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All posts by Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings almost seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat.
  • 9 things we learnt at Startup Grind Cape Town

    The latest Startup Grind Cape Town event took place on Friday, featuring Monique Woodard of 500 Startups. The fireside chat covered a wide variety of topics, such as black entrepreneurs, her personal journey and more. Interestingly enough, the finals of the 500 Startups/Geeks on a Plane Africa pitching competition took place at Startup Grind as well. Here are all the notable quotes and happenings that took place at the event. FinChatBot won US$1000 for pitching competition FinChatBot walked away as the winner of the pitching battle (winning US$1000), with DroneClouds in second place and Mobenzi in third. The other two finalists received...

  • ‘Shortage of VC funding, not of black entrepreneurs’

    The US has no shortage of black entrepreneurs. The shortage rather is one of funding for black entrepreneurs, says Monique Woodard of 500 Startups. Woodard, speaking at Startup Grind Cape Town last week Friday as part of a fireside chat, made the statement in response to a question from an audience member who asked why there was a shortage of black entrepreneurs. "So, I don't think there's... comparatively, in the space... there's not a huge shortage of black entrepreneurs. There's a shortage of black entrepreneurs getting VC funding," Woodard told the audience. The 500 Startups representative and Black Founders co-founder expanded on the topic. Monique Woodard of 500 Startups says...

  • Why did 22seven founder leave Old Mutual? [Exclusive]

    News broke earlier this week that 22seven would finally be absorbed into Old Mutual, following the app's acquisition in 2013. It was also confirmed that co-founders Christo Davel and Kenny Inngs would be leaving the business as a result. Now, Davel has explained the reason for his departure in an interview with Ventureburn. "It was just a differing of long-term strategies, mostly..." Davel explained in a telephonic interview, confirming that it was a mutual agreement. "Oh yes, it was a very amicable agreement between us and Old Mutual." Davel confirmed that 22seven was looking for buyers last year, elaborating on the process. 22seven co-founder Christo...

  • Old Mutual brings 22seven in-house, founders leave

    Old Mutual made headlines back in 2013 when it acquired personal finance app 22seven for an undisclosed sum. At the time of the deal, both companies said that 22seven would be absorbed into Old Mutual's plans to deliver digital support for customers. Now, the parent company has announced that it will be "bringing its wholly-owned 22seven operation closer to its in-house digital strategy without interrupting the current online offering to customers". However, the move will also see co-founders Christo Davel and Kenny Inggs departing the business. In a press release to Ventureburn, Raymond Berelowitz, Director of Customer Solutions at Old Mutual, elaborated on the news. "We are...

  • Katlego Maphai interview: rivals, data, staff, and more

    We were fortunate enough to attend the second Startup Grind Cape Town event of the year, headlined by Katlego Maphai. The Yoco co-founder tackled a variety of topics during the event, but we managed to interview him, covering rivals, Yoco's future plans and more. Who are their rivals? Is it Snapscan? "We are sort of... mutually cooperating companies in the ecosystem," he says of Snapscan. "If you look at Snapscan, they've had to acquire merchants and the real drive from them now is getting consumers to pay. We're strictly a merchant company." Maphai says that you could potentially see a collaboration between the...

  • Startup Grind: 12 things we learnt from Yoco’s Katlego Maphai

    The second Startup Grind Cape Town event of the year took place on Monday night at Workshop 17, featuring Katlego Maphai, co-founder of Yoco. The event saw Maphai cover a wide variety of topics, including the formation of Yoco, challenges associated with the company and more. So what did we learn? Working on Jumia gave him the required confidence Maphai said that while working at RocketInternet, he was sent (along with current Yoco CFO Bradley Wattrus) to Nigeria to work on online retailer Jumia. "That was a gruelling experience... really tough... And I think after that, him and I just...

  • Local blockchain-based AR game nears funding goal

    A new Blockchain-based augmented reality (AR) mobile game, made in South Africa, looks well on its way to meeting its crowdfunding target. Michael Deon and Kyle Haffenden pitched their Augmentors game on the Shark Tank TV show last year, with venture capitalist Vinny Lingham getting on board. Deon and Haffenden created a 30-day crowdfunding round for the Android and iOS game, in the form of an initial coin offering (ICO), hitting half of its US$1-million target in 24 hours. The campaign saw its biggest backers coming from the USA, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Norway, Romania, Netherlands, Canada, and China. The crowdfunding campaign...

  • Carter: another ‘Tinder for X’ app launches in SA

    We've seen quite a few 'Tinder for X' or 'Uber of X' apps launching in the last year or two, with the car buying industry now receiving one as well, in the form of Carter. A South African app, Carter uses swipe gestures to find a car for you, connecting you to an appropriate dealership in the process. "The Carter app is a world first and has been designed to appeal to all new car buyers. A shortlist of suitable cars can be built by swiping right (i.e. yes, I like it) or swiping left (i.e. not interested) -- similar to...

  • Ventureburn, Startup Grind CT announce partnership

    Good news for startup enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs! Ventureburn is teaming up with startup community Startup Grind Cape Town. The partnership will see Ventureburn attend every Startup Grind Cape Town meetup this year, featuring pre- and post-event coverage. Ventureburn editor Graham van der Made shed more light on the agreement. "Two of the strongest brands in the SA startup ecosystem, Ventureburn and Startup Grind, are partnering to create more awareness in the industry. This partnership will see Ventureburn covering all of the Startup Grind Cape Town events in-depth, with social media and written coverage," van der Made explained. Read more: Startup Grind Cape...

  • Report: African tech startups receive funding boost in 2016

    The number of African tech startups receiving funding in 2016 has risen by almost 17% compared to the previous year, a new report found. The second annual Disrupt Africa Tech Startups Funding Report found that 146 African startups raised US$129.1-million in 2016. The report clarified that, while the number of startups receiving funding has increased, the actual amount of funding saw a decline. As for the most popular nations, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria accounted for just over 80% of funding secured. Fourth-placed Egypt was a fast mover though, seeing 100% fundraising growth. The continent has seen a slew of fintech-related startups...