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All posts by Jacques Coetzee

  • Bitcoin exchange startup BitX secures funding from Asia’s Venturra Capital

    Emerging market bitcoin exchange startup BitX has just announced an undisclosed round of funding from Southeast Asia's Venturra Capital. Venturra Capital is a US$150-million Southeast Asia-focused venture fund based out of Jakarta. "Venturra is one of those rare funds that doesn’t just talk about adding value, but actually does it, in a consistent, relevant and tangible way," BitX co-founder and CEO, Marcus Swanepoel. "This, combined with their unrivalled expertise and networks in the Southeast Asian market, makes for an exciting partnership that will help solidify our leading position in the region." Werner van Rooyen, who heads up business development at BitX, tells...

  • Management software startup Kitchen Manager wins Traction Bus

    South Africa's management software company Kitchen Manager just stepped off the Traction Bus as the ultimate mobile startup in Gauteng. Hosted by Startup Edge, Traction Bus set out to find the top mobile startup in Gauteng earlier this year. The purpose of the competition is to connect, expose and celebrate the startup ecosystem participants while giving entrepreneurs an access to resources. Gauteng was Traction Bus' first leg where four hubs were visited and 19 finalists chosen out of nearly 200 applicants. The finalists got the opportunity to travel on the bus, visiting hubs in Gauteng to expose founders to the startup...

  • Most startup founders fear the tech industry is in a bubble, survey finds

    Over the past two years there's been a lot of talk regarding "unicorns", or startups carrying US$1-billion valuations. While the buzzword still makes for catchy headlines, skeptics fear that there is a bubble developing within the tech industry. This belief has been reiterated in a new report by US-based First Round Capital, which surveyed 500 VC-backed startup founders. The majority (73%) believe that we are, in fact, in a bubble or witnessing over-speculation of the tech industry. Specifically, industries such as wearables and bitcoin are believed to be overhyped, while autonomous vehicles and mobile are underhyped. Prospects for the VC industry overall don't...

  • SA mobile shopping app MySideKick announces R4m staged investment

    South African mobile shopping app startup MySideKick has announced it received R4-million from EM Software & Systems' tech fund and accelerator Alchemy-A in a staged investment, meaning the entire amount is not invested upfront. Based in the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab, MySidekick seeks to give users easy access to specials, promotions, sales, products and coupons of some of the country’s major retailers based on your location. Founder and CEO of MySidekick, Leonard Brewer, says "We are very pleased with the investment agreement. It has given us additional resources required for growth and expansion." Alchemy-A provides seed funding to startups and invest in...

  • Study: impact investment deployed in West Africa amounts to $852m in 2014

    The impact investing industry in West Africa may be small, though it is growing, and amounted to US$852-million in 2014. This is according to a study by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), in partnership with Dalberg Global Development Advisors. The study found that investors seeking "positive impact" have deployed US$894-million in 2012, and more than US$800-million in 2013. The West African region has a compound annual growth rate of 18% since 2005. The study revealed that US$6.8-billion direct impact investment has been deployed within the last decade in West Africa. This is small relative to East Africa, which is the only other...

  • Richard Branson, Al Gore, Steve Case back Kenyan solar startup M-Kopa in $19m round

    The likes of Virgin Group's Sir Richard Branson, former US Vice President Al Gore and AOL founder Steve Case have invested US$19-million in Kenyan pay-as-you-go solar energy startup M-Kopa. London-based Generation Investment Management, which was founded by Al Gore and David Blood, led the round. The deal includes reinvestment by existing shareholders. Already backed by impressive investors such as Safaricom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, M-Kopa seems right on track to create affordable and sustainable energy solutions for millions of households in East Africa. So far the company has connected over 250 000 homes across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with...

  • SA’s website builder startup VIGO expands to Asia with Webnic partnership

    South African startup VIGO, which is behind an easy-to-use website-building tool, is expanding its services to Asia. This comes after the tech company partnered with the popular domain registrar, Webnic, which will enable VIGO to roll out its software to clients in Southeast Asia, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Webnic is considered among the world's top 50 registrars and operates in 60 countries. The Asian company's partnership with VIGO would mean customers are not only encouraged to register domains, but build their own customised websites and ecommerce platforms. Since launching in 2013, VIGO has attracted over 3 000 users to its...

  • How Flickswitch is enabling Africa to become a continent of connected things

    The Internet of Things (IoT) -- or the concept of connected devices -- is becoming more prominent by the day. It's estimated that there will be around 38 billion connected devices by 2020. While still in its infancy in South Africa, it's growing fast. In fact, Kees Snijders along with his partners Hein Koen, Gerrie Swart and Kristien Wolmarans from South Africa's Flickswitch are banking on it. And so far, it's boded them well. Since bootstrapping Flickswitch back in 2007, the SIM management company is today recording R22-million in annual turnover, generating R1-million in profit. "The IoT market is ripe in...

  • Triggerfish Animation Studios named Western Cape Business of the Year

    South African animation powerhouse, Triggerfish Animation Studios, was named the Western Cape Business of the Year at the Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards (PERA). It also won the Business With Global Reach award. Criteria for the awards included turnover and job creation. The Cape Town-based company has generated over R1-billion at the box offices, and employs around 85 people. "Triggerfish is a world-class enterprise, making a major impact on economic growth in our province. They develop films which are translated into over 27 languages and licensed in over 150 countries," said Western Cape premier Helen Zille. Most notably, Triggerfish is behind feature films...

  • 20 successful years of backing independent news — Q&A with MDIF’s Mohamed Nanabhay

    The media world has seen major disruptions since the advent of the web, especially when it comes to social media and mobile. While there are a handful of publications and platforms reaping the profits, most are struggling to keep their heads above water. This pressure is especially felt by companies that face unfavourable economic or political conditions, where government often use the internet as a tool for censorship, espionage and control of information. Yet, in this state of transformation, the MDIF (Media Development Investment Fund) recently had its 20th anniversary, celebrating a total of US$133.6-million invested in 108 independent news...

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