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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • Six takeaways from Jack Ma and his speech to African tech entrepreneurs

    Last week, Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma spoke at what is arguably one of the most important tech events to have taken place so far this year on the continent. In his speech on Wednesday in Johannesburg, Ma challenged African entrepreneurs to look at problems as opportunities, called on governments to create tax policies that are favourable for startups and entrepreneurs and announced plans for his $10-million African Netpreneur Prize initiative. In case you missed his speech (which can still be streamed online), here's what stood out: 1.When everything is ready, it's too late One of the main highlights of Ma's speech was the recurring theme on...

  • Jack Ma challenges Africans to seize opportunities, announces $10m prize

    Jack Ma, the Alibaba Group founder and UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) special envoy, today challenged African entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities presented to them. Ma, who is on his second trip to Africa, was speaking at a special event organised by the Alibaba Business School, Unctad and the Jack Ma Foundation where he announced a new $10-million prize to support African entrepreneurs (see more here). Ma described African entrepreneurs as being "first class" and said although the continent has plenty of problems, it is also "full of opportunities". He called on innovators to look at challenges like lack of infrastructure and poor logistics...

  • URGENT: Jack Ma speech to be streamed live from 1pm Central African Time

    Want to hear entrepreneur Jack Ma speak? Here's your chance to hear the Alibaba Group founder speak -- today. Ma is due to address an event that takes place today in Joburg. His speech at the event -- Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions -- will be streamed live on YouTube from 1pm Cenral African Time. The four-hour event, which is an initiative of the Alibaba Business School, Unctad and the Jack Ma Foundation, will be held at the Linder Auditorium located at Wits Parktown Education Campus. Yesterday (7 August), Unctad announced in a post on its Facebook page that the event will be streamed here. Jack Ma will launch a prize and...

  • Here’s what it’s like being a woman in SA’s tech startup ecosystem

    Tomorrow (9 August) South Africa will celebrate Women's Day. But what does it mean to be a woman in South Africa's traditionally male-dominated tech startup scene? To celebrate Women's Day, Ventureburn caught up with five women who have founded or are running tech startups in the country to find out what it's like being a woman in this country's tech scene and what hurdles women face when entering the tech sector. The five -- iMed Tech CEO Nneile Nkholise, Piehole.TV founder Priscilla Kennedy, Wala CEO Tricia Martinez, Momsays founder Shaney Vijendranath and Jumpin Rides co-founder Pauline du Paty -- also share advice for fellow...

  • This is how SA’s 2018 HiiL finalists are using tech to serve justice in the country

    From an app to help citizens with paralegal services, to one that allows one to digitally sign contracts on any device -- to another app that offers a collection of legal tutorial videos. These are some of the South African finalists that made it into this year's edition of the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law’s (HiiL) Innovating Justice Challenge. Ventureburn caught up with four of the five South African finalists to find out what inspired them to turn to tech to serve justice in the country and how they think innovation can help improve the rule of law (the fifth finalist Buyisa Soul and Spiritual Centre did not...

  • Jack Ma to attend Unctad, Alibaba Group event on digital economy in Joburg

    Jack Ma, the Alibaba Group founder and UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) special advisor, is set to speak at an event on the digital economy next week Wednesday (8 August) in Johannesburg. The event -- titled Netrepreneurs: The Rise of Africa's Digital Lions -- is jointly organised by Alibaba Business School, Unctad and the Jack Ma Foundation. It will be held at the Linder Auditorium. Those looking to attend the event can register here, or catch the live stream from 1pm Central African Time. At the even Ma, who advises Unctad on youth entrepreneurship and small businesses, is expected to announce the launch of the Jack Ma Africa Netrepreneur...

  • Lessons from a business sale that didn’t quite go right – Farmcrowdy founder

    His business may have raised a $1-million round from Silicon Valley investors in December last year. But Farmcrowdy founder Onyeka Akumah says he learnt how not to do business when he sold his last business some years ago. Although Akumah (pictured above) won't disclose the name of the startup -- a news aggregator which he founded with a friend in 2012 and subsequently sold to Nigerian newspaper Business Day -- he says it taught him "how not to do business". "We latter sold parts of it. It’s one of the lessons I’ve learnt how not to do business," he says. "We raised...

  • Andela’s VP global operations on why Kigali is strategic location for tech hub

    US software training organisation Andela is betting on East Africa as a strategic location from which to recruit and train software developers for top employers around the world. And the organisation's vice president for global operations -- Seni Sulyman -- believes the region has a supply of "amazing" tech talent and potential for growth. "Over the years, Kenya’s Silicon Savannah has had a tremendous impact on the region in terms of developing a strong tech scene that has seen a proliferation of talent and innovative startups," Sulyman told Ventureburn in an email last Wednesday (29 July). Andela's Kigali hub is set to open this December The effects of this...

  • Investec out to fund fintech startups through global investment platform

    SA bank and asset management group Investec currently looking to invest in three or four early-stage SA fintech startups, Investec Emerging Companies spokesperson Akash Maharaj has confirmed. Earlier this month, the bank invested an undisclosed amount in Retail Engage's Bonsella loyalty and rewards programme. Responding yesterday (30 July) to an email from Ventureburn, Maharaj (pictured above) would not disclose the details of the equity investment deal. He however stated that this was the first deal for the Investec Emerging Companies mandate -- which forms part of Investec Private Capital and was launched in July last year -- and aims to invest in "innovative, early-stage companies with high growth potential". 'Investec Emerging Companies...

  • Expat founders have it easier than locals says Danish founder of Rwandan startup

    Do expat tech founders that set up startups in Africa have it easier than their local counterparts when running their business? Expat and entrepreneur Olivia Zank, the co-founder of Rwandan factoring firm BeneFactors, believes they do. Zank, who is Danish and whose startup last week came out tops at the Seedstars Kigali pitching competition, believes its definitely easier in some ways, but harder in others. She started the company last year with Jani Moliis (who is Finnish) after working as a policy advisor to Rwanda's Minister of Trade and Industry in 2016 and 2017. "We have easier access to external funding and more exposure to lean startup methods....