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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • 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...

  • Is SA startup Nona Creative really first to conclude equity transaction in Bitcoin?

    Cape Town digital consultancy and product development firm Nona Creative has conducted an equity deal entirely in Bitcoin. But is it really the first such deal, as a press release by the company suggests? The startup, which was founded in 2012, announced today that it had bought out a significant shareholder. Nona Creative CEO and co-founder Mike Scott would not name the amount of the deal and the shareholder that the startup bought out, citing "privacy* concerns". He was however able to say that the shareholder the company bought out was one of the co-founders of the startup. Scott added that the company had five co-founders. In earlier press...

  • Inaugural Startupbootcamp Cape Town secures 32 agreements with corporates

    Africa's inaugural Startupbootcamp has helped bridge the gap between corporates and startups, with the initiative's first cohort of 10 startups having secured 32 agreements with large companies, says the programme's managing director Zachariah George. The 32 agreements facilitated by Startupbootcamp Cape Town -- which concluded yesterday with a Demo Day in the city -- include pilots, proof of concepts, experiments and contracts with the programmes sponsors and other corporates, said George (pictured above). "This never happens in Africa, in corporate Africa, it usually takes years, two years to get a startup to even have a meeting," said George speaking at the event, held...

  • SA legaltech startup Libryo to partner with Swiss regtech startup Apiax

    "Switzerland is a perfect destination to work on solving problems that are relevant to a multi-lingual area like Western Europe," says Malcom Gray, the founder of SA legaltech startup Libryo. "With four official languages, a high concentration of global businesses and easy access to Germany, France and Italy, we feel the programme has given us a wonderful stepping stone into new markets," Gray (pictured above, centre) told Ventureburn in an email. The startup -- which is based in the UK but was started by three SA founders -- has just secured a partnership with a Zurich-based regtech startup Apiax. The announcement was made by Swiss tech...

  • Black-owned insurtech startup Fo-Sho to unveil new short-term insurance product

    Accelerator Startbootcamp Cape Town has scored some success, with South African insurtech startup Fo-Sho set to launch this Thursday (30 November) with its short-term insurance offering aimed at lower-income consumers. For the past three months the Johannesburg-based startup, which was founded in June last year, has along with nine other startups been part of Startbootcamp Cape Town's inaugural accelerator programme. The programme concludes with a demo day this Thursday. The startup has been beta testing its product and has so far secured premium commitments in excess of R10-million. In addition the company has already secured a "multi-million rand venture capital investment" from BEE investor and Alpha Vista Systems director Dempsey...

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