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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.
  • 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...

  • Algebra: VC tech fund in Egypt hits $40m mark

    A new tech VC fund by Algebra Ventures has completed a US$40-million first closing. Algebra claims that it's the largest tech VC fund in Egypt. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the fund will invest in up 25 tech startups or "tech-enabled" startups. Focus areas include "technology IP, fintech, industry platforms, e-commerce and consumer internet", Algebra explained. As for funding amounts, Algebra confirmed that investments would mostly be in the range of US$500 000 to US$4-million. The fund is expected to achieve a final closing of US$50-million. Algebra Ventures is aiming for a rather lofty final goal, but it's only got US$10-million to...

  • Three SA startups a step closer to international accelerator

    Three local startups have been shortlisted for participation in an international acceleration programme. The three SA startups are competing to be one of ten startups to join international accelerator Startupbootcamp InsurTech next year. "Aerobotics, Emerge Analytics and NuvaLaw are up against 20 other startups for the opportunity to collaborate with 400+ mentors, partners, and investors over a three month period to build world class products, with the ultimate goal of becoming industry leading companies," read an excerpt of a statement emailed to Ventureburn. Startupbootcamp InsurTech received 633 global applications from early stage startups, calling for companies with solutions for the insurance industry. Startupbootcamp InsurTech...

  • FbStart: Facebook’s startup drive gathers local steam

    Facebook has made a concerted effort to court mobile-based startups with its FbStart initiative. The programme offers qualifying app developers year-round support, access to a global community of startups and a suite of tools to the value of up to US$80 000. These tools include MailChimp, Dropbox, and Stripe. FbStart is divided into two categories, namely Bootstrap and Accelerate. The former category is for apps that have just launched, while the latter is for "thriving" apps that need to grow even more. The initiative made its way to the African continent a while back, so what has the progress been like? How are...

  • Absa teams up with fintech startup walletdoc

    Absa has partnered with fintech startup walletdoc to make bill payments a more convenient process. Walletdoc, founded by Dan Wagner and Leonard Shenker, is an app billed as a "smart, secure and free way" to pay bills on the go. Notable features include notifications for bill arrivals/payment dates, the ability to remember account/reference numbers for payments and electronic bill storage. To get started, users create an account on the service and ask billers to direct all bills to the associated walletdoc email address. The app will then give you relevant notifications/reminders and allow for seamless payments (including the ability to pay for...