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    Share the Failure

    FuckUp Night, Pt. 2

    Thursday, 9th of March we had the 2nd ever FuckUp Night in Cape Town, and my goodness, what a night. First off, we had 4 Entrepreneurs this time, not just the usual 3 and they were as diverse as they were entertaining! But before we get there, first some housekeeping.

    First up, the venue, Canterbury Club on Canterbury Street did a fine job in keeping the attendees, speakers and production team well lubricated with a beautiful array of Mexican inspired “Minty Mojitos & Tequila Sunrise” on the night at the more than reasonable cost of R45 each! And they were damn tasty folks! [see pic] 

    Mojitos by Canterbury Club

    Refreshments keeping our Entrepreneurs fueled on the night.

    Doors opened at 17h45 and everyone had an  hour to grab a drink, meet some new people and settle in to a good seat for the night. Our MC’s for the night, were none other than CTO Chiefs (that’s members), brothers Ollie & James Boyers of Chartall Business College. For those of you who don’t know, here’s a brief snapshot of what they do…

    Chartall Business College provides accredited online learning to individual and corporate clients in South Africa. 

    First up, we had the very accomplished Founder of Thope Foundation, Rethabile Mashale Sonibare to deliver what was an insightful look into the complicated world of growing an NPO in South Africa. The complexities of skills required are not dissimilar to those required in running any other business, from managing finances to finding the right people to help you drive the mission forward. 

    Thope FoundationThope came close to running on empty, when Rethabile took the brave and somewhat radical decision in 2016 to change the business model to pursue what many might consider a more sustainable business model that actually looks to create and maintain a revenue stream, outside of what donors and benefactors bring to the table. This shift, has seen a successful bid to financing their own school, that will remain focused on providing STEM education to young girls in Khayelitsha. To keep up with their progress, on the school and how you might be able to get involved, follow www.thopefoundation.org 

    Our second speaker for the night, Mr Kean Graham Founder and CEO of Monetize More shared the tale of a most extraordinary challenge in 2013. One morning, he opened up his laptop to find that Google has not only banned  one their top clients, but were also withholding more than $2m in revenue! It was a long and painful path that lay ahead for the Monetize More team, but they managed to come out stronger, with more robust security features and screening processes and despite the tremendous cash flow problems, retained all their staff! 

    keangraham

     

    His parting words to the audience….simple.

     

     

     

    After a 10 minute interval, so we could refresh our drinks and run to the loo, the 3rd speaker of the night was up, Thorsten Rauser! His story was a simple one, albeit and expensive one. In an attempt to immolate the great game shows of the day, he came up with a revolutionary online game where a small entry fee could see you take the pot of winnings at the end of the game. He sought the advice of some pretty experienced folks and despite their advice to NOT do this, Raus pushed ahead and created the game. 

    Thorsten Rauser

    He raised a whopping R20m in venture capital funding and off he went. However, a few months in….the dreaded reality set in, the advice he was given by the experts, were in fact, right. Raus went from a Jaguar driving multi-millionaire to having to hand the keys of his beloved steed back in a matter of weeks! The fall was hard, but like all fuckups, the learning invaluable.

    Today, Raus is heading up his new startup, The Binary Family, and with a formidable team they create beautiful mobile application and brain teasing games that keep millions of people entertained! 

    Our final speaker of the night, Justin R.Melville is somewhat of a legend when it comes to startup failures, being the only one of our line up that’s actually referenced by a US University as an example of a spectacular failure. But there is a fine, fine line between one who simply fails and the mavericks of our startup landscape who truly innovate and create the next “big thing”. There are too many great lessons to reference here, sadly you should have been at FuckUp Night to hear them for yourself, but I will leave you with the one pearl of wisdom he left the audience with.

    When things start falling apart, reach out and share it with the world. You never know who might be out there, ready to lend a hand or a few dollars.

    Oh and this peach…the 3 ingredients needed to make your startup a success. 

    justin

     

    Today, Justin is the Founder and CEO of Ekaya.com a property mobile application that connects people looking to rent their dream home, to those who own them. 

    Ekaya.com

    The tool that won a thousand apartments

    The next FuckUp Night will take place on Wednesday, 19 April and you’ll be a fool to miss it. Make sure you follow our social media feeds, from Twitter to Instagram and Facebook – all @fuckupnightscpt for updates, news and ticket releases. 

    If you’d like to get in touch with any of our speakers, please drop me a line & I’ll put you in touch.

    Cheers,

    Lizelle & the FuckUp Night Cape Town team. 

    #ShareTheFailure 

     

    March 13, 2017
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    Coworking Africa, a growing community.

    coworking-Africa-Conference-2015-970X180

    Coworking Africa

    On the 5th of February we had the 2nd meetup of Coworking Africa at the Design Bank, in the East City of Cape Town. Organised by the Coworking Europe crew, this was very much a spur of the moment event as a follow on from the very first gathering in 2015.

    Like the first #CWAfrica conference, the content was rich and the contributors all evangelical about the growth of the coworking movement on African soil. What’s clear is that we [operators / owners] are all passionate about the people we’re creating these amazing spaces for; the freelancers, the entrepreneurs, the lone rangers out on a mission to start his/her own business and desperate to get out of “coffee shop working” and into a community of like minds. We understand how crucial enabling this environment is to the bigger picture, i.e. the growth of our economy and that any part we can play in helping the start-ups and small businesses can only be a great thing for the South African and greater African economy.

    For example, we heard at the meet up that there’s so much good news around the growth of Fintech in Cape Town, be it the vast amount of talent Cape Town has to offer the Tech (global) scene, that could rival any San Francisco, London and Silicon Valley today. And the influx of investment that leads to the creation of more Hubs and Incubators that in turn feeds beautifully into coworking spaces. It’s all very good news!

    Now for the part that’s not so good… YET! A clear message from the unconference part of the day was that more needs to be done to assist those who live outside of our cities, in townships and informal settlements to help become part of our coworking communities. It’s not enough to offer discounted or even free space to these entrepreneurs and freelancers. Paying for a desk is only one part of the problem, what about the nearly R2,000 per month to travel in and out of town on top, not to mention lunch!

    We don’t have the answers to these complex social issues, not by a long shot, but participating in platforms like Coworking Africa brings us a little closer to finding those sustainable solutions. I look forward to the continued discussion around this subject and welcome you – yes you reading this – to put forward any ideas on how we can make this a reality.

    A big thanks to Vanessa and Coworking Africa for putting the day together with the help of Steven from The Design Bank and all the lovely people I met on the day! To catch the presentations and an overview by the organisors, read up about it here, http://coworkingafrica.com/2016/02/15/a-look-back-at-the-second-coworking-africa-2016-meetup/

    Keep an eye out for the next meetup & hope to see you there!

    Lizelle

     

    February 15, 2016
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    These major coworking events will take place in 2015

    Coworking-Africa-Conference-2015-970X180

    Almost 300,000 people have worked in nearly 6000 coworking spaces worldwide by the end of this year. The coworking movement acquires maturity, expanding with bigger spaces and more locations, an higher diversity of business models, and exploring more niches. This development will be also reflected in more coworking events next year. Asia’s first coworking unconference will be held in Bali.

    The Global Coworking Unconference Conference is going to California. However, it won’t take place only once, but three times, by popping up in Australia and Canada as well. And Africa will get its first dedicated conference on coworking, in Cape Town. It’s time to mark your fresh calendar with the upcoming major events on coworking in 2015!

    Click on the link to get the full list –> http://www.deskmag.com/en/these-major-coworking-conferences-events-barcamps-will-take-place-in-2015

    Via http://www.deskmag.com/

    deskmag

    March 09, 2015
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    Why you need a mentor.

    LaraMorgan

     

    By Lara Morgan

    Lara is Chairman of Company Shortcuts and a member of The Supper Club

    Launching a new business requires such a broad range of skills that it can be extremely daunting for a novice entrepreneur to face alone. Asking for help isn’t always the easiest thing to do in business, but could tapping into the expertise of someone who has already been there and done it be a shortcut to success?

    I was fortunate to be able to call upon numerous mentors over the 17 year period that I ran my first business, and each of them offered different areas of expertise that helped me to navigate the challenges of managing a business going through fast growth.

    Learning to deal with people was one of the first pieces of the management puzzle I identified, so I set about finding a mentor who was an expert in recruitment. Happily, the gentleman I found not only offered me great advice on dealing with people, but he was also a lawyer, the owner of a larger company, a major supplier of mine, and most importantly someone who I liked, respected and could trust.

    I started the company aged just 23, so to be honest I knew very little about some of the more technical aspects of business. I asked my accountancy firm to mentor me through learning accounting, and I would have lunches and buy dinners for individuals that had professional expertise I could tap into, perhaps in social media, branding, digital marketing or almost any other area of business learning. The key is really not being afraid or too proud to ask other people for their help and advice – you will usually find they are flattered you have asked them.

    A mentor can be an invaluable resource for you and your business, and here are the five things I believe a mentor can give you that you will struggle to get anywhere else:

    1. Help identifying and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses

    2. A network of contacts that would take years to build for yourself

    3. An alternative perspective on problems and challenges

    4. Honest, constructive criticism – it is not a mentor’s job to just agree with whatever you do

    5. Coaching to help you develop the skills that you are lacking

    When it comes to mentoring, I have found that my time and skills are much better suited to public speaking. This has allowed me to share enterprise stories around my successes in export, the experiences I have in both failed and successful business exit and my opinion on the other areas of company development that I have a strong passion about, with a much wider audience. In a public speech I can reach a number of people in a short period, and get an understanding of the challenges the whole audience may be facing.

    With that in mind, it doesn’t mean that I am not delighted to be asked for advice by entrepreneurs. I feel humbled to think people may want my one-to-one advice, but I hope that by sharing my story and the lessons I have learned on a larger scale will help more entrepreneurs all over Britain take the right shortcuts to success.

    Lara Morgan is Chairman of Company Shortcuts – a consultancy dedicated to excellence in sales and leadership. Lara combines her own fast-growth experience with a passion for unlocking the growth potential of established businesses to help organisations whose ambition has stalled. 

    Lara Morgan is on Twitter @IamLaraMorgan

     

    January 13, 2015
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    Thank you!

    Well here we are team, the nearly nearly end of 2014 and pheweeee what a ride it’s been! I wanted to take a minute and thank all of you who helped make this year a very special one in the life of CTO. Too many to mention by name, and I’m sure you’ll forgive me for not running off a list of names like the shiny people do at the Oscar’s.

    So, please accept this token of thanks for me for your contribution, love and support.

    A quick recap of 2014

    We started the year in our old 3rd floor offices with a full compliment of monkeys all beavering away in a very hot and rather stuffy office. It was challenging to say the least, with no airconditioning to help us cope in the heat of Cape Town summer. But we soldiered on with fans, ice buckets and spritzer bottles galore along with the endless supply of ice cold Cafe Gelado’s from Vida downstairs.

    Then came the news… we’d found an investor and we were E X P A N D I N G. Exciting and scary all at the same time it was clear that we needed to make this move as we’d outgrown our space and demand was growing by the day. We then went about scouting for a new home and found the ideal spot, same building, just one floor down – twice the size with windows and views. What more could we want. The rest of the story moved pretty fast with the appointment of LEVR creations as our design team, the work began.

    Work took about 3 months from start to finish, which is pretty good considering most of the hard stuff  had to happen after hours due to the noise restriction in the building. It’s one of those things you don’t realise when  you’re not in the “trade” I guess, but a pretty big consideration no less. The LEVR team were impeccable in their management of the project and the delivery and I couldn’t be happier in the space we’re in today.

    On swealtering days, 29C + we’re cool as cucumbers inside because of their very clever design. I’ve waxed lyrical about their work in previous blogs so won’t go on too much here. Check out the pics here –> http://www.capetownoffice.com/gallery/

    September we had 16 people working from Cape Town Office and I’m proud as punch to say that we’ve more than doubled that already. There are of course still a handful of places left from January, but it’s filling up…fast!

    Looking at 2015

    #CTO3: Very exciting year ahead for CTO with the development of our 3rd space underway already that will have bigger workstations and optional private offices for 2-4 people. We can’t wait to get cracking on this when the builders return from their holidays. For now everyone has downed tools and gone on holiday, a well deserved holiday to say the least.

    #CoWorkingAfrica:  I’ve spent the past few months colluding with Global Enterprise, organizers of the annual CoWorking Europe conference. 2014 saw the 5th successful European #coworking conference take place in Lisbon attended by 320 delegates from 40 different countries. The growth and continued interest in the phenomenon we call #coworking has, as we all know, spilled over into Africa. We felt that the time had come for Africa to celebrate the community of #coworking spaces and what better African city to host this event than Cape Town?!!

    After many skype calls to Belgium we finally arrived at the date of July 23-24 2015 and proud to say that the conference will be held right here in our building at East City Studios. The website for the conference is still under construction, so I will keep you updated via Twitter @capetownoffice on that and other goings on.

    I’m looking forward to the next six months and hope to see you all sooner rather than later!

    Happy Holidays - CTO

    December 19, 2014
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    Seeking investment? The Supper Club Angels’ Tips to a Winning Pitch

    The Supper Club is the UK’s leading membership club exclusively for fast growth entrepreneurs of mid-sized businesses, encouraging business leaders to inspire, support and challenge each other in the pursuit of business growth. http://www.thesupperclub.com/

    By The Supper Club (UK) 

    Are you seeking investment?

    Raising money for SMEs and start-ups is not an easy job and one of the many challenges that entrepreneurs face. Angel investors can be a valuable option and source of funding, support and expertise.

    Our Investment Club runs twice a year, offering you the opportunity to raise investment via our panel of vetted and experienced entrepreneurs. With a combined turnover of around £150M our Supper Club Angels can offer expertise in a variety of sectors such as; technology, gaming, property, logistics and business services.

    In such a competitive environment, having the right information is your best tool. Here are our Supper Club Angels’ top tips on working up a winning pitch:

    Investors often look to invest in the people ahead of the business. Be confident, speak in plain English and ensure you come across as polished. Make sure you explain who your team is and why they are the right people to drive success.

    The scalability of your venture is what will appeal to investors so aim for an exciting but realistic outlook. Emphasise existing revenues and customers if you have them as these will give investors a lot of confidence. Be clear on the risks and how you will address them.

    State what your own personal investment in the venture has been or will be. Investors will not put money in if you haven’t put in some of your own cash and time. Investors will place a premium on you if you work in your venture full-time as this demonstrates your commitment.

    Keep your business plan short, around 2-3 pages, be concise, focus on what the reader needs to know and remove any fluff. The plan should explain clearly how you deliver value to your customers and extract value from them along with a realistic financial projection.

    Get to grips with the finances! Whoever you are pitching to will want to see that you have a very tight plan, know every future figure and know when you’ll see return etc. Avoid a hockey stick plan that relies on sudden massive growth – it won’t be believable.

    Investing in a business is never going to be something an Angel takes on lightly. Of course your pitch needs to reflect you and your business, but the recipe to success is based on your power to inspire confidence, reliability, passion, ability and integrity.

    Follow The Supper Club on Twitter for more great tips on growing your business @TheSupperClubUK

    October 06, 2014