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Sponsor interview with Sacha Poignonnec of Africa Internet Holding

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Sacha Poignonnec is the co-CEO of Africa Internet Holding (AIH); he speaks to us about AIH, his take on StartupBus Africa, and gives our buspreneurs some advice.

  1. Who are you?
    I’m the co-CEO of Africa Internet Holding (AIH), the leading African internet group which is already in over ten countries, which includes market leading ventures such as Jumia.com, Kaymu.com, Hellofood.com, Easytaxi.com, Lamudi.com, Carmido.com and Jovago.com. It is led by top talented founders, offering a great mix of local and international talents, and is backed by Millicom and Rocket Internet.
  2. What is your take on the StartupBus Africa project?
    I think this is an amazing project which should also be organized in other African countries; in particular, but not only, Nigeria.
  3. Is there any advice that you have for the buspreneurs as they prepare to board the bus?
    Every idea (or at least 99% of them!) is good. The challenge is not to have a good idea; it’s to execute it very well so as to create an amazing customer experience. Launching a website is not the most difficult part, the most difficult part is to acquire real customers and deliver a service/experience which will make them reuse the service. Never lose this along the thinking and launch process!

Sponsor interview with Jochen Baumeister of Jochen Baumeister Consulting

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Jochen Baumeister is the founder of Jochen Baumeister Consulting. Baumeister supports others in the development and implementation of business ideas and new products hence, his involvement with StartupBus Africa as sponsor of one of our buspreneurs – Antony Wainaina.

  1. Who are you?
    I am the founder of Jochen Baumeister Consulting. The company’s focus is the setup of new services within mobile phones and on the internet. My basis for start-ups goes back to my work within futurology for Mercedes Benz in 2000; an experience that brought out a lot of creativity. From 2001 to 2005, I established Mobile Ticketing in public transport in Germany with my second company. Since 2006, I support others in the development and implementation of business ideas and new products.
  2. What is your take on the StartupBus Africa project?
    I like the concept of StartupBus and believe that connecting entrepreneurs within Africa can speed up the already high level of innovations taking place in some African countries. I hope that the number of areas where African countries are leading the market, for example Kenya in mobile payment, will continue growing.
  3. Is there any advice that you have for the buspreneurs as they prepare to board the bus?
    Don’t forget your pillow! Timing of ideas is important; consider that you might be too early! Forget the venture capitalists at this early stage, they bet that 1 out of 10 companies will be successful but you may be prepared for one bet only.

StartupBus Africa partners with Raspberry Pi

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Raspberry Pi makes its product available to StartupBus Africa’s buspreneurs
At StartupBus Africa, we are an amalgamation of talented individuals; one thing is for sure, I am not the tech savvy one yet I was handed the task of decoding Raspberry Pi so that I can tell you all about their partnership with us – StartupBus Africa.
For starters, the Raspberry Pi is, and I quote from their website “http://www.raspberrypi.org/”, “a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard”. The Raspberry Pi is capable of doing many things that your desktop PC does and it also plays high-definition video. The Raspberry Pi team would like this little miracle piece of hardware to make programming something that young folks and curious minds all over the world can easily learn.
Now, the Raspberry Pi story is fascinating and inspiring; as one would imagine if such an incredible product is the outcome. In a nutshell, it is the story of 4 men who noticed a decline in previous knowledge of students of informatics and computer science on the various basics which enabled creative minds such as Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Nolan Bushnell, Bill Gates and many more to create machines, games and software that have revolutionised industries. One of the problems they identified was a lack of access to a computer that kids could use to practice programming and such! How they went from that realisation to creating the Raspberry Pi is more or less mind-blowing. Please read their detailed story because I only have so much space and I still need to tell you about how Raspberry Pi is making StartupBus Africa even more awesome!
So, both Raspberry Pi and StartupBus Africa have visibility and interaction as two of their main goals. Raspberry Pi wants their device to find its way into the hands of every curious person so that these people can experiment, build, and create. They want as many use cases as possible and to especially see lots of photo and video material that is inspiring and shows the potential of one of, in the words of StartupBus Africa co-organizer Christian Oechtering, “The coolest open source hardware hacking devices”. And, as StartupBus Africa, we provide an abundance of creative people who will no doubt take the Raspberry Pi and do more then just experiment, build, and create; they will do everything to build a sustainable ecosystem of tech savvy restless minds for ideas and start-ups to grow on.
So, in the end, this partnership is about the cross pollination of two interactive, innovative concepts that can inspire and empower people to use and encounter their talents. And we are exceedingly grateful to Raspberry Pi for coming on board as a StartupBus Africa sponsor…
See some use cases of what you could do with the Raspberry Pi (It’s awesome!):
http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/desktops/25-fun-things-to-do-with-a-raspberry-pi-50009851/
http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/12/10-raspberry-pi-creations-that-show-how-amazing-the-tiny-pc-can-be/

Friends of StartupBus Africa: Julian Artope

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Julian Artope heads-up the African expansion of Ringier; he speaks to us briefly about his amazing journey, his take on StartupBus Africa, and gives advice to the buspreneurs.

  1. Who are you?
    My name is Julian Artope and I’m currently heading the African expansion of global media enterprise, Ringier. Back in 2006 I was involved in the foundation and growth of studiVZ (Germany’s Facebook, back in the day) which became the largest website in Germany within a year. I then co-founded Shoeboxed.com in the States and afterwards worked for 4 years in London; scaling Moneybookers/Skrill as VP Marketing to 600 employees, 30M users and over 100M GBP revenue. About a year ago, I joined Ringier to drive their African expansion into digital content, classifieds and eCommerce in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. Nowadays, Ringier Africa runs 10 platforms, with +100 employees in these markets.
  2. What is your take on the StartupBus Africa project?
    I think StartupBus Africa is an amazing idea to connect international experience with local entrepreneurship. Africa is full of capable minds and events like this give them a platform to develop and pitch their ideas, pushing true local innovation.
  3. Is there any advice that you have for the buspreneurs as they prepare to board the bus?
    Don’t try to make money, try to build something iconic and chase a vision. Money will follow and your integrity is more important than your career in the end. Focus on your day-to-day execution, on attention to detail, on perfecting your product, but also your product language. Be precise and paranoid, never complacent. And from an investor’s perspective, especially in Africa: Don’t sell yourself under value, but don’t expect a million-dollar valuation for a concept. We unfortunately have seen some entrepreneurs with great ideas in sub-Saharan Africa who treated a seed investment like an exit and in the end had to close down shop because they were looking for personal gains more than what would make sense for their company.

Sponsor interview with Miriam Rupp, CEO and founder of Mashup Communications

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Miriam Rupp is the CEO and founder of Mashup Communications, StartupBus Africa’s official PR partner. She speaks to us about who she is, what she thinks about StartupBus Africa, and gives some good advice to our buspreneurs!

  1. Who are you?
    I’m CEO and founder of Mashup Communications, a Berlin-based PR agency specialised in digital companies and startups. Our goal is to tell new stories every day and to make sure our clients get the media attention they deserve. We chose to focus on young companies, because their innovations also tell a whole new story about how we engage with people, products, and problems. I regularly commute between Berlin and Cape Town. In my blog www.digital-commute.com I celebrate those two cities as well as the way technology makes this lifestyle and so much more possible.
  2. What is your take on the StartupBus Africa project?
    Despite the geographical differences, I believe that Berlin and Cape Town have a lot in common. South Africa’s thriving entrepreneurial and creative scene reminds me a lot of the vibe in Berlin. When I first heard about StartupBus Africa, I thought: a road trip through one of the most beautiful countries in the world, lots of startups from all sorts of nationalities, a great team of organisers who are based in Germany, South Africa and Zimbabwe? I just have to be a part of it (even though I won’t be on the bus). Because of that first feeling as well as the fact that the StartupBus Africa helps to put African startups on the international map and connects entrepreneurs from all parts of the world, we decided to support this project.
  3. Is there any advice that you have for the buspreneurs as they prepare to board the bus?
    Don’t feed the baboons!

Africa Internet Accelerator sponsors StartupBus Africa

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Africa Internet Accelerator

Africa Internet Accelerator is a new kind of start-up accelerator. We build and operate fast growing e-commerce companies. We believe that successful internet start-up companies are born from making customers’ lives easier through offering quality products, fast delivery, outstanding service, and an easy-to-navigate shopping experience. We owe our success to our winning formula of people. We surround ourselves with great entrepreneurs and young graduates from leading SA and international business schools. Our managing partners launched and managed some of Africa’s and world’s most recognised internet companies such as Groupon.co.zaZando.co.zaTheiconic.com.auZalando.comZalora.comLazada.comLinio.com. Africa Internet Accelerator currently consists of style36.co.za5rooms.com and kinderelo.com.. We partner with one of the world’s largest media company MIH/Naspers, who are also invested in companies such as Tencent, Flipkart, Souq, Markafoni and Allegro among others.

Sponsor interview with Emilian Popa, CEO and founding partner at Africa Internet Accelerator

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Emilian Popa, CEO and founding partner at Africa Internet Accelerator (AIA), speaks to us about AIA and their involvement with StartupBus Africa.

  1. Who are you?
    Africa Internet Accelerator is a new kind of start-up accelerator. We build and operate fast growing e-commerce companies. We believe that successful internet start-up companies are born from making customers’ lives easier through offering quality products, fast delivery, outstanding service, and an easy-to-navigate shopping experience. We owe our success to our winning formula of people. We surround ourselves with great entrepreneurs and young graduates from leading South African and international business schools. Our managing partners launched and managed some of Africa’s and the world’s most recognised internet companies such as Groupon.co.za, Zando.co.za, Theiconic.com.au, Zalando.com, Zalora.com, Lazada.com, Linio.com. Africa Internet Accelerator currently consists of style36.co.za, 5rooms.com and kinderelo.com.
  2. How did you get involved with the StartupBus Africa project?
    Fabian, StartupBus Africa co-founder, a couple of months ago sent me a “Emilian, please add me to your Linkedin network”. I do the same when I recruit people, and it works!
  3. Why did you choose to get involved with StartupBus, in general, and with the African version, in particular?
    Because I love the initiative and we, AIA, believe in entrepreneurship in everything we do. I wish I had the same opportunity when I started my entrepreneurial career. Africa is the first cradle of humanity, the current cradle of opportunity and, together with Asia and Latin America, it is where “it’s happening”. The difference is that there is not much competition in Africa, thus a much higher chance of success for entrepreneurs.
  4. What would a StartupBus Africa success look like to you?
    Coming with 20 great ideas and mostly mentor them to implementation.
  5. Why, in your opinion, is e-commerce such an important field?
    The future of retail is multi-channel. Consumers have already started to buy from their computers, tablets and phones, get delivery of some of the basket items a few hours after the transaction, and pick up the rest from the store or showrooms. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Much more will come in the next couple of years, devices will evolve towards mobile and portable computing, stores will shrink to make place for front stores and augmented reality. E-commerce is booming.
  6. Do you have a story that you’d like to share with the buspreneurs as they prepare to board the bus?
    Don’t look after elephants and giraffes crossing the street, but focus and nurture your ideas, so at arrival in Cape Town they become implementable winning projects.