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  • Feet on the ground, head in the cloud: the mindset of doing business in Africa

    Barely two years ago, foreign businesses and analysts were hailing Africa as the world’s economic miracle. With economic, political and social reforms sweeping the continent, a burgeoning middle class and growth rates hovering around the 6% mark, people were queuing up for a slice of a US$1-trillion opportunity. Today, that picture might appear less appealing to some. Epidemic challenges have swept various countries, especially in West Africa. Across the continent, instability and conflict are either simmering just below the surface - or worse, bursting out into the open. Between strikes, extremist activities, economic turmoil and political unrest, the African...

  • Company Office

    HealthQ

    HealthQ has been  tasked to assist with the testing and industrialization of a technology called LifeQ. The LifeQ product, worn by the user, will be able to determine the amount of calories and type of food that is being metabolized in real-time. Through constant electronic monitoring, both the energy uptake from food consumption and the energy expenditure of the user from vital functions and exercise will be accurately tracked, without the need for manual data logging and intervention, or the use of inaccurate proxies such as accelerometers or GPS. Being essentially a dashboard with the ability to track processes...

  • TrustPay wants to bridge the disparate islands in the mobile payments space

    The mobile payments space is booming. In Africa, pioneering systems like MPesa are still going strong, while the likes of Snapscan and FlickPay are gaining traction among smartphone owners. Internationally meanwhile, the entrance of Aplle into the space is only likely to accelerate acceptance and innovation. For the most part however, the various apps used remain fairly disparate and, in many cases, limited by national borders. A new play by Cape Town-based company TrustPay is looking to change that. Aimed at emerging markets, TrustPay claims to be able to connect merchants and consumers to one another through the assimilation...

  • Safaricom announces new $1-million venture fund for Kenyan startups

    Kenyan startups seem to be treading on fertile grounds. Kenyan operator, Safaricom, has revealed a US$1-million venture fund aimed at assisting the development of mobile applications in Kenya. The fund has been set up for two years with possibility of extension and will be offered to mobile ICT startups based in Kenya. This will be done through equity investment in their business or in the form of other debt instruments. According to Safaricom, startups will be eligible to receive amounts between US$75 000 and US$250 000. The funds will be administered together with the international tech fund TBL Invest, which was...

  • Disrupting the digital engagement model for competitive advantage

    The following article is written by Andre Hugo who is co-founder and CEO of micro-jobbing service M4JAM. With over 22 years of business startup experience, the article reflects on his experience at M4JAM with Hugo discussing the importance of disruption for digital engagement. Digital disruption is often spoken about, but rarely seen. Companies like Wikipedia, Uber, AirBnB, and eLance are often cited as digital disruptors but very seldom emulated. Yet when you look into the business models of these companies, they all have a common element. They have all partnered with their customers, baking them into the business model as...

  • Community-based Bandwidth Barn incubator comes to Khayelitsha

    Woodstock's Bandwidth Barn by The Cape IT Initiative (CiTi) is one of the most important tech hubs for Cape Town, South African-based entrepreneurs, techies, designers and the like to meet-up, exchange ideas, host events and work on their startups. CiTi has just announced a Proof of Concept of The Barn in the Western Cape township, Khayelitsha, to support the local community's needs. Built on similar infrastructure of its counterpart in the city, The Barn in Khayelitsha will be community-based, which means that it's "solely dependent on the community’s engagement, feedback and support for this concept to succeed," notes head of...

  • Jumia ‘acknowledges success’ after just raising a nice fat $150 million

    Jumia, which launched in only two years ago in Lagos, Nigeria, has just announced a new round of investments amounting to a fat €120 million (about US$150-million). These investments, which were made by existing shareholders, are said to strengthen the company's position as the leading online retailer in Africa. With the additional funding, the company is now valued at €445-million. Backed by the likes of German incubator Rocket Internet and Milicom through Africa Internet Group (formerly Africa Internet Holding) and in partnership with telecom giant MTN, Jumia is now operating in 10 countries including Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Cote...

  • Uber offers on-demand barber service to celebrate Movember’s end

    In the midst of Movember, a few misplaced hairs can mean the difference between a perfect mustache and a gorilla's chin Perhaps that's why on-demand car service Uber is offering a new service that aims to keep chins and upper lips in top shape. Sponsored by EDGE for Men -- a local male grooming service -- Uber users can now request a barber for an on-site, at home snip and shave. To transport your personal barber to your door for free, all you need do is open the app between 10am and 4pm on Thursday 27 November. The razor icon is...

  • US VC firm Founder Collective among Hellopeter’s new owners

    Yesterday, Ventureburn sister site Memeburn reported that Hellopeter founder Peter Cheales had stepped down from his position at the head of the company following a 100% acquisition by a group of entrepreneurs. At the time, the parties involved couldn't give any details around who that group of entrepreneurs was, but it was today revealed that the group buying out the customer service site includes a number of local and internationally-based entrepreneurs. The new shareholders include Founder Collective, a venture capital firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and co-founded by David Frankel, one of South Africa’s tech leaders. As a firm,...

  • Dragons’ Den SA episode 10: cocktails, bog roll and abattoirs

    One of the things that's become abundantly clear as the first season of Dragons' Den SA has progressed is that, unless you've got an incredibly good business idea and some serious numbers to back you up, you won't get far if you're pitching to the wrong people. Now, the dragons have wider array of expertise than most VC panels you'll come up against but, as many of the pitchers in this season have learned, they simply don't have it all. Heck, in this episode, a major deal was very nearly lost because only one of the dragons had the...

  • Be wary of being an entrepreneur for too long

    I can't tell you how relieved I was to reorganise my priorities at the end of 2013 and simply say 'no'. No more entrepreneurship events, no speaking or writing engagement unless I'm paid for it and very, very little time spent on the entrepreneurship scene. In short, I've cut down on so many unnecessary things in just one part of my life, that there is now ample time to pursue those interests I've always had and never had the time to enjoy. Why? Because there's no point being an entrepreneur for very long. Of course there are many different definitions of...