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All posts by Daniel Mpala

  • Test product, gauge demand before seeking funding says SkillsRus founder

    It is crucial to first test products and gauge the demand for them before seeking funding from potential investors, says Kgotso Kobo CEO and founder of graduate placement portal SkillsRus. "If the market responds positively to it, then it will be easier for you to acquire funding and clients," Kobo says. The two-year-old startup is aiming to tackle a problem that President Cyril Ramaphosa last month described as South Africa's "greatest and most pressing" challenge. Kobo's advice has served his startup well. Early last year, the startup secured an undisclosed investment from Cape Town-based angel investment firm Snowolf, in return for 29% equity. The Johannesburg-based company...

  • Will fashiontech make Africa more competitive in the global fashion sector?

    What are you wearing today? Odds are your clothes were not designed or made in Africa. According to the African Development Bank Group, sub-Saharan Africa represents just under one percent of global fashion exports. Could the fusion of tech and fashion --fashiontech -- make Africa more competitive in the fashion industry? Mustapha Zaouini, who runs a Johannesburg-based tech startup studio, says the market for fashiontech solutions in Africa is as yet unquantified, but adds that it is growing. He points to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index which forecasts that industry sales are expected to nearly triple between 2016 and 2018, from 1.5% to between 3.5% to 4.5%. Last Monday (16...

  • AfricArena expecting 1000 investors this year, adds Africa tour in run up to event

    International tech conference AfricaArena is back for a second edition which is set to be held between 15 and 16 November at Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town. AfricArena founder Christophe Viarnaud made the announcement today in Cape Town at a press conference held in partnership with Wesgro and Silicon Cape. Viarnaud (pictured above, far right) said he expects at least 1000 international investors to attend this year's event. Last year's inaugural event was attended by over 450 attendees including over 100 investors and more than 80 startups representing over 25 countries. He added that last year's budget of R3-million has been doubled...

  • Seda relaunches, mandates Sabtia to build more inclusive incubation system

    Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) has relaunched the Southern African Business and Technology Incubation Association (Sabtia) and mandated the non-profit organisation to address challenges in the local business incubation and acceleration community. The relaunch -- which was hosted by Seda, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) and the Department of Small Business Development -- was held yesterday (19 April) at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg. Addressing the event, Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu (pictured above) said incubation and acceleration programmes are crucial to accelerating economic growth and transformation in developing nations. Sabtia will serve as an entry point for international...

  • mSurvey raises $3.5m from TLcom Capital-led Series A round, eyes SA market

    Nairobi-based mobile survey platform mSurvey has announced that it raised $3.5-million in Series A round led by venture capital firm TLcom Capital. mSurvey CEO Kenfield Griffith told Ventureburn the round was concluded in Q1 this year. Other investors who participated in the round include Net Promoter Score (NPS) co-founder Richard Owen, Golden Palm, Kapor Capital and Social Capital. mSurvey intends to use the funding to finance expansion into other African countries, and is aiming on launching in South Africa this year Griffith said the company -- which also has offices in San Francisco -- is eyeing expansion into South Africa. This after the company...

  • Getting state support ‘waste of time, energy’ for biotech entrepreneur

    Getting the government to back her biotech startup that produces an essential ingredient for HIV test kits has proved frustrating and often a "waste of time and energy", says SA biotech entrepreneur Jenny Leslie. Leslie claims that her Cape Town-based biotech startup BioTech Africa is the sole manufacturer in Africa that produces recombinant proteins, a key component of diagnostic test kits used to test for HIV and a range of other diseases, including Hepatitis C and the Zika virus. Leslie argues that government support for biotech companies is necessary because of the high barriers to entry associated with the industry. Setting up a simple lab alone can cost more than...

  • Here’s what you need to know about Zimbabwe’s tech startup ecosystem

    Are you a venture capitalist or an angel investor looking to invest in a company? Are you an entrepreneur looking for capital or other opportunities? Are you an aspiring startup owner looking for assistance? Well, you have come to the right place. Ventureburn presents the 2018 guide to Zimbabwe’s startup scene. This article is the most comprehensive guide for anyone who wants to get involved with, or have a better understanding of, the country’s fast-growing startup space. It is a part of a series which will also include the West African and East African startup space. We have scoured Zimbabwe’s entrepreneurial landscape...

  • Interest in Zimbabwe’s tech startup scene picks up, but startups still struggling

    Today Zimbabwe marks 38 years of independence from British colonial rule. This will be the first Independence Day the country has had under a president other than Robert Mugabe, this after President Emmerson Mnangagwa assumed office last year in November. Five months on, Ventureburn looks at developments in the country's tech startup scene under the new administration and the challenges Zimbabwean tech startups are facing. ICT Innovation Drive launch By far the biggest development to have taken place in the country's tech startup scene since President Mnangagwa's inauguration is his March launch of the ICT Innovation Drive which saw six startups get...

  • Is DPO PayGate now Southern Africa’s biggest payment services provider?

    Kenyan online payment services provider Direct Pay Online Group (DPO Group) has consolidated the six Southern African payments services startups it has acquired into one brand, DPO PayGate -- potentially creating Southern Africa's biggest payment services providers. As part of the brand consolidation, Virtual Card Services (VCS) South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, PayThru, PayGate and 3G Direct Pay will all be rolled up under the DPO PayGate brand. The consolidation makes DPO PayGate one of the biggest payment services providers in the Southern African region Between 2016 and 2017 the Nairobi-based company acquired PayGate, PayThru, VCS in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana as well as SID Instant EFT. Commenting on...

  • Is this platform API the game changer that will disrupt SA’s insurance industry?

    A Cape Town-based fintech startup has launched an insurtech platform API that will enable developers to speed up development, prototyping and launching of digital insurance products in the country -- at no cost. Insurance is a complex space, one requires a slew of initial expertise and resources, says Louw Hopley, the CEO and co-founder of Root, the startup behind the developer-focused insurance platform. "Upfront costs and capital requirement involved in securing an insurance license are massive, often leaving insurtechs in the mercy of incumbents," adds Hopley. The platform API -- Root Insurance -- aims to disrupt this. Hopley says it will make the development...