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  • Silvertree founder takes aim at Silicon Valley model of building African startups

    African angel investors and accelerators are doing a disservice to entrepreneurs by mimicking the Silicon Valley model of glorifying the pitching of ideas - rather than helping entrepreneurs to better execute on these ideas, charges Silvertree Internet Holdings MD Paul Cook. "Far too often in our view, angels and even more so startup pitching events glorify pitching an idea rather than pitching some way that you are going to take a proven idea and execute in a market that is early stage," Cook said, at a panel discussion held today at the African Angel Investor Summit 2017. The summit is being held at...

  • Company Office

    The Bookmark Awards announces entry submission extension

    The IAB SA announced today that the deadline for submissions to the prestigious Bookmark Awards would be extended from 15 November 2015 to 30 November 2015, providing entrants with a further opportunity to present their work at the country’s premier digital marketing showcase. “We have already received a large amount of entries, but we have also received a number of requests for a deadline extension. We understand that November is much of the industry’s pitch season, so we have decided to give entrants a weekend and let them come back on Monday with fresh minds to create their best...

  • Here are the 20 startups that will pitch at Seedstars Africa Summit Mozambique

    Seedstars World, a global community for tech entrepreneurs in emerging markets, will hold its third annual Seedstars Africa Summit in Mozambique next month between 12 and 14 December. Following a tour of local startup ecosystems across 20 African countries, Seedstars World selected 20 of the most promising startups to pitch at the regional summit in Maputo. The 20 startups were selected during Seedstars World's year-long tour of African startup ecosystems "During 2017 we got to witness growing ecosystems, better startups and more involvement from public and private partners," Seedstars World regional manager for Africa Claudia Makadristo said in a statement. "We are very...

  • Misk Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launch Misk Grand Challenges

    Two philanthropic organisations, The Misk Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, yesterday announced that they have partnered to launch a new initiative, the Misk Grand Challenges. In a press release, the Misk Foundation stated that each of the philanthropic organisations will contribute $5-million towards the initiative. The Misk Grand Challenges will award 100 innovators and thinkers from around the world $100 000 each in seed funding grants to prove their concepts. Misk Grand Challenges winners will each get $100 000 in seed funding grants The initiative, which is aimed at youth, seeks to achieve three objectives. These are namely: empowering...

  • Edtech startup M-Shule selected to represent Kenya at Seedstars summit

    Kenyan edtech platfom M-Shule has been selected as best startup at Seedstars Nairobi and will represent Kenya at the Seedstars Summit set to take place in Switzerland in April next year. At the summit, the startup will get an opportunity to pitch for $1-million in equity funding. In a press release Seedstars World said 11 startups were invited to pitch at the event held last Friday (10 November) at Nailab in Nairobi. M-Shule pitched against 11 other startups to win Seedstars Nairobi A jury consisting of representatives from Jumia, GSMA, Novastar Ventures, Stanbic Bank Kenya and Seedstars World picked the winners. M-Shule was selected for its edtech platform...

  • Funder’s focus on making social impact key in $24m deal says JUMO founder

    South African fintech startup JUMO opted to go to Finnish development finance company Finnfund for debt funding, because the financier is "very ethical" and "focused on making meaningful social impact", says the startup's founder and CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball. JUMO is a Mauritius-headquartered financial services platform that provides mobile financial services in emerging markets. Last week the startup announced that it had secured $24-million in funding in a loan facility arranged by Gemcorp Capital, a London based investment management firm which already has an undisclosed equity stake in the startup. Finnfund participated in the round with $6-million. The funding is to support Jumo’s expansion in Africa and...

  • Last day to apply to 2018 Merck Accelerator for health, biotech startups

    Early-stage startups that develop health and life-science solutions have until midnight today (Central European Time) to apply to join the global 2018 Merck Accelerator programme based in Darmstadt, Germany. The programme's website states that the accelerator is particularly focused around three main fields, namely healthcare, life-sciences and performance materials. In addition, startups working on bio-interfaces, 3D printing, sensors and precision farming will also be considered. Merk Accelerator participants will get up to €50 000 in funding Up to 12 successful applicants will benefit from up to €50 000 in funding in the form of a silent partnership agreement. According to Merck's FAQ page the accelerator will not take an...

  • SME failure rate set to spike unless funding is addressed – LulaLend survey

    The South African SME sector is set for a major crisis unless access to adequate business funding can be ensured as a matter of urgency claims Lulalend CEO Trevor Gosling, following a survey the online lender held with 100 small businesses. Over 90% of the respondents to the survey, titled the Key Funding Challenges for South African SMEs 2017 report, had less than 10 employees -- just two percent employed more than 20 employees -- while the about half were from the business services, advertising and media, professional services and IT sectors. Lulalend CEO Trevor Gosling believes traditional lenders have lost their appetite for short-term unsecured business lending, leaving...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [13/11/2017]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or catch up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There are loads of competitions, networking sessions and workshops happening around South Africa and the rest of the continent (namely Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana) that we’ve rounded up to make your life a bit easier. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list, or...

  • Alan Knott-Craig Junior’s book – Seven attributes of a hero [Extract]

    Entrepreneurs are society's new heroes. In this third extract from his new book, tech entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig Junior unpacks some of the attributes that make an entrepreneurs a hero. With permission from Knott-Craig — the founder of Project Isizwe and former Mxit head — Ventureburn is serialising parts of the entrepreneur’s new self-published book 13 Rules for Being an Entrepreneur which is now available via his website http://bigalmanack.com. Ventureburn is also giving away five copies of the new book. See below for details. Here’s the third extract — taken from the third chapter titled “Seven attributes of a hero”. See the first extract here and the second one here. 1. Be Hungry Are...

  • Nigerian fashion designer Minku to raise $200 000 in funding with bitcoin

    Nigerian fashion designer Minku has announced that it is seeking to raise $200 000 in bitcoin through a seed round. The round won't be an ICO at all, however, the startup's founder Kunmi Otitoju said. "We are planning a traditional seed round raise, where primarily bitcoin investment will be accepted. In exchange for bitcoin, an investor will receive company shares," Otitoju told Ventureburn yesterday in an email. In an earlier email Minku said the proceeds from the round will be used to develop a follow-up to Minku's first men's clothing collection, which was released in September. The company began as a leather goods maker in 2011. Minku...