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Entrepreneurship

  • 9 Events every tech startup should add to its diary

    South Africa's tech scene is on the rise and tech entrepreneurs from the country are finding their way to Silicon Valley with products worthy of the world's attention. Some of these entrepreneurs are now mentors and have a wealth of knowledge that they're willing to share with their fellow countrymen. Two of the most common themes among startup mentors, coaches and founders whose companies got acquired, are to learn continually and to increase the quality of your network. You can do both at industry relevant events, so I took a moment to find out which South African tech events...

  • Y Combinator: Investors should back the jockey not the horse

    Y Combinator, a leading seed investment incubator, recently announced that it would be accepting startup applications for this years fund from startup founders WITHOUT an idea. Here's how the incubator describes itself on its website: Y Combinator does seed funding for startups. Seed funding is the earliest stage of venture funding. It pays your expenses while you're getting started. Some companies may need no more than seed funding. Others will go through several rounds. There is no right answer. How much funding you need depends on the kind of company you start. It appears that the technology investment market arrived...

  • Attention entrepreneurs, diarise this: LaunchCapeTown

    If you’re an entrepreneur looking to network, polish your elevator pitch, hone your product or simply learn from big names in the tech industry, diarise LaunchCapeTown, the five day event that starts on 23 March in Cape Town, South Africa and brings together startups, entrepreneurs, and digital tastemakers. The event includes the Cape Town Entrepreneurial Competition (CTEC), as well as startup-related speakers, get-togethers, mentoring sessions and keynotes from big name speakers such as Nimeshh Patel, COO of AOL Europe. Attendees will be able to mix with "trailblazers", media representatives, as well as digital creatives from the interactive industry. The competition...

  • Emerging market fund launched for digital media innovation

    A well-known New York-based fund that focuses on emerging market media has launched an early-stage fund for entrepreneurs developing digital news and information businesses. The fund, called Digital News Ventures, has been launched by the Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF). The MDLF, which operates out of Prague, has invested more than $113-million in 79 independent news companies in 27 countries, mainly emerging markets, since 1995. It backs up all of its debt and equity investments with strategic advice and business assistance. Digital News Ventures will provide early-stage equity finance from $30 000 to $300 000 to entrepreneurs whose ideas...

  • The hows and the whats — 5 tough questions VCs ask

    Over the past six months I have spoken with a wide variety of people who have shown, in varying degrees, interest in investing in my company. Many of these VCs have specific ways that they conduct a call, interview or meeting. Many of them have lead me down long and wasteful due diligence processes, many have been kind, some have been blunt and harsh but all have been pedantic and specific about the types of questions they ask. I have found that, on the whole, the questions are standard and the steps straight-forward but there are always the tough questions...

  • 5 Tips for taking your tech startup from big idea to business success

    Throughout the world, and particularly in emerging market countries, the entrepreneurial landscape remains notoriously difficult to navigate, with an estimated 80% of small businesses failing to sustain themselves for a period of longer than five years. However, with an increasing percentage of jobs now being directly attributable to small business ventures, financial backers in both private and public sectors are slowly starting to acknowledge the substantial impact of entrepreneurial activity on a nation’s economy. Yet, in spite the rising global trend towards venture capitalist backing of tech startups, there remain very few such initiatives present in emerging markets. Can this...

  • AngelHub: Investors come together to foster startup growth

    You may believe tech creates jobs, you may believe it destroys jobs. Whatever the case, we know that in the tech world we are seeing entrepreneurial activity like never before. It’s not surprising that there is so much written about venture capital and startups in the tech world, and that there are so many incubators popping up Enter AngelHub. Launched in September of last year, AngelHub connects early stage investors with capital seekers....

  • 6 Things every startup should watch out for before signing with an investor

    "Yes, we would like to invest". The magic words that any startup owner loves to hear. Your idea is no longer just a seed in the back of your mind; it is about to be watered allowing it to blossom into the reality you always knew it could be. After the celebratory high fives and handshakes followed by the compulsory boozy lunch with your new best ‘investor’ friend, a term sheet or funding agreement arrives to formalise your relationship. The agreement is rather lengthy and contains some legal jargon; defining exactly when is the last day of the month, is important....

  • 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...