about how hard it is to be rich and famous from your house in Camps Bay

Next to your craft beer hashtags and Instagrams of weekend trips to Europe, you tweet about how the economy is making it really tough to launch your ground-breaking algorithm from the tip of Africa. #StartupLife

4. Your favourite board game is ‘Settlers of Catan’, even though you have no time to play it, ever

When the internet gets a bit too much, Settlers of Catan is what you play in your free time. You continue to buy the expansion packs every few months, even though you haven’t sat around a table with friends without laptops in the last two years.

5. Invest in a craft beer startup. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the beer is, your cred will go up immediately

Craft Beer

Image by traveljunction via Flickr

Craft beer is the disruptor in the beer market, which has been an SABmiller monopoly for decades. Being a tech disruptor naturally lends itself to being a beer disruptor too, so you’ve gotta own some of it. Alongside some of your out-of-the-box tech investments, having a finger in the craft beer pie isn’t bad for your reputation. Especially, since you can now sponsor local startup events with your tasty beverages.

6. Move your office to Woodstock and buy a Foosball table

You know things are serious when you set up shop in the ever-so gentrifying area that is Cape Town’s Woodstock. Buy an old textile mill, throw in some Foosball tables, a couple of beanbags and paint murals on the walls where there aren’t exposed red bricks.

Read more: Engineering serendipity: 6 of our favourite co-working spaces in Cape Town


Image by Wade Rockett via Flickr

7. Appear on conference panels for a year, where you’ll give the same talk on how to make it

The oh-so-popular “10 things I’ve learned from building a successful tech startup” Slideshare makes you a monthly favourite at annual conferences. People scribble down every piece of sage advice picked up through your personal journey as a startup master.

At the end of the day, your masters degree in computer science and fruitful family networks aren’t really that relevant.

Read more: From design to craft beer, this app maps out Cape Town’s creative industry

8. Attend every startup event even if it has nothing to do with you or your industry

It doesn’t matter whether your startup is in agriculture, payments or health, you attend startup events every week. Networking with people from outside your industry makes for good conversation, especially since you come off smart when nobody really knows what the hell you’re talking about.

9. Buy a moderately-sized African island with Bitcoin

You’ve been a proud, early adopter of the digital currency, and have been saving up on Bitcoin since 2008, and you have made tons of money from its wild growth. But that was until the currency’s wild fluctuation then encouraged you to rather spend it all on an island off the coast of East Africa.

Island laptop

Image by Giorgio Montersino via Flickr

After laying down fibre and buying some beanbags, the plan is to make the island Africa’s next startup hub.

10. Share your life story with Ventureburn, in an article titled ‘This is why I won’t do another startup’

You’ve been there, bought the t-shirt, and now it’s time to tell the world how demotivated you are about the local startup scene and how unfun startups are, and that others should not do one… oh hell, do one… because learning from your failures is what it’s all about after all.

Read more: This is why I won’t run another startup

11. Blow what is left of your payout money on a 3D printing startup, then start all over again

But of course, you decide to give it another go. In the spirit of WIRED’s editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, you pump all your money into a 3D printing startup because it’s really the next big thing. Too early? Nah…!

Additional sources: How to be big-time Silicon Valley guy

Feature image by Tech Cocktail via Flickr

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter


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