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  • BREAKING: Vox buys out SA cloud marketing outfit Everlytic

    One of South Africa's leading telcos, Vox, has just acquired a majority stake in local cloud communications startup, Everlytic. The buyout comes in the wake of impressive growth by Everlytic over the last few years. “The addition of Everlytic completes our portfolio of products and solutions that allow customers to communicate via any delivery channel -- email, fax and SMS. They also add significant intellectual property (IP) in campaign management and success that we are keen to leverage,” says Jacques du Toit, CEO of Vox Telecom in a press release sent to Ventureburn. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • This Google-backed startup from SA is training thousands of coders

    If South Africa is to really become a knowledge economy, it seriously needs to develop the youth's Computer Science skills. That's a no-brainer. But while government and academia have their hands full, creative minds are putting inspiring initiatives in motion to foster the country's next generation of software developers. Hyperion Development is one of these gems. Since it launched in 2012, the Durban-headquartered company has allegedly helped over 8 500 people from six Southern African countries in software development training. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Consistent visibility is key to better ecommerce experiences

    Online shopping is growing fast in South Africa, with recent research reports suggesting over one in five South Africans currently shop online, and between 48 and 70% expect to do so in the near future, with most of the local spend via local sites. PWC expects the value of online retail sales in South Africa to grow from R5.3 billion in 2014 to R9.5 billion by 2018. But as competition grows in the ecommerce arena, e-tailers must confront the issues that put shoppers off. According to the Mastercard 2015 Online Shopping Behaviour Study, security concerns are a major inhibitor...

  • Does my startup need a health and safety guy? Yes. Yes, it does

    When first starting out in business, the temptation can be to run headlong into making your product and your brand as popular as possible and just hoping that the "non-business" issues (such as safety) will iron themselves out. As a result, it is far too often the case that some startups forget about workplace safety altogether. This is surprising when you consider that startups don't tend to have many employees so implementing safety protocols should be easier. However, it is not surprising when you consider that a person's motivation for starting a business is rarely "to make the world's...

  • Meet the SA-born chaps who built a Slack for developers

    Chat rooms used to be popular hangouts for cyber dating, gaming and a whole bunch of things. Today, they’ve undergone a professional makeover. They’ve become billion dollar communication tools catered for the modern workplace, which is fast-paced, knows no borders and encourages collaboration. “It’s weird that you end up taking a conference call at home and do Amazon shopping at work. Tech today enables you to do anything from anywhere,” says Mike Bartlett (pictured top right), one of the founders of a chat collaboration tool, called Gitter. He’s talking to me over Skype from his flat in London. I’m sitting...

  • Want to increase sales in 2016? Here are 5 mCommerce strategies you can’t ignore

    If you are planning to deploy mobile commerce in 2016, there are certain key elements that you will need to get right in order for this solution to work for you. The most important thing is that you must have an m-commerce strategy to guide your mobile commerce deployment. Without that, even the most basic kind of it, you are going to find it extremely difficult to compete in this fast growing ecommerce market segment. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • African tech innovators: Our Uber moment is coming

    We all know that we face some unique challenges in Africa, driven by the lack of access to market and the relatively small skills pool to draw from. If we look at the four types of innovation (thanks to The Innovator's Dilemma for the foundation) they are: True Innovation: creating something new that has not been done before Incremental Innovation: improving something that exists Sector Innovation: taking bits of tech from other sectors to disrupt another sector Market Innovation: figuring out new ways to get to market and scale Read more on Ventureburn.

  • 3 ways China’s slowdown yields opportunities for Africa

    Any economic news out of China makes waves in markets around the world, particularly when it’s bad. Last year’s slowdown prompted furrowed brows across the globe. Reports in December 2015 that the People’s Bank of China was using an aggressive expansionary policy to buffer lethargic growth indicated that China’s problems would persist well into the new year. Because China is a leading investor in African markets, many analysts speculated that the shift would negatively impact the continent. The International Monetary Fund even downgraded sub-Saharan Africa’s growth forecast on the basis of China’s circumstances. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • 6 more lessons I have learnt about raising capital from VCs [Part 2]

    The following is an adapted version of a talk done by Clive Butkow from Grovest at the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Butkow boasts 28 years of management consulting experience at Accenture. Currently non-executive director of Grovest, he is also supporting and mentoring technology businesses, assisting them in driving growth. I want to share with you what I have experienced from sitting on both sides of the table on how you can increase your chances of raising capital for your business. In part one, I discussed the myth of insufficient capital in South...

  • How this Accra-based incubator is nurturing entrepreneurs to build pan-African products

    A few months ago, I wrote a piece on the contrasting views of some African tech stakeholders, including Lagos-based CcHub’s Bosun Tijani, on the usefulness of entrepreneurship training programmes in ensuring the success of startups in the various African markets. While there are some who don’t entirely believe in entrepreneurship training, some institutions and incubators do have various programmes for entrepreneurs. Ghana, Accra-based Meltwater School of Entrepreneurship (MEST) is probably the continent’s most revered institution that equips tech entrepreneurs to compete in the pan-African mobile and to scale globally. With numerous success stories in its company profile page, Neal Hansch,...

  • Here’s why execution is the most important commodity for your startup’s success

    Wikipedia, that wealth of internet answers, defines execution as “the act or mode or result of performance”. It also has the bits about chopping off heads and ending existence but we’ll leave that for journalists to discuss. Execution is a word I’ve grown to appreciate and use more and more frequently. Not the premature cause of death for bad guys, but the satisfaction of getting things done and seeing them finished. It expresses decisiveness and achievement. In the world of startups and young businesses, that’s so much harder than it seems and thus so satisfying when accomplished. Read more on...

  • 7 reasons why customers are abandoning your mobile shopping cart

    Shopping cart abandonment rate has always been a big concern for ecommerce retailers, but the rise of m-commerce has given this crucial metric a whole new dimension. The average shopping cart abandonment rate falls around 68%, but for mobile it is a distressing 97%. Meaning, out of 100 filled carts, only three will turn into sales. More and more people are browsing products on their smartphones, but the stats clearly tell that they are far less inclined to make final purchase on mobile devices. Shopping cart is one of the major reasons why mobile users of certain sites abandon cart...

  • 7 key lessons I’ve learnt about raising capital from VCs [Part 1]

    The following is an adapted version of a talk done by Clive Butkow from Grovest at the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Butkow boasts 28 years of management consulting experience at Accenture. Currently non-executive director of Grovest, he is also supporting and mentoring technology businesses, assisting them in driving growth. I want to share with you what I have experienced from sitting on both sides of the table on how you increase your chances of raising capital for your business. One of the most frequent questions I get as a mentor to entrepreneurs...

  • 7 ways your startup can protect employees in the workspace

    No one used to think twice about heading into work. However, the reality of our world today is that anywhere can be dangerous, including the place where we spend most of our days. Recently, a gunman ran rampant at the Navy Shipyards. There were gunshots near the White House. These acts are horrible demonstrations of violence, and they are happening too frequently. Along with worrying about the mentally ill, your employees could also be harmed as a result of natural disasters or other similar situations. Many people, however, do not believe these types of situations will affect them. As the...

  • Onyeka Akumah on Travelbeta, ecommerce and Nigeria’s tech space [Q&A]

    The first time I heard about Travelbeta by Onyeka Akumah was in July 2015 at the official launch of HouseMax in Lagos. Akumah described the platform as one that would totally transform the travel space in Africa. Few months later, the platform was officially launched and a few week later, it raised US$2-million. I recently caught up with Akumah to speak about the exciting travel company, startups and a range of issues they face in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Read more on Ventureburn.