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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • Applications now open for 2018 Westerwelle Young Founders Programme

    The Westerwelle Foundation, a German non-profit which aims to promote entrepreneurship and collaboration among innovators in emerging markets, has opened applications for the 2018 Westerwelle Young Founders Programme. The Westerwelle Young Founders Programme is a year-long fully funded initiative aimed at developing young entrepreneurs from emerging economies. Only 25 entrepreneurs are selected into each cohort every year. Applications for next year's programme close on 18 December. Westerwelle Foundation programme manager Christoph Rohde told Ventureburn in a phone call that the foundation had received roughly 2 279 applications for last year's programme. He said participants are selected based on how much of an impact their startups are...

  • Makro acquisition of SA startup WumDrop will shrink delivery time to three hours

    Leading wholesaler Makro, part of JSE-listed company Massmart, today announced that it has acquired a majority stake in startup courier and delivery service WumDrop. WumDrop co-founder Simon Hartley (pictured above) told Ventureburn in a phone call today that he could not discuss the details of the deal (including the date the deal was signed) -- as doing so might affect the share trading price of Massmart. "It was more money than I thought we could get. It was an indication of how serious Makro is," said Hartley. In an earlier press release, WumDrop claims the acquisition will improve the online shopping experience of Makro...

  • Accelerators help fuel over 1200 startups with $17m in 2017, reveals data

    Looking for some big money in exchange for support and recognition? You could try a business accelerator. In all 19 South African and international accelerators tracked by Ventureburn have so far this year given out a total of $17-million in funding to 1 241 startups. At about $37 000 per startup that isn't anything to sniff at. South African startups were eligible to apply to all 19 accelerators (see below table and graph for more details). Of the 19 accelerators, the Techstars Anywhere Accelerator virtual programme gave out the highest amount in funding -- at $120 000 per selected startup ($100 000 of this is in the form of a convertible loans...

  • Fintech startup i-Pay secures R10m investment from Kalon Venture Partners

    Johannesburg-based fintech startup i-Pay has secured a R10-million investment from venture capital (VC) firm and registered 12J VC fund Kalon Venture Partners. i-Pay's electronic fund transfer (EFT) processing system automates EFT transactions and allows users to make instant, secure payments. Kalon Venture Partners CEO Clive Butkow said the deal was closed on Monday (13 November). "We are confident that it is 10 times better than anything on the market," Butkow told Ventureburn in a phone call. He said the firm's investment into the fintech startup had been influenced by "the incredible strong team" around i-Pay as well as the startup's growth over the past...

  • Here are the nine winners of the AfricArena innovation challenges

    The winners of the nine innovation challenges that took place over the two-day AfricArena conference in Cape Town have been announced. Startups shortlisted to pitch in the challenge finals duked it out in live pitch battles at the conference's Battle Arena, in front of different panels of expert judges and investors. Winning startups did not take home any prize money. Rather, AfricArena stated in a press release today that the winning startups have the chance to develop establish long-term relationships with corporates, and secure coveted partnerships. Winners also received a year-long subscription to due diligence dashboard YueDiligence. AfricArena innovation challenge winners will work with the respective challenge sponsors The...

  • Top private equity firms among over 100 investors to listen to AfricArena pitches

    Officials from international private equity investors such as AfricaInvest, Global Founders Capital and Breega Capital were among the over 100 investors that listened to pitches at the inaugural AfricArena startup investment conference held in Cape Town. AfricArena lead organiser Christophe Viarnaud said the three private equity companies, which together manage over a billion US dollars in investments, were among 67 local and foreign investors represented at the two-day event, which ended yesterday. They were among the over 450 delegates that attended the conference, which was organised by Silicon Cape and La French Tech was held at the Century City Conference Centre in the city. A further 54 international investors streamed the conference’s pitch battles online, said Viarnaud. The highlight of...

  • Partner with corporates to access EU trade bloc, ambassador advises startups

    Looking to scale-up in France or the EU, but worried about market access? Then you might want to consider partnering with a French corporate. That's the top tip French Ambassador to South Africa Christophe Farnaud told Ventureburn yesterday on the sidelines of the AfricArena tech conference yesterday. “If you get a partnership with Air France, Saint-Gobain or Leroy Merlin, any of the big French names then automatically you can get access to the market, it will make it easier,” said Farnaud (pictured above). Partnering with French corporates could help startups easily access French and EU markets He said in a bit to secure such partnerships, startups...

  • UK startup shines at 2017 AppsAfrica Innovation Awards with two prizes

    UK-based startup what3words that operates in Africa and has developed a unique geocoding address has clinched two awards at the 2017 AppsAfrica Innovation Awards held in Cape Town. The four-year old startup was one of nine winners announced last night at an awards ceremony held at the Shimmy Beach Club at the V&A Waterfront in the city. Now in its third year the awards aim to celebrate innovation in mobile and tech on the continent. The startup has developed a system that divides the world into 3m-by-3m grids, with each block assigned with a unique address of three words. The company took home the awards for best enterprise solution and as well...

  • French Ambassador hints at more AfricArena conferences for continent

    Couldn't make it to the AfricArena tech conference? The French Ambassador to South Africa Christophe Farnaud today hinted that there will be more AfricArena Conferences to come. Farnaud (pictured above) was speaking on the sidelines of the two-day AfricArena Conference which kicked off today at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town. The conference is set to showcase African startups and connect them to international investors. Over 400 delegates -- 30 of them international investors -- from 27 countries are expected to attend the conference. The organisers said about 80 startups will be at the conference with around 50 expected to pitch on...

  • Village Capital, PayPal launch African fintech investment readiness programme

    Global venture capital (VC) firm Village Capital has collaborated with US payment platform PayPal to launch a three-month investment readiness programme, Village Capital Fintech Africa 2018. The investment readiness programme will culminate in two early-stage African startups walking away with $50 000 in investment funding. Applications to the programme opened last week and will close on 24 November. Application is open to early-stage fintech entrepreneurs from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Between 10 and 12 startups will be selected to join the Village Capital Fintech Africa 2018 programme Village Capital marketing manager Ben Wrobel stated in an email to Ventureburn that the VC...