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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • FemBioBiz Accelerator to partner with local organisations for second season

    FemBioBiz, a local biosciences accelerator aimed at women entrepreneurs, will partner with organisations in eight African countries in the roll out of its second season. The FemBioBiz programme -- an initiative of the BioFISA flagship initiative, a Nepad and the Finish government partnership -- aims to develop leadership, tech and business skills in female-owned businesses in the SADC region. The initiative also aims to support deal-making and businesses acceleration in biosciences. Applications for this year's programme opened this month and will close on 20 April. A regional final pitch event is set to be held between September and November, with the location and date yet to...

  • SA to ‘highly benefit’ from Wala, Dala, FincomEco, BLCC partnership – Wala COO

    Samer Saab, co-founder and COO of blockchain financial platform Wala, says that South Africa will "highly benefit" from partnerships similar to its collaboration between the company, Dala, Block Commodities Limited (BLCC), and the Financial and Commodities Ecosystem (FinComEco). Announced last week, the strategic partnership will see commodity trader BLCC and FinComEco provide 100-million Dala token loans worth $10-million to 50 000 smallholder farmers -- first in Uganda, followed by Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the Republic of Congo -- to purchase fertiliser. The FinComEco, BLCC collaboration agreement with Wala and Dala aims to provide $10-million in Dala tokens to 50 000...

  • Jozi Angels made 15 investments worth R6m in last 3 years – Abu Cassim

    Over the past three years, angel investor network Jozi Angels has made 15 investments totaling over R6-million says its founder and director Abu Cassim, who believes angel investing is picking up in South Africa. The Johannesburg-based network of 18 angel investors was informally started around 2015 and incorporated in 2017. "We’re coming off a low base," said Cassim (pictured above) in an email, adding that angel investing is still "a relatively new concept" in South Africa, with not many people familiar with what’s required or involved. "But activity is picking up with respect to both interest and number of deals," he added. Jozi...

  • Could this asset management startup be SA’s next ‘quant’ powerhouse?

    A Financial Times article published on Tuesday (20 March) describes interest in quantitative investing (quant investing) -- the use of powerful computers and artificial intelligence (AI) to search markets and big data sets for patterns that can be used by trading algorithms -- as one of the biggest trends in the money management industry. The article states that last year Larry Fink, the CEO of US asset manager BlackRock fired seven under-performing fund managers and moved the money they were managing to a "computer-powered" investment division called Systematic Active Equities (SAE). This division now reportedly outperforms the other more conventional stock...

  • DataProphet secures ‘multi-million dollar’ funding from Knife Capital

    Cape Town-based machine learning startup DataProphet has secured a "multi-million dollar" funding round from venture capital firm Knife Capital. Speaking with Ventureburn, DataProphet co-founder and MD Frans Cronje (pictured above) said the startup had been in discussion with Knife Capital about the deal since the second half of last year. He would not disclose the exact amount of the deal. DataProphet employs machine learning to aid companies in developing products and solutions, with a particular focus on the manufacturing sector. Prior to this deal, the startup, which was founded in 2014 by Cronje and Daniel Schwartzkopff, had previously raised funding from private investment...

  • Developing digital payments solutions? Here are the markets you should focus on

    A recent report by Visa shows net benefits businesses, consumers and authorities would gain if they transitioned from cash-based economies to full digital payments. The Cashless Cities: Realising the benefits of digital payments report -- which was compiled by economics and research firm Roubini ThoughtLab -- is based off data drawn from 3000 consumers and 900 businesses across six cities, which was then extrapolated to 94 cities around the world. Read more: Move to full digital payments could net Joburg over $3bn in benefits a year In all, the study covers 100 cities from 80 countries around the world. An infographic at the bottom of the...

  • Getihu, investment fund for SaaS startups launches with opening of Cape Town hub

    Getihu, an investment fund for early-stage software and data as a service (Saas, DaaS) startups, officially launched in South Africa last night (14 March) with the opening of an innovation hub in Cape Town. Getihu was founded last year by serial entrepreneur Ryan Paterson and chief investment officer Thomas Schmider. Schmider co-founded one of Europe's biggest game developers Infogrames Entertainment in 1983, which went on to acquire US-games developer Atari Inc in 2008. Paterson (pictured below), who is also Getihu's chief entrepreneur officer, told Ventureburn that the fund -- which started off with the founders investing their own money -- invests between $25 000...

  • We’ve hit burst of NOS from Fast and Furious – i-Pay CEO ahead of $5m raise

    With just over two months left in which to raise $5-million in funding, things at Johannesburg fintech i-Pay are picking up, says co-founder and CEO Thomas Pays. "We haven't (had) a quiet period in the past two months," said Pays (pictured above in conversation with Sarah Strauss) at a French Tech event held yesterday at Workshop 17 in Cape Town. "We can work 18-hours straight, there’s still so many requests and enquiries from clients that it does feel like a good scale-up now," he said. Pays describes the overall change in pace in running the business -- dealing with client enquiries and holding meetings -- akin...

  • Visa launches Everywhere Initiative in Africa, here’s how you can get involved

    In a bid to foster regional payments innovation and fintech entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa, global payments company Visa today announced the launch of the Everywhere Initiative on the continent at the DHL Ecommerce Money Africa conference in Cape Town. Visa’s Everywhere Initiative is an innovation programme designed to encourage the emergence of “the next big thing” in digital payments globally. The initiative has since its inception in 2015 awarded over $1-million and mentorship to 36 winners selected from over 130 finalists in over 40 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. In all, more than 2100 startups globally have participated in...

  • 10 South African startups leading innovation in IoT [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. In two years time, experts predict that 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet. This convergence of devices physical objects -- with sensors and software -- and the internet, enabling them to transmit and receive data is known as the internet of things (IoT). With IoT Forum Africa 2018 kicking off this week at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg,...

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