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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • More private equity firms to participate in later stage million-dollar VC deals

    This year, we are likely to see more private equity firms participate in later stage million-dollar VC deals, so believes the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (Avca) director and head of research Enitan Obasanjo-Adeleye. Obasanjo-Adeleye made the prediction in an interview with Ventureburn late last year, in a response to a question on what trends we are likely to see in the African venture capital (VC) industry in 2019. Obasanjo-Adeleye said last year she noted what she described as an "interesting trend" in the increasing number and rising participation of private equity firms in later stage transactions in...

  • How Daniel Gross’s Pioneer Tournament proves that talent is everywhere [Q&A]

    For former Apple director Daniel Gross -- who runs US accelerator Y-Combinator's AI-track and recently launched a global talent search fund -- talent is everywhere. No where is this more so than in Africa, he says. However, a lack of opportunities means many of us never get to pursue those passions or indeed, turn them into lucrative businesses. Gross (pictured above) co-founded Cue, an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven powered search engine which was acquired by Apple in 2013 in a deal that US-tech publication TechCrunch reported to be worth over $40-million. Prior to that, at only 18 he became the youngest person at...

  • AI-driven blockchain conference set to take place next month in Cape Town [Updated]

    UPDATE (29 January 2019): A Pronoia spokesman told Ventureburn today (29 January) that the Blockchain Investment Roadshow which was set to take place on 14 and 15 February has been moved "to the end of the year" due to the (un)availability of keynote speakers. A Singapore-based platform for data-driven knowledge dissemination and exchange, Pronoia, has announced that it will next month host what it claims to be Africa's first artificial intelligence (AI)-driven blockchain conference in Cape Town. The conference -- titled the Blockchain & Investment Roadshow -- will take place on 14 and 15 February. The location of the event is...

  • Unicef Innovation Fund launches call for data science, AI solutions

    Are you running a data science or artificial intelligence (AI) startup and are looking for funding? Unicef, through its Innovation Fund, is looking to make up to $90 000 in zero-equity investments in data science, machine learning and AI solutions that have the potential to benefit humanity. Tech startups with AI or data solutions stand to benefit from between $50 000 and $90 000 equity-free early-stage seed investments, this after Unicef Innovation fund launched a call for such solutions on Monday (7 December). Applications close on 28 February. Through the fund Unicef aims to finance open-source solutions that can improve children's...

  • Rising Tide Africa to establish Pan-African fund in 2019 says co-founder

    Rising Tide Africa, a Lagos-based women-oriented investment group, will this year establish a Pan-African fund, co-founder Olayemi Keri has said. Keri (pictured above), who founded Rising Tide Africa in 2016 with Ndidi Nnoli Edozien, told Ventureburn last December that the organisation will this year also look to close more deals. A slide deck Keri sent to Ventureburn shows that once the fund is operational, a nine-person investment committee will screen, analyse and vote on investments. Rising Tide Africa -- which was founded in 2016 by Olayemi Keri and Ndidi Nnoli Edozien -- made its first investments last year Keri explained today (8 January), that...

  • Strangled by red tape, Tanzanian tech entrepreneurs call for change

    When Tanzanian entrepreneur Emmanuel David (pictured above) set out to establish his crowdfunding platform recently, little did he know the frustration he was in for, causing him to lose a $15 000 investment from a potential investor. He now plans to leave his home country in favour of the more business friendly Kenya. His is a frustration nearly any startup that sets up in Tanzania can relate to.  Registering his crowdfunding platform, Gatefunding, took months to conclude as David was shifted from pillar to post. Like this, he was forced to postpone the startup's launch by a year. "As soon as they hear...

  • Will regulators provide more clarity on cryptocurrency in 2019?

    Governments have long been unsure over whether to treat bitcoin, Etherium and other crypto currencies as real money or not. If crypto currencies are indeed no different from fiat currencies like the Dollar or Rand, what rules should states then put in place to ensure they're safe for all to use?  Perhaps we will finally soon know. This year -- believes the manager of bitcoin exchange Luno's SA office, Marius Reitz -- is likely to see regulators provide more clarity on their stance towards cryptocurrency. In an interview with Ventureburn late last year, Reitz said he hopes such clarity will provide...

  • AgroCenta to expand operations in Ghana after recently closed $650k round

    Ghanaian agritech startup Agrocenta will use its recently closed $650 000 round to expand operations in Ghana -- the company's CEO and co-founder Francis Obirikorang revealed yesterday. Seedstars World, NP Consulting and the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Fund participated in the round which was concluded last month. The startup -- which in April this year was crowned Seedstars Global Winner -- connects smallholder farmers directly to an online market to sell their commodities and by doing so eliminates middlemen and brokers who often exploit the farmers. Responding to questions from Ventureburn yesterday (20 December), Obirikorang (pictured above) said the new funding will be used to expand...

  • HouseMe secures ‘multi-million’ rand deal, declines to reveal who investors are

    While Cape Town based proptech startup HouseMe last week announced that it had secured what it calls a "multi-million" rand investment -- the company's co-founder and CEO Ben Shaw today declined to disclose who the two investors are behind the deal. The proptech startup -- which was founded in 2016 by Shaw (pictured above) and Kyle Bradley in 2016 -- announced the investment last Thursday (13 December). HouseMe connects tenants to residential landlords, providing letting services for a fraction of agency fees. Shaw told Ventureburn today (18 December) that the deal was concluded last month. He however would not disclose who the investors are,...

  • Call from East African Swiss ambassador to startups to pitch disruptive solutions

    Ambassador and representative of Switzerland to the East African community Arthur Mattli has called on innovative Tanzanians to approach the Swiss embassy with tech solutions that will benefit the country and the region. Mattli was speaking today (13 December) at the 2018 Seedstars Africa Summit conference in Dar es Salaam. In his speech, Mattli invited Tanzanian innovators to think about how they can collaborate with the Swiss embassy and to explore whether their projects can be matched with the embassy’s ideas. “Challenge us please, come to the embassy, present what you want to do. You have to convince us that you have impact...

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