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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • PIC behind new black-owned insurtech Yalu, set to launch first product in June

    The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) -- which oversees government employees' pensions -- is behind Yalu a new black-owned insurtech founded by two former Old Mutual managers. The Johannesburg-based startup claims it will offer South Africans "more affordable and transparent" credit life insurance when it launches its first product on 1 June. However when contacted by Ventureburn today Yalu CEO Nkazi Sokhulu, who founded the startup last year with Tlalane Ntuli, did not want to disclose the amount that the PIC has invested in the startup. He did however confirm that the PIC have invested in the startup. While both he and Ntuli have worked for Old Mutual in the past and...

  • SA entrepreneur ‘thrilled’ to be selected for Collective Global Accelerator

    After successfully completing two rounds of pitching, SA entrepreneur Shaney Vijendranath, co-founder of analytics startup Momsays and parenting blog You, Baby and I says she is "thrilled" to have been selected to join the 2018 cohort of the Collective Global Accelerator (CGA). “We had to go through two rounds of pitching before we were accepted. I am extremely thrilled to be chosen to represent South Africa globally, most importantly I think represent women in tech from Africa,” said Vijendranath (pictured above) in an email to Ventureburn yesterday (7 May). Vijendranath is one two African entrepreneurs selected for the London-based accelerator which aims to assist social entrepreneurs...

  • Google to invest in startups working in the digital assistant ecosystem

    Google has announced that it is opening a new investment initiative for startups developing solutions in the digital assistant ecosystem, namely the Google Assistant Investments programme. The announcement was made on Wednesday (2 May) in a blog post by Google vice president for corporate development Sanjay Kapoor, and Nick Fox, Google's vice president of product. "We’re welcoming companies across a diverse range of fields, including startups that are developing technologies that broaden the Assistant’s set of features, or are building new hardware devices for digital assistants, or that focus on a particular industry such as travel, games, or hospitality," Kapoor and Fox stated. The...

  • IncubMe: everything you need to know about Algeria’s new incubator

    Algeria has a new incubator, this after Algiers-based IncubMe launched this week on Monday at a conference in the country's capital. IncubMe co-founder and general manager Kamel Oumnia told Ventureburn in an email yesterday (3 May) that the idea behind IncubMe's launch was inspired by the lack of incubators in Algeria -- despite there being great opportunities for doing business in the country. IncubMe plans on incubating between 20 and 30 entrepreneurs per year The multisectoral incubator is looking at selecting between 20 and 30 entrepreneurs or projects per year. "We'll choose the best projects and give the entrepreneurs all the advice and training...

  • ‘$8.6m Series A round well timed as Africa’s Talking was looking at expansion’

    Africa's Talking Series A $8.6-million funding round led by IFC Venture Capital was the startup's first major round of investment and came just as the Nairobi-based software company is looking to expand into more African countries, the company's spokesperson has said. Orange Digital Ventures and Silicon Valley VC firm Social Capital also participated in the $8.6-million funding round. "This round of funding has come as the need for us to accelerate to more African countries became more pressing," Africa's Talking spokesperson Rachael Wambua said in an email. Africa's Talking was founded in 2010 by MIT graduates CEO Samuel Gikandi (pictured above) and Eston Kimani. The...

  • €20m fines could hit African startups that fall foul of new EU data rules

    Tech companies and startups that do business with the EU or EU citizens and fall foul of new data privacy regulation face a maximum fine of up to €20-million or four percent of their annual turnover. The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force on 25 May, aims to protect and empower EU citizens' data privacy and will affect all companies -- including South African and African startups -- that do business with EU citizens. Startups processing personal data of EU citizens -- even if that is being done outside the EU -- will be affected. Included among the provisions of the regulations...

  • How MFS Africa made history for African fintechs with $4.5m Chinese-led deal

    Johannesburg-based company MFS Africa made history earlier this month when it became one of the first African fintechs to secure funding from a Chinese-based venture capital (VC) firm. This, after a China-based VC firm LUN Partners Group led a $4.5-million Series B funding round in which the VC invested $2.5-million in the digital payments company. Dutch impact investor Goodwell Investments also participated in the round, investing $1.5-million, while the remaining amount of $500 000 was contributed by a number of angel investors including Mojit Davar, the former CEO of MoneyGram International. MFS Africa CEO says as Chinese interest in African fintech grows, LUN Partners Group will likely...

  • Impact Dakar launches its first early-stage incubation programme Incuberation

    A month after its official launch, Senegalese entrepreneur hub Impact Dakar has launched its first incubation programme for early-stage startups, Incuberation. The incubation programme -- which is run in collaboration with international strategy consulting firm Dalberg, and is funded by entrepreneurship platform Suguba -- kicked-off earlier this month and will run until December. Suguba co-founder and MD Fayelle Ouane told Ventureburn in an email that the platform had invested €60 000 into the incubation programme in addition to the €100 000 it plans on investing in Impact Dakar this year. Impact Dakar's inaugural cohort includes four women who were selected from an applicant pool of 60...

  • Test product, gauge demand before seeking funding says SkillsRus founder

    It is crucial to first test products and gauge the demand for them before seeking funding from potential investors, says Kgotso Kobo CEO and founder of graduate placement portal SkillsRus. "If the market responds positively to it, then it will be easier for you to acquire funding and clients," Kobo says. The two-year-old startup is aiming to tackle a problem that President Cyril Ramaphosa last month described as South Africa's "greatest and most pressing" challenge. Kobo's advice has served his startup well. Early last year, the startup secured an undisclosed investment from Cape Town-based angel investment firm Snowolf, in return for 29% equity. The Johannesburg-based company...

  • Will fashiontech make Africa more competitive in the global fashion sector?

    What are you wearing today? Odds are your clothes were not designed or made in Africa. According to the African Development Bank Group, sub-Saharan Africa represents just under one percent of global fashion exports. Could the fusion of tech and fashion --fashiontech -- make Africa more competitive in the fashion industry? Mustapha Zaouini, who runs a Johannesburg-based tech startup studio, says the market for fashiontech solutions in Africa is as yet unquantified, but adds that it is growing. He points to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index which forecasts that industry sales are expected to nearly triple between 2016 and 2018, from 1.5% to between 3.5% to 4.5%. Last Monday (16...

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