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  • LaunchLab picks up BioTech company AzarGen

    Go to most startup incubators and accelerators around South Africa and you'll see a fair few good businesses, but chances are few of them are actively pushing the bounds of science. It's pretty exciting then when you see someone doing something a little different. One such startup, AzarGen, has just joined the LaunchLab in Stellenbosch and it looks pretty damn cool. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, AzarGen is a biotechnology company focused on developing human therapeutic proteins using advanced genetic engineering and synthetic biology techniques in plants. Started by four PhD students at Stellenbosch University’s Institute...

  • Company Office

    How to find a strong mentor to guide you to business success

    Why every entrepreneur needs multiple mentors… While the challenges of being an entrepreneur have been well-documented, reports often fail to describe the feelings of self-doubt, loneliness and isolation that tend to plague aspiring entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. No amount of angel funding, slick technology or strategic business consulting can really assuage the feelings of doubt that accompany starting a brave new enterprise. Yet this is where strong mentorship can play a critical role – and in fact can prove to be far more valuable than landing an investment deal or angel fund backing. Mentors can keep tired...

  • #Brexit: Berlin to shoot past London as Euro startup capital?

    Britain's plans to leave the European Union (EU) will be good news for Germany's startup scene, a major German venture capital provider said. According to Christoph Gerlinger, CEO of Berlin Startups Group, Brexit will see London lagging further behind Berlin. "The Brexit is good news for the German startup scene. Only since 2015 was Berlin able to surpass London, the previously dominant hub of Europe, in the number of and overall volume of financial transactions from startups," Gerlinger explained in a statement. "This development will now accelerate and the distance between Berlin vs. London will increase. We expect a significant decrease in new...

  • The importance of digital finance for financial inclusion in South Africa

    The Banking Association of South Africa defines Financial Inclusion as a development that improves the “range, quality and availability of financial services and products focusing on the unserved, under-served and financially excluded. Principles of financial inclusion include: access, affordability, appropriateness, usage, quality, consumer financial education, innovation and diversification, and simplicity.” According to Bank SETA, 53% of the country’s adult population is unbanked. The reasons vary, including the fear of exploitation, an inability to access physical bank buildings, strict FICA requirements and the steep fees. But factors like the lack of trust in the traditional banking sector, concerns about safety and...

  • This conference wants to connect South Africa’s JAVA coders

    If JAVA is your game, you might want to check this one out. Set to take place on 21 and 22 July in Johannesburg, The I Code Java 2016 Conference is a bid to train and connect Java developers to each other and open up new opportunities in the tech industry. Now in its second year, the conference cites JAVA's popularity as a coding language -- close to 90% of Fortune 500 companies use it -- as a major reason for its existence. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the conference is a mix of practical applications...

  • $100m fund launched for impact startups in Africa, Latin America, and Asia

    Capria, a global business accelerator for impact fund managers, on Thursday announced the launch of a US$100-million fund targeting early-stage impact businesses across Africa, Latin America, and Asia. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn the fund plans to invest in at least 15 impact funds over the next five years, significantly expanding Capria Network’s global reach. By 2025, Capria says it hopes to unlock over US$500-million in local and global capital to invest in businesses that will "cumulatively serve more than 5 million low-income people across diverse emerging economies". The fund, which is meant to address the fact...

  • All you need is coffee: innovation in 72 hours

    Innovation isn’t a strategy; it’s a series of orchestrated tactics that solve defined problems, casting aside the status quo in favor of invention and improvement. The magic lies in finding the right idea to take forward. We’ve tried several approaches at my company, but the most effective is the one we use now. We call it “Innovation Sprinting.” What is innovation sprinting? We don’t want to waste time. Our objective is to move from a problem statement to a tangible, testable outcome as efficiently as possible, and we’ve aggressively condensed the time frame to help us achieve this outcome. Over a few...

  • This infographic for entrepreneurs is actually great advice for a successful life

    Being an entrepreneur can be a profoundly rewarding experience. For many, it's a chance to break away from a mundane corporate life and do something truly innovative. But it can also be incredibly challenging and, at times, horribly lonely. As rewarding as leaving corporate life behind might seem, it comes with serious risks, and those can weigh pretty heavily on any entrepreneur's mind. Small wonder then that many entrepreneurs suffer from anxiety and depression. But even for those who aren't clinically diagnosed the road to success can seem more like a mountain traverse. But when everything finally does pull together,...

  • Nigeria’s ‘underperforming’ food apps leave many questions

    It's an open secret that food apps are not as popular as ecommerce and payment apps in Nigeria, despite the love for food uniting the people more than music and sports. A few weeks ago, I heard of the ambitious goal of a re-launched app called Bukka. It's pitched as a person-to-person food app that uses seamless connections to link cooks to their clients, connecting users to all available chefs in their neighbourhood and giving them access to a large variety of cuisine. They likened the way the app functions to the way Uber connects riders with drivers. They're so confident of the new app's success that they claim it would...

  • 5 factors that differentiate fintech in Africa

    Fintech in Africa, as elsewhere in the world, is big business. Investment is flooding into startups providing innovative ways of offering financial services. Startups in the fintech space took on almost 30 per cent of the total funding raised by African tech businesses in 2015. Globally, growth in the sector is huge, with US$19.1 billion invested globally last year, a 106 per cent jump from 2014. But the fintech space in Africa is different to that in developed economies, with a whole raft of opportunities presented by unique factors that are not found elsewhere in the world, says Wim van der...

  • Software startups: here’s how you can succeed before you start

    Starting a business based on a software product is no easy task. If you're an entrepreneur with all the passion for the business aspects of your new endeavour and the promise of the millions in profit driving you on, don’t be deterred by the mammoth task that is software development - one of the most important elements of your venture. Almost daily, our team is asked by individuals with grand ideas (ridiculous, novel or brilliant) on how to get started with a software-based business. Not one to pass up an opportunity to uplift the development community (and tech-related start-ups) we’ve...