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All posts by Jacques Coetzee

  • The IoT Focus: 9 African startups shaping the continent’s IoT industry [Native Content]

    About this content. The Internet of Things (IoT) industry as a whole has been touted as becoming a US$7.1-trillion giant by the year 2020. And around the world companies are more and more looking to this sector in becoming the next trend-setters of our world's true data revolution. An everyday, easy-to-understand example of IoT in action would be the Apple Watch -- a fashionable device that's strapped to your wrist and tethered to your smartphone. With a tiny display, you can send emails, hail an Uber, track your heart rate and do all sorts of cool things unimaginable a decade ago....

  • Original founder Kevin Tucker, Silvertree buy PriceCheck from Naspers [Update]

    VC firm Silvertree Internet Holdings and original PriceCheck founder Kevin Tucker have acquired South Africa's price comparison platform, PriceCheck from global media giant Naspers for an undisclosed sum. Update: Ventureburn understands that the acquisition comes with substantial layoffs and that the company will continue to operate with a fraction of its current staff. Tucker started PriceCheck in 2006 and sold it to Naspers four years later. Today, it claims to be Africa’s largest price comparison service, with 25 million unique annual visitors across its two platforms, and has recorded y-o-y growth of 40% in South Africa and 600% in Nigeria. The...

  • Kenya’s Markit Opportunity wins Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge

    Kenyan startup Markit Opportunity, which seeks to provide farmers with accurate information for fair trade, won the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge. Part of Barclays' global Rise initiative, this challenge sets the tone of what we can expect from the banking giant. Founded by Ashley King-Bischof, Markit Opportunity pitched alongside three other Kenyan startups and one from Nigeria. The winning startup received US$10 000, with runner-up Freshmart App for Provenance hauling in US$5 000. The other three startups that pitched were Catch Counterfeits, Farm Inputs Authentication, and Solutech Distribution Application. Markit Opportunity is a social enterprise that improves the incomes of smallholder...

  • SAVCA CEO: we need to be ‘realistic’ about SA’s growing VC sector [Q&A]

    Venture capital is on the rise in South Africa. According to a recent survey by Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) this year's total assets under management represents nearly R2-billion (R1.87-billion), with the total value of deals struck valued at R865-million. While these figures are likely to put a smile on stakeholders' faces, there's a lot yet to be done to fast-track this sector and ultimately become globally competitive and uplift socio-economic conditions. Some obstacles in the ecosystem continue to persist, including the inability to establish constructive dialogue between entrepreneurs and fund managers, implement forward-thinking government policy...

  • Ghana’s online real estate portal meQasa strikes $500k deal

    Ghanian online real estate platform meQasa has just secured a US$500 000 investment from global investment firm Frontier Digital Ventures, highlighting the increase in venture capital interest in West Africa. An alumni of the renowned entrepreneurial training programme by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), meQasa is said to have elevated the real estate industry in Ghana. The startup sees itself as having an advantage by providing a free service that helps brokers, landlords and other real estate industry professionals to conduct business efficiently online, while simplifying the search experience for prospective tenants and buyers. It currently hosts over 5 000 listings...

  • Naspers pumps $25m into Israeli analytics startup SimilarWeb

    Naspers is having a busy year. Besides all its ecommerce plays that stretch from Lagos to Cape Town and Bangalore, the JSE-listed company started backing bitcoin company BitX as well as Brazilian app developer Movile. More recently however, Naspers has made a fresh US$25-million investment into an Israeli-founded web analytics company, SimilarWeb. Launched in 2007, SimilarWeb provides analytics for three million mobile apps and 80 000 websites. It currently has over 200 employees with offices in four continents, competing with the likes of popular website ranking sites like Alexa. SimliarWeb's total investment's raised is now valued at US$65-million, with its previous two...

  • Crowdfunding platform EduFund seeks to save SA students from tuition debt

    In light of mass student uprisings in South Africa, voicing discontent over the educational system's high barriers to entry, a crowdfunding platform has emerged to help students faced with tuition debt. EduFund is a non-profit online platform created by Gauteng-based startup Cybatar, which is also behind the recently launched FillApp -- an Uber for petrol. Founder of the one-year old startup Phiwa Nkambule says that while the #FeesMustFall protests have succeeded in freezing fee increments for 2016, the South African student financing is broken and many students struggle with systemic challenges. He explains that the tertiary education system is dominated by loans,...

  • Seedstars World names Angolan job, education portal best regional startup

    The venture capital competition for startups from emerging markets, Seedstars World, has revealed the winning startup from the Angolan leg of the competition, held in the capital Luanda. Jobartis, which is an online job and education portal, stood out among 10 other tech startups from around the Southern African country. The Angolan startup has been invited to pitch alongside other fast-growing companies from around the world in Switzerland in February 2016 where it will stand a chance of securing up to US$500 000 in equity. The competition follows Seedstars World most comprehensive tour in Africa to date. Since May this year,...

  • Survey: South Africa’s Venture Capital industry is now worth a massive R2bn

    The South African venture capital (VC) industry now represents almost R2-billion in assets under management, a survey released by Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) found. If you've been following Ventureburn, you would have seen a lot of exciting investments this year, from Silvertree Capital investing over R20-million in the first half of 2015 to radar startup iKubu exiting to Garmin in January and many more. To comprehend what these deals really mean to the local ecosystem, however, requires quantitive research that can shed light on the true value and state of South Africa's VC environment. Read more:...

  • ReMe app wants to revolutionise loyalty programmes in South Africa

    An app that seeks to help businesses build and retain customer loyalty has launched in South Africa. ReMe, as it's called, provides users access to a virtual loyalty card reward system by linking them to an array of retailers and restaurants based on their interests, tastes and brand preferences. Michael Zahariev, the co-founder of ReMe, notes in a recent press release that although the app can be applied to national chains and franchises, it should be particularly attractive to smaller businesses: “Loyalty programmes are expensive to build and implement, particularly programmes which have the goal of large-scale customer engagement," Zahariev adds....

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