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All posts by Jacques Coetzee

  • Former Magento heavyweight boards booming SA fintech startup

    Former VP of Engineering at eBay subsidiary Magento, Ted Pietrzak (pictured right), has joined South African fintech startup Jumo to help develop its ground-breaking system to enable financial inclusion in Africa. The appointment is said to mark the first American platform level CTO to be recruited by an African company. The news also adds weight to the startup's impressive hiring spree, growing its team of seven to over 100 within the last 12 months. Headquartered in Cape Town with an office in Nairobi, Jumo is said to have attracted a concentration of data and technology pioneers from across Africa, including talent from Amazon,...

  • SA accelerator boasts startup success, R65m in revenue generated

    Adding weight to its belief that business growth can be engineered, South African VC firm Knife Capital has just revealed "explosive" results of its second Grindstone accelerator programme. On average, the 12 participating companies collectively grew revenue by R65-million while creating more jobs. The programme follows an already impressive Grindstone 2014 which climaxed in the acquisition of radar startup iKubu by Garmin. Grindstone 2015 had a tough act to follow, no doubt. "The success of our first programme meant that we've now set a precedent for ourselves, and we didn't want to be a once-off hit," said Andrea Bӧhmert of Knife...

  • A Day in the Life of: Launchlab operations manager Brandon Paschal [Native Article]

    Behind every incubator or accelerator you'll find a dedicated individual, keeping the gears turning. Whether that means helping a startup formulate its business plan or showing off product demos to visitors, operations managers play a pivotal role in any startup ecosystem. For the first article of our A Day in the Life of... series, we're following Brandon Paschal, the operations manager at the Nedbank Launchlab in Stellenbosch. After finishing his Business Science degree in the US, Brandon Paschal moved to Johannesburg in 2004 where he started working for Campus Outreach, focusing on leadership development. Seven years later he moved over to...

  • PM Modi unveils $1.5bn fund, tax cuts to fire up India’s startup space

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend unveiled a massive US$1.5-billion fund to support the country's already fast-growing startup sector. Speaking at Startup India in New Delhi, the fund is part of the government's Action Plan, which sets out to encourage innovation and job creation in Asia's second-largest emerging market. Apart from the many millions, the Plan also includes major tax cuts, reduced regulation, procedures to fast-track patents and channels for easier access to public procurement. The government will also be responsible for a mobile app to provide "on-the-go accessibility" for all startups' regulatory needs. Read more: India’s entrepreneurial landscape according...

  • Youth innovation incubator RLabs calls for applications

    Keen to make a social impact with your innovation? Listen up. South African social innovation incubator RLabs is looking for budding entrepreneurs passionate to make a sustainable impact in the world and build scalable social enterprises. Fifth year running, the RLabs InnovIA programme is a 12-week programme designed to assist participants during their startup's most vulnerable period, and support taking an idea or product to market. Founder of RLabs Marlon Parker tells Ventureburn that it's important to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa to address youth unemployment. "Traditionally youth from marginalised communities do not get access to the necessary training, support or...

  • Report: over $185m invested in Africa’s tech startups in 2015

    Tech startups in Africa raised an estimated total of over US$185-million in 2015, according to a recent report. The report, titled African Tech Startups Funding Report 2015 by startup news site Disrupt Africa, polled hundreds of startups, investors, hubs and other ecosystem players over the course of two months. It found that 125 tech startups secured a total of US$185 785 500 during the course of 2015. To little surprise, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya made up the bulk of the overall figure. In South Africa, 45 startups raised funding, 36% of the overall total. An estimated 24% of deal value was...

  • All-female startup from Nigeria hauls in $40k for innovative legal service

    An all-female startup that seeks to give people easy access to legal services in Nigeria, called DIYlaw, recently bagged US$40 000. Organised by The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL), which promotes innovative solutions in the legal space, over 200 innovators applied for the Innovating Justice Award. DIYlaw emerged the winner of the SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge for East and West Africa during the Innovating Justice Forum at The Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands. Read more: SME Empowerment Challenge to support African innovations with up to $70k The Innovating Justice Awards is an annual award ceremony which takes place during the...

  • Entrepreneurship accelerator seeks to tackle youth unemployment in SA

    Following the launch of its pilot last year to tackle unemployment, South African accelerator New Ventures Studio is calling for new applications. Aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 35, the programme consists of an intensive eight-week entrepreneurship course. Participants will have the opportunity to secure a spot in the Studio Incubator said to be worth R150 000. In 2015, 19 participants ended up graduating from the programme while four will be selected to join the incubator. "It has been a productive and effective amount of learning, being a team player, allowing other candidates help structure my business," says 23-year-old...

  • VC to pump $10m into South African, African startups [update]

    Update: This article has been updated to include additional commentary from PriceCheck founder and CEO Kevin Tucker. Cape Town-based venture capital firm Silvertree Internet Holdings has announced a US$10-million investment destined for South African and African startups in 2016. The pan-African tech investment firm and incubator seemed to have had good year in 2015, claiming that it recorded 330% growth per annum revenue for its startups. The firm has invested in startups like Faithful to Nature, Click n Compare, WineCo and more recently We Are Monsters and PriceCheck. Silvertree together with entrepreneur Kevin Tucker acquired the popular price-comparison website, PriceCheck, from global media giant Naspers...

  • OfferZen wants to be the curated marketplace for SA’s top devs, top companies

    It's not easy finding the job you deserve in South Africa, especially if you're a talented developer exposed to what's on offer in, say, Silicon Valley. This might change as curated jobs marketplace OfferZen sets out to help top developers find the best jobs the South African tech industry has to offer. In 2014, two South African brothers Malan and Philip Joubert traveled to Silicon Valley where they pitched their startup Journey Apps to various venture capitalists. The entrepreneurs, who are also behind startup incubator FireID, wanted to know how difficult it was for a South African tech company to...

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