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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • Startups need more than just capital to grow says Seedstars’ Michael Weber

    What's an entrepreneurs biggest need? Most people will probably say it's access to finance. But Seedstars co-founder and global venture builder Michael Weber says what entrepreneurs need most is support, talent and training. Ventureburn caught up with the Seedstars co-founder at the Seedstars regional summit in Maputo, Mozambique last Thursday. In a wide ranging chat on Seedstars' approach to investment, he shared his thoughts on what he's learnt from Seedstars participants. "Money is just one thing to execute the plan, but it’s not how things are going to be made right," he says. He points out that startups that come through the programme are...

  • ‘Joburg 10XE accelerator helped me add 50 employees in nine months’

    Entrepreneur Michael Roberts has been able to grow his software company from 90 to 140 people in just nine months, thanks to the Johannesburg-based accelerator 10XE. "(The accelerator) teaches you to move beyond the typical entrepreneur mindset of working long hours for seven days a week," says Roberts, whose four-year old company Khonology has been on the 18-month programme for the last eight months. He says the accelerator -- which was launched in December last year by founding director of Edge Growth Jason Goldberg-- helped him put more efficient systems in place and impress upon him the need to hire more skilled and competent individuals. The biggest impact 10XE has...

  • Seedstars to expand network of hubs, with Joburg and Dar es Salaam next

    Swiss-based global entrepreneurship platform Seedstars will next year strengthen its focus on sourcing investment deals for startups and to expanding its network of co-working hubs for Seedstars alumni. Seedstars regional manager for Africa, Claudia Makadristo revealed the plans to Ventureburn at the Seedstar’s Africa regional summit which was held in Maputo, Mozambique on Thursday (14 December). Although the platform will continue with the pitching competition -- which Makadristo described as the gatekeeper of everything that happens at Seedstars -- the organisation plans to next year shift its focus to doing more investment deals and adding more Seedspaces. Read more: Seedspace in drive to buy up, partner with...

  • ‘Seedstars not just another pitching competition’ – Africa regional manager

    Seedstars is not just "another pitching competition" for startups, says the Swiss organisation's regional manager for Africa Claudia Makadristo. "We are at the core an investment company, so we have three focuses, to promote, to connect and actually to invest. But the main objective of what Seedstars wants to be and is, it’s an actual investment company," she stressed. Speaking to Ventureburn on the sidelines of the Seedstars Africa regional summit on Thurday (14 December) in Maputo, Mozambique, she said the pitching competition "serves as a vehicle and a platform to scout for these entrepreneurs in a more efficient and fast way". The event, which...

  • A primer on the South African artificial intelligence ecosystem

    Artificial intelligence -- intelligent computer systems capable of learning from data -- was one of the main trends in tech innovation this year. The tech is increasingly becoming ubiquitous across all industries from the automotive industry, fintech, social media, ecommerce to even entertainment. We are living in the age of big data, as increasingly more enterprises invest in AI and machine learning -- a branch of AI which is in its simplest definition is a form of data analysis -- startups are taking notice and disrupting whole industries by employing that tech. With that in mind, here's everything you need to know about the...

  • Innovators must disrupt market serving people with disabilities, says founder

    With December being Disability Awareness Month in South Africa, Ventureburn highlights four South African tech startups serving people with disabilities -- that we should all know about. South Africa has a national disability prevalence rate of 7.5%, says the Department of Social Development. That's the percentage of the population that have some form of visual, physical, aural, intellectual, learning and communication disability. That then is quite a significant percentage of the population that, depending on the extent and severity of their disabilities, face different problems around how they go about life. Many startups are trying to disrupt the business world, but they’re forgetting an entire market...

  • P2P storage-space platform Sxuirrel secures R2.4m in seed funding

    SA startup Sxuirrel has secured R2.4-million in seed funding from an undisclosed investor. The startup -- which is based at Stellenbosch incubator Launchlab where founders Michael John Dipppenaar, Henri Bam and Michael Louis developed a peer-to-peer storage and space solution -- made the announcement yesterday. Dippenaar, who is also CEO, revealed that the deal -- which was signed two weeks ago -- had been over three months in the making, after the startup was approached by the investor that took an interest in the "disruptive effects" of the platform, which the three launched last year. Dippenaar declined to name the investor. The deal will see the...

  • Webber Wentzel launches incubation initiative, Webber Wentzel Ignite

    South African law firm Webber Wentzel has announced the launch of Webber Wentzel Ignite, a legal incubation programme aimed at high-potential startups and scale-ups. The law firm is looking for SA enterprises that have gained some market traction. Applications close on 15 January. In a press release yesterday (7 December) the law firm said the programme will provide support that includes legal services valued at up to R100 000, focused mentoring and support which will aim to arm startups with legal knowledge and skills relevant to startups. A panel of industry experts will consult for the programme and select the successful applicants to the incubator. Project lead Aalia Manie said...

  • Exclusive: Startupbootcamp Cape Town, EasyEquities to crowdfund first cohort

    Startupbootcamp Cape Town has partnered with investment platform EasyEquities to crowdfund the 10 startups that last week graduated from the initiative's inaugural programme. The announcement was made last week Thursday (30 November) by Startupbootcamp Cape Town managing director Zachariah George at the accelerator's Demo Day held at Ratanga Junction Conference Centre in Cape Town. "This has never been done before, on the African continent or at Startupbootcamp anywhere in the world," said George. Potential investors can view more at http://crowdfunding.easyequities.co.za/. The page lists 15 December as the date the investment round will open, however when contacted Purple Group  vice-president for business development Almero Oosthuizen told...

  • Angel investor Patrick de Zeeuw on picking investors and keeping them happy

    Things are going great and some investors have expressed interest in your startup. But how do you as a founder know if an investor is the perfect fit for your business? The first thing to do is to carry out a due diligence exercise on any prospective investor, says Startupbootcamp co-founder, serial entrepreneur and angel investor Patrick de Zeeuw. Ventureburn caught up with De Zeeuw -- the former CEO of Dutch media giant Endemol -- at the Startupbootcamp Cape Town demo day which was held last week at on Thursday (30 November) in the city. He's founded online media and gaming company 3Circles Media and...