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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • Craig Wing’s six tips on launching new projects, dealing with setbacks

    Having founded two startups -- including a visual aid company Focal Point Engineering and cleantech firm Cleantech U -- and led several enterprise projects, serial entrepreneur Craig Wing is no stranger to setbacks. Wing's most recent project, Hackr House -- a Johannesburg "live-in" tech entrepreneur development programme failed to take off in February as scheduled -- and the founder is back at the drawing board, working on the project's next steps. Read more: Why Joburg’s HackR House stands empty a month after intended launch These are moments founders dread -- and perhaps define how good an entrepreneur you are -- when your startup...

  • Why Joburg’s HackR House stands empty a month after intended launch

    It began as an idea to get entrepreneurs to live and work together in one house. Now Johannesburg's HackR House -- which was set to launch last month -- stands empty, while founder Craig Wing ponders what to do next. Wing's idea stemmed from his experience working in Silicon Valley where he ran a cleantech startup and his belief that tech entrepreneurs need round-the clock support -- and that those that live (and work) together will have a higher probability of success. The "live-in" programme aimed to give participants business coaching and mentoring in addition to access to other support services. But after receiving only eight applications for the...

  • Craft brewer Drifter raises R1m in first day of equity crowdfunding campaign [Updated]

    Cape Town-based Drifter Brewing Company has raised over R1-million, hours after its equity crowdfunding campaign went live on equity crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa. The craft brewer is looking to raise R3-million for 12.1875% equity over the next 59 days . At the time of publication Drifter had raised R1 013 000 from nine investors. The company is accepting investments from R1000 and above. In a phone call with Ventureburn, Uprise.Africa marketing officer Inge Prins said the campaign went live last night (27 March) at 7pm. "Their value proposition is clear to customers," Prins said, explaining why the campaign had taken off quickly. Drifter is aiming...

  • SA startup Cape Networks to be acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cape Networks, a software as a service and hardware startup based in Cape Town and San Francisco, is set to be acquired by IT giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for a yet-to-be-disclosed price. In a statement late yesterday (27 March), HPE announced it had a definitive agreement to acquire Cape Networks, which uses Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to monitor and optimise Wi-Fi networks. The acquisition will see Cape Networks merge with Aruba, an HPE subsidiary which specialises in data networking solutions. The acquisition, set to conclude in the next couple of weeks, will see Cape Networks join HPE subsidiary Aruba Cape Networks co-founder David Wilson...

  • Injini winds up African tour a week before application deadline for second cohort

    With just under a week left until applications for Injini's second cohort close, the edtech incubator was expected to yesterday wind up a three-week African tour in Cape Town. The tour saw members of Injini's team hold events in Lagos, Accra, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Abidjan and Kampala. "We wanted to get a sense of the ecosystem around the continent," Injini co-founder Jamie Martin (pictured above, far right at the Lagos event during the tour) said in a phone call yesterday, speaking ahead of the tour's last event held in Cape Town. "There's a feeling on the continent that education is broken and we...

  • 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...

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