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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • SBC Africa calls for last applications to Cape Town accelerator

    Ahead of tomorrow's deadline for applications to its Cape Town accelerator, Startupbootcamp Africa (SBC) managing director Philip Kiracofe has called on startups to apply to the three-month programme. "The deadline is midnight on Thursday, please apply, it takes 15 minutes to apply," said Kiracofe, speaking yesterday (22 May) on the sidelines of Startupbootcamp (SBC) Africa's final pitching event before tomorrow's deadline for applications. The event -- the Cape Town FastTrack -- was held at Old Mutual's offices in Pinelands, Cape Town. Kiracofe said the FastTrack tour -- which included 19 events in 15 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa -- had been "amazing". "First of all we did...

  • Five SA biotech companies to watch in 2018 [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. Starting a biotech business, like any other startup, is not an easy undertaking. If anything, biotech entrepreneurs appear to face more difficult odds. For example, setting up a simple lab alone can cost more than R5-million. However, despite these barriers to entry, there are a number of SA companies that are doing well, with some even securing customers around the world. Below...

  • Don’t assume every market in Africa is the same cautions Zoona co-founder

    Entrepreneurs looking to grow their business in Africa should not assume that the market in every country on the continent is the same. So, says Brett Magrath, the co-founder and chief product officer of domestic money transfer service Zoona. "Everyone will tell you that no market in Africa is the same, and as entrepreneurs we don’t always listen to what everyone says, and you think you can kind of take on the world," said Magrath (pictured above), while speaking at a MEST Entrepreneur Soapbox Session last week (18 May) at the MEST Incubator, In response to a question that the incubator's community manager Victoria Jackson...

  • ‘Visa Everywhere Initiative opened us up to local innovation’ [Sponsored]

    Access to local innovation -- this has been a key driver of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), where the global payments processor has spent the last three years working with fintech companies to develop cutting-edge products. Says Visa sub-Sahara Africa senior director for digital solutions Geraldine Mitchley (pictured above): "The highlight of the programme, the great thing is it has opened us up to local innovation". The programme was first launched in the US in 2015, and then rolled out to Europe, Asia, Middle East and North Africa as well as Latin America last year. This year it is running in sub-Saharan Africa...

  • China Africa Tech Initiative events aimed at building investor awareness

    A year-old initiative which aims to introduce Chinese investors to African tech startups is currently focused on building awareness by running a series of events in China. The China Africa Tech Initiative (CAT-I) was founded last year by James Da Costa and Stephany Zoo -- who is the marketing head of Kenyan fintech BitPesa and Africa director at She Loves Tech. "Currently we're focused on community building and generating awareness through a series of events in China," Zoo (pictured above) told Ventureburn this week. Tomorrow (19 May) the initiative will host its inaugural China Africa Stories: A New Chapter in Youth Engagement in Beijing, she said. The China Africa Tech Initiative...

  • Joburg incubator is still in operation says Standard Bank official

    Standard Bank head of enterprise development Mfanufikile Motha today said the bank has re-configured its Johannesburg-based incubator to align it with the bank's broader entrepreneur development initiatives. Motha was responding to a Ventureburn query on whether the bank's Rosebank incubator is still active, this after former head Jayshree Naidoo left the incubator in December last year. "The incubator is still active and productive, we just changed the configuration to have sector focus. We now do in-class and practical incubation programmes and it forms part of the wider entrepreneur development capability in the bank," Motha said yesterday (16 May). Standard Bank's Rosebank business incubator was...

  • You won’t be able to draw dollars – crypto exchange Golix tells Zim customers

    Five days since the Zimbabwe central bank issued a circular prohibiting banks from processing transactions linked to cryptocurrencies, crypto exchange Golix today informed Zimbabwean customers that they would not be able to use the exchange to draw currency like US dollars or Euros. In a blog post addressed to its customers today, Golix said "unless the central bank changes its position prior to the expiry of the 60-day window, you will not be able to send or receive fiat currencies for cryptocurrency trades". It follows the launch last month by the Harare-based exchange launched of the country's first Bitcoin ATM. As of Q4 2017, the...

  • Kenya’s Selina Wamucii to use $100k grant to add 2000 farmers, enter Europe

    Kenyan agritech platform Selina Wamucii plans to use a $100 000 grant it received from a Dubai-based innovation and partnership programme to improve its mobile platform, recruit 2000 more farmers and to enter European markets, says its communication officer. The Nairobi-based B2B sourcing platform -- founded in 2015 by Karuiki Gaita and CEO John Oroko (pictured above) -- made the announcement of the grant it received from Dubai-based Expo Live's Innovation Impact Grant Programme yesterday. Expo Live aims to accelerate and promote life-improving innovations and provides grant recipients with business guidance and promotion, and a chance to showcase their work at Expo 2020 Dubai. In an email...

  • Duo behind R1.5m Silulo Business Incubator to launch new centre in Joburg

    Two Cape Town entrepreneurs behind the recently launched R1.5-million Mitchells Plain-based Silulo Business Incubator -- brothers Luvuyo Rani and Lonwabo Rani -- plan to launch another incubation centre in Johannesburg in the next few weeks. Silulo Business Incubator founder and director Luvuyo Rani (pictured above) told Ventureburn today (15 May) that the incubator will take over a building owned by the Kingston college in Vosloorus and says the revamp of the building is expected to cost over R1-million. The launch of the incubator is planned for July. The current Silulo Business Incubator, located at Watergate Centre in Mitchell's Plain, was launched last month and is set to host...

  • Sirtch fills SA’s online classifieds niche with local language listings

    Sbu Khoza, the founder and CEO of classifieds platform Sirtch saw a gap in the classifieds market that he believes none of his competitors are filling: providing listings in local languages. "I realised that none of the current major classified players had gone the extra mile of catering for everyone’s preferred language of choice," says Khoza (pictured above). His platform currently offers users the option of Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa, and isiZulu, with more languages to be added soon. He believes the ability to choose languages -- in a country with 12 official languages -- enables Sirtch's users to connect with the platfrom...