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  • InstaLens: How SA’s Instagram acolyte is capturing global success

    Instagram is well known for its dedicated communities. Especially in cities such as Cape Town where designers, both local and tourists, take advantage of the popular photography app. From Saturday brunches at The Old Biscuit Mill to sundowners in the Winelands, you'll find the hashtags #CapeTown or #CT constantly trending locally, especially at dusk. Not only have these communities inspired amateur smartphone photographers to become popular online influencers, they've enabled companies like InstaLens to launch into international markets by selling its sleek, universal smartphone camera lenses to smartphone photographers around the globe. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Dentsu Aegis’ John Brown buyout shows how the digital agency model is changing

    Global advertising mega-conglomerate Dentsu Aegis has acquired content marketing specialist John Brown Media for an undisclosed sum of money. John Brown Media was established in 1987 and has 225 staff throughout its London headquarters and offices in South Africa, Hong Kong and Dubai. While the agency initially made its name producing magazines for a number of high profile retail clients, it has made solid advances in the digital space, where it offers digital publishing, content management, website strategy, SEO, SEM and digital media buying services. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • 4 ways aspiring millennial entrepreneurs can break down barriers

    The entrepreneurial leap looks a lot different for today’s young professionals. While most baby boomers don’t see entrepreneurship as a way to make a quick buck, millennials have watched their peers -- people like Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel -- do just that. They make it seem like every code-slinging 20-something has millions of dollars at his fingertips. That could be why more than half of all millennials recently surveyed in the US said they wanted to become entrepreneurs. Despite that desire, however, the number of private business owners under age 30 is the lowest it has been in 24...

  • Is South Africa ready for its Instacart moment?

    Getting home after a long day, you put your keys and bag down, kick your feet up, get comfortable and ease into you couch. Welcome home. Turn on the TV and last night's channel is still on, an amazing cooking show. "F**k, I forgot to pick up supper on the way home!" Behold the hero of this story: Instacart. Simply go onto your smartphone, log onto the website, enter your area, do your online shopping -- and within the hour, your supper will be waiting for you at your door. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Ventureburn speaks to entrepreneurial maestro Adii Pienaar on Receiptful’s $500k Angel round

    South African serial entrepreneur and investor Adii Pienaar's new startup called Receiptful is making some noise. The co-founder of the popular website theme builder, WooThemes -- which is also behind one of the world's biggest online shop builders, WooCommerce -- has developed an elegantly simple tool that helps online shops increase customer engagement using email receipts. Since launching late last year, over 290 000 receipts have been sent which translates to around 5 000 receipts per day. To top that off, the startup has just revealed to us that it's raised US$500 000 (over R6-million) to help it strengthen its...

  • 4 tips startups can take from the traditional blueprint of disruption

    Saul Alinsky published a somewhat controversial book back in 1971, called Rules for Radicals. It details the structure and organisation employed in revolutions. A lot has changed since then, but with buzzwords like disruption shaping our economic landscape more than ever before, crucial lessons can still be drawn from Alinsky's theory of radicals and applied to a startup perspective. As in our economic environment, the tech startup space is made up of two main groups: the haves and the have-nots. The haves are the companies that have attained an above average level of financial success. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • The thin line between catchy and ridiculous startup names

    The tight competition in the startup market requires taking a strategic approach to every aspect of branding, including the choice of a company name. While this may seem as one of the easiest decisions entrepreneurs need to make, a number of examples prove the opposite. Consider the case of Qriously -- a mobile ad network that aims to create more meaningful experience for both advertisers and publishers. Its name seems to be a result of an (unfortunate) compromise on a domain name, at least according to what CEO Phillip Lauria noted for Adweek: Read more on Ventureburn.

  • StudySearch connects African students with quality universities abroad

    Even though there is no official data on the number of Africans that are travelling abroad annually for postgraduate studies, it's expected to be high considering the increasing local interest in foreign education and the general belief that the quality of Africa’s education system is not as high as in Europe or North America -- even some parts of Asia. One of the biggest obstacles there is for those keen to study abroad is not only having access to the relevant information. It's about getting actual admission and eventually moving from Africa to the school’s hostel that's complicated and stressful....

  • Can online boutique startup &Threads follow-up on YDE’s success?

    In 1995, Paul Simon (age 21) started the very popular Young Designers Emporium (YDE). The retail store for fashion designers soon grew to 13 stores across South Africa. Ten years later, he sold his company to Truworths International for an undisclosed sum of green, and with that, became one of the country's most inspiring entrepreneurial success stories. Since Simon made his exit, the serial entrepreneur has been involved in various projects, from setting up a kids play park, driving those yellow fan helmets during South Africa's Soccer World Cup in 2010 and launching a new ice tea brand called Uber...

  • 6 marketing hacks all entrepreneurs should have in their pockets

    Marketing -- and more to the point -- digital marketing budgets still frighten a lot of people. Especially entrepreneurs who are grappling with how to translate from their personal brand through to a business brand. Here are six digital marketing hacks that I find exceptionally useful when trying to understand where to focus my attention when planning digital marketing campaigns. 1. Blog – And Then Blog Some More Content has become the lifeblood of any marketing campaign! Without truly great content you can have the best SEO team in the world tweaking the structure of your site until the cows come home...

  • Why you need to start taking customer support seriously

    My first job was in product development. Our team consisted of 120 odd people spread out over the third floor of our building. The support team was an equally big bunch situated on the fourth floor and to be honest, we had a fair amount of disdain for the support team. After all, we were the visionaries. We were the humans doing new things, creating code, changing the world (in our eyes). They? They were just fixing little things here and there, tending to customers, doing things we could easily do but weren’t because we didn’t have to. Read more...

  • Art of the Deal: 6 steps to closing that next investment

    The world is ablaze with high-growth startups that are making headlines and raising millions. With the world economy in the state that it is, governments and private sector role players all know that global growth will need to be driven by young companies that find new ways of solving problems through innovation and technology. Private investors have also caught on, with the amount of angel and venture investors that are snapping up high potential companies increasing. Locally, heavyweights like Michael Jordaan and Vinny Lingham are paving the way and peaking interest in investment in successful local startups.

  • Stitch Video: unlocking Africa’s growing video ad industry

    Having been responsible for launching one of the first video ad exchanges, Adapt.tv, which was then later acquired by AOL for over US$400-million, Chris Smith has a strong background in video products and solutions. Today, with South African-born Henk Van Niekerk from AOL and serial entrepreneur Vinny Lingham on board as advisors, the startup founder is looking to Africa's growing video market as the next big thing. Ventureburn sat down with Smith from Stitch Video to talk about how an American came to set up a startup at the very tip of Africa.

  • Tips from a successful Ghanian exit: Q&A with Saya Mobile founder Robert Lamptey

    Last year, the Ghana-based developer of mobile messaging apps for feature phones, Saya Mobile, was acquired by Kirusa from the States. Founded in 2011, Saya has received wide exposure for its instant messaging app called Street Chat. The platform includes social network integration, location-based and group chat across multiple phone platforms including J2ME, Android and iOS. With a focus on over 30 high-growth markets in from Southeast Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa, Saya has become super popular by being responsible for cheap mobile messaging to people who do not have smartphones in emerging economies. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Do startup founders make great CEOs?

    Calling yourself a CEO is easy. All it takes is getting a stack of business cards made, and slapping your name and the CEO title on them. There is, however, a journey that a founder has to take to become a CEO. So to ask the question “Do founders make great CEOs?” is perhaps uninformed because, for a startup founder to become a good CEO, he needs to actually learn how to get there. There’s an excellent post by venture capitalist, Ben Horowitz that highlights the importance of teaching founders to be CEOs. Because really, being a CEO is an...