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Entrepreneurship

  • 7 Things you should know before forming a startup

    As you sat watching the fireworks explode in the night air, bringing yet another year to an end, you may have quietly committed to a resolution that this was finally going to be the year that you take the plunge and start your own business. Naturally, you’re a bit of a geek, so it will most likely be in the tech sphere. The idea has been brewing in the back of your mind for years and, for some unknown reason, the time finally seems right to take those unguided steps and break away from the security of your 9-5 job....

  • Regulation, education and ‘high impact entrepreneurs': Q&A with Anthony Farr

    Entrepreneurship cannot thrive if it is not given the right environment to do so. That’s according Anthony Farr, CEO of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation -- a non-profit organisation that looks to assist young entrepreneurs through learning programmes and educational scholarships. "Entrepreneurship is a skill that can be learned, and is not entirely dependent on natural ability or talent,” he says, “However of equal importance to the skill of the entrepreneur is ensuring an environment that encourages and rewards high-impact entrepreneurial leadership and is tolerant of mistakes and failures”. Memeburn caught with Farr and spoke to him about regulation, creating...

  • Too many VCs, not enough good entrepreneurs: Sean Parker

    Billionaire internet investor Sean Parker took the stage in Paris at LeWeb with a simple message for his audience: There are "too many venture capitalists in the world and not enough entrepreneurs". Parker has a CV that would blow the mind of most people. He was co-founder of that great music industry disrupter Napster, and more recently an investor in Facebook and Spotify, among many other things. But don't call Parker an "investor", he finds the term a bit insulting. He still sees himself primarily as an entrepreneur: "I don't just invest in a company, I take an operating role."...

  • The next Facebook, Google, Twitter to come from Latin America?

    Fernando Madeira is the co-founder and CEO of Terra, the largest internet company in Latin America. He boasts that the "next Twitter, Google, Facebook" will come from this part of the emerging market world. "We are seeing huge activity in Latin America," he says. "In Latin America we have a special sauce in the people... we love electronics and electronic chips." The stats, presented at the LeWeb conference in Paris, back up what Madeira is saying. There are 90-million broadband connections alone in Brazil. Almost 220-million people use the internet there every month, says Madeira. Penetration of social networks in Latin...

  • The next Silicon Valleys? How French, UK govts stimulate the startup scene

    Governments are often seen as a nuisance in business, but this is a jaded view. Responsible and engaged governments are able to do amazing things for a country's startup scene. Most countries outside the US want to mirror the success of Silicon Valley, the undisputed king of tech innovation. Nicolas Princen is French President Nicolas Sarkozy's "digital man". He has spoken about the ways the French government is stimulating its local startup scene and "helping startups grow". The internet economy contributes about 6% to French GDP, he estimates, but affects and enhances more than 80% of the economy. Tax cuts...

  • 12 absolutely incredible lessons for entrepreneurs from Bill Gross [LeWeb]

    It's rare that you see a talk that resonates so deeply and makes complete, fundamental sense. You have the realisation that experience, genius and truth is in the same room as you and you are having those "aha" moments every minute -- and it's exhilarating. Bill Gross is an entrepreneurial genius. He runs a company called Idealab, started in 1996. He founded the company to create and build successful businesses that capitalise on innovations in areas with growth opportunities. Naturally the internet is a key focus for the company. Idealab has been busy: It has started about 100 companies, had...

  • 10 great insights from London’s tech hub

    I was recently in London for the Tech City UK Entrepreneurs Festival, as part of Britain's Global Entrepreneurship Week with over 300 tech entrepreneurs from around the globe. The experience was educational, to say the least, and gave me some insight into what any initiative aimed at developing entrepreneurship in the tech sector should be doing. Throughout the course of the week long conference, it became evident that emerging market initiatives like Silicon Cape in South Africa and the iHub in Kenya are definitely on the right track. There were, however, a number of guidelines I took away...

  • Why your startup’s product offering should look like a McDonald’s menu

    While some might question the logic behind Alan Knott Craig Junior's purchase of MXit, one can only stand up and applaud the astuteness of his first actions as the instant messaging giant's new Owner, CEO and all round Big Cheese! His first steps were simple, focus on what MXit's core product offering is and make sure it is the best at it. I liken this to the experience when you walk into McDonald's where, despite years of success around the globe, Ray Kroc's original idea for the McDonald's product offering that "you'll get the best hamburger you ever...

  • Steve Jobs would never succeed in today’s Silicon Valley

    I recently watched a documentary on Steve Jobs called "One Last Thing". It was well done, mixing a fair bit of the good, the bad, and the ugly about the life of the man. There was also a lot of praise for the "marketing genius" of Steve Jobs. Then it struck me: If Steve Jobs were starting out today in Silicon Valley, he would have trouble getting funding because he's a "marketeer" -- not an engineer. Venture capitalists(VC) generally won't fund startups without a tech lead. For example, Mark Suster, a popular VC blogger, writes on his blog "Both Sides of the...

  • Start-up co-founders: 10 tips for choosing your significant other

    They say that starting a business with a partner is like a marriage. What they don't tell you is that if your marriage does really well it's like having a few hundred kids too. When things go wrong they can go really wrong, so here are ten tips for picking the right startup co-founder. Do not marry Lorena Bobbit The first and probably most obvious part of the selection process is to try avoid starting a tech company with a psychopath or someone who acts rashly and against the best interests of the people around them. You will...

  • Financial investors vs business owners: Every startup’s ‘offside’ relationship

    My cry goes out not to add to the orchestra of outrage as referees seemingly miss foul play in our favourite sports, but to voice my support for another cause, the "Business Owner" and "Financial Investor" relationship, where too many "offside" decisions are not blown. Any business owner, unless their family has one of those black American Express credit cards or they have, like Scrooge McDuck, managed to save their life earnings, would have had a relationship with a Financial Investor in some form. Call them Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists, Financial Institutions or my Silent Partner, I refer to...

  • Pitching perfection to investors: A 10-step guide

    Enthusiastic entrepreneurs looking to raise funding must realise that a great business case alone is definitely not enough to guarantee a favorable outcome. Not preparing adequately for a presentation to an angel investor or a venture capital fund is a sure-fire way of guaranteeing failure. The power of a strong, well polished pitch to funders cannot be underestimated and it warrants considerable time and effort to make sure that you hit the mark first off. Here are some tips on what funders might expect from entrepreneurs hoping to make a good impression. 1. Perfect your micro pitch This is your 90-second introduction,...

  • 4 steps to ‘acquirability’ in an age of tech optimism

    In the midst of a financial crisis earlier this year, news circulated that Apple held more cash than the US government. Analysts took what they wanted from the situation, but one thing is clear: Technology is driving wealth creation despite uncertainty in many sectors. Some have called it the Second Gilded age of massive wealth creation -- the original Gilded Age being the Roaring Twenties in the railroad era. Startup geeks and entrepreneurs are keen to take advantage, but so are investors. In his book, Richistan, the Wall Street Journal’s Robert Frank profiles the world’s new moneyed rich and...

  • Down and out in Silicon Valley: The dark side of easy VC access

    The Valley is the tech centre of the Universe and you're unlucky if you're not based there. That's what popular culture will have you believe. The image of Mark Zuckerberg waltzing into Case Equity in his night gown and slippers and telling Mitchell Manningham that Sean Parker says F You is what pop culture will have you believe a tech founder on his way to business success must look like. There are many businesses like oil drilling and bio-tech that need a large initial investment or they simply aren't feasible. Software businesses are not one of them. A small group...

  • Don’t mind the gap: Silicon Cape to learn from London

    London, one of the world’s financial hubs, is undergoing a process of bolstering its image as a city working towards the best interests of tech companies and startups. This is according to the Lord Mayor of London Michael Bear, who was in Cape Town on a short trip to help foster relations between the UK and South Africa. As part of his itinerary, he took part in a round table discussion with members of the Silicon Cape initiative and some of the city's up and coming entrepreneurs. The Lord Mayor noted that there is no reason...