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All posts by Jess Green

Jess Green
Jess Green is a serial entrepreneur, previously exiting UbuntuDeal.co.za to Tiger Global LLC through bidorbuy, and now founding Perk, a mobile retail engagement app. Jess loves the tech scene, and serves as Investor Relations on the SiliconCape Exco.
  • Just how badly does your startup need that investment?

    Quora raises millions (both dollars and questions). Facebook buys WhatsApp for billions. Uber gets another trillion in investment and is now "worth" a quintillion. Or a brazillion. Who knows? The news in the entrepreneurial scene, especially in tech, is usually loud and involves big numbers. It is so easy to get swept up in this frenzy that I've seen many a business builder spend more time at events than on making his or her own company something worthwhile. And goodness knows I've been there too. Read more on Ventureburn. var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • 3 ways to go about hiring foreign skills for your SA startup

    Even before I was involved in the tech entrepreneur scene in SA and before I ran an immigration and visa services firm, I noticed during my tech recruitment days that companies simply don't understand how the work visa system in South Africa functions. And because they don't understand it, they are afraid of it. The plain truth is that it's very simple. Either you can hire that foreign skill, or you can't. But if you can, then there is no reason (unless perhaps financially) why you shouldn't. In fact, the most recent visa regulations, which came out in May 2014,...

  • Be wary of being an entrepreneur for too long

    I can't tell you how relieving it was to reorganize 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 even just in 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. Read more on Ventureburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • 3 valuable lessons from a successful startup exit in South Africa

    Long ago in a world far, far away (Cape Town, 2010), I started and ran a group buying website. Yes, I was taken in by the amazing allure of Groupon, the "fastest growing company in the world". Little did I realise growing too fast was not actually a positive. Nevertheless, I was hooked and put together a small team that would launch a site and start selling deals within a month. It took us just over four weeks to put up our first deal, selling 42 spa vouchers. We were elated. UbuntuDeal was live and trading. Read more on Ventureburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var...

  • Here are 3 negotiation tips for a good startup exit deal

    The day has come. You've founded, built and decided to sell your company. It's been your baby for a few years and you're happy to let it go for new challenges, whatever your reasons. Already up for sale and marketed by business brokers, a few buyers have expressed interest. Now this is where it get very interesting. I have sat in meetings selling my own company or project and I have sat in meetings potentially buying or investing in companies. I have also had the privilege of sitting around the table listening to buyers and sellers engaging. Read more on...

  • 3 very important things you need to know about recruiting for a startup in South Africa

    After a heck of a long time spent in recruiting for large corporates, and then spending an almost equally hectic period in startups and smaller companies, I'm amazed at how people hire staff and look for new employees. Why am I amazed? Well, to be sure, in a small company the recruitment of new skills is fundamentally key to success. Get the wrong programmer on board and your entire product line could come crashing down. Hire a bad salesman and you may lose all the clients you have. Even the wrong coffee machine could have dire consequences. Read more on Ventureburn.var...

  • Meet 8 of Russia’s top VC firms

    Being a part of the Russians doesn’t mean you get a free bottle Russki Standard at tech events. Unfortunately. But what it does mean, is that you join a massive group of incredibly talented programmers and hackers and recently business-savvy tech folks, together with a whopping 150-million people all sitting in their warm homes tapping away at their keyboards. The Russian tech scene has exploded in the last five years, with companies like search engine Yandex completing an IPO on the NYSE and startups popping out of the snow like daisies in Namaqualand. A quick word on Yandex -- it...

  • Is online buying via SMS possible?

    For people in emerging markets like South Africa to buy online, they pretty much have to use a bank card of some sort. And while fraud, online security and chargebacks all add to the difficulties that both consumers and merchants experience, there are many companies and startups trying to crack the mobile payments industry. This is simply because many more people are browsing content rich ecommerce websites on their smartphones. But recently someone asked me: why not simply let people buy via SMS? If I wanted to pay for a R100 t-shirt online, I should be able to SMS a...

  • 3 SA ecommerce sites really stepping up to the plate

    Over the last couple of years, South Africa has seen a massive growth in online businesses and ecommerce websites. While the eCommerce Awards are great at recognising the top performers, it is almost impossible for a new website to immediately win an award, due to the first part of the awards requiring a high numbers of votes. Longer established websites such as bidorbuy and Kalahari already have massive databases of customers. With that in mind, I have identified three ecommerce players who are different and have the potential to make a big splash in the space. Read more on Ventureburn....

  • How mobile apps are disrupting retailers: the PriceCheck example

    Did you know that you can now compare prices of goods between supermarkets, while standing in one of them? Imagine, walking through Woolworths, thinking about buying a two litre bottle of cola, but by scanning it’s barcode, you find that it costs R5 less in a Pick ‘n Pay nearby. This is now totally possible, and a bit scary for retailers. A great example of this comes from Price comparison service PriceCheck. The company has launched the latest version of its app, which now allows you to scan bar codes of almost any supermarket product and see comparative prices at...

  • SA’s eCommerce Awards: the real story

    I write often for tech publications and online media, and try my best (and fail hopelessly) to keep up with the billion daily changes in the digital field. That said, I've picked up on a number of conversations with people in the ecommerce arena that ask about the SA eCommerce Awards. So here's the low down, including all the details. First there was Jump Shopping (now uAfrica.com), an online shop itself, which pivoted into the online price comparison space in 2006. Read more on Ventureburn. var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • How a hacker became a shit-hot entrepreneur

    Recently you may have seen massive hype and attention around a bank hacker called Alistair Peterson, mostly unknown, even in some parts of the tech world in which he operates. His blog had a few hundred hits less than a month ago, now it has over 22 000, with over 5 000 newsletter subscribers. If you still haven't heard about him, then read on, this is a fuller account of who he is. A Google search brings little except his own blog and a small LinkedIn account, so the questions begs, who is he really? Read more on Ventureburn. var...

  • Q&A with EasiOnline.com: The latest kid on the online buying block

    A flurry of online buying companies has rushed in on South Africa, some local and some from abroad, and a relatively new kid on the block has launched recently, offering any number of products amidst stiff competition. We spoke to Ardi Coetzee and Kevin Pillay from EasiOnline about their plans and aims in this market. Ventureburn: Perhaps we can start with a little on each of your backgrounds? Kevin Pillay: Prior to Easionline, I've...

  • 3 reasons NOT to start a group buying site

    The group buying industry sprang to life with very little warning. Groupon began a trend and soon everyone wanted a piece of the action. This phenomenon has been popular in emerging market countries such as South Africa where it began with Wicount in 2010. By January 2011, big names like Groupon and Bidorbuy had bought out smaller South African sites like UbuntuDeal and with a very low barrier to entry, the market...

  • Groupon IPO on shaky legs

    One wonders how this happened -- Groupon being called the fastest growing company in history, and then going for an IPO, only to find almost every single blogger and journalist shooting them down. But that is exactly the answer to how it has transpired. The company has grown too fast and is now listing at the wrong time. It is a good and bad day for group buying. Hopefully people will not lose...