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All posts by Matthew Alexander

  • Pitch Day 237 selects 4 startups for second leg of Activation Bootcamp

    The second leg of  Pitch Day 237, organised by the African Centre for Technology, Innovation and Ventures Spaces (ActivSpaces) alongside Cameroon Angels Network (CAN), has come to an end. ActivSpaces is a tech hub which aims to progress the state of technology in Cameroon through an intense six-month incubator programme called the Activation Bootcamp. CAN is the first angel investor network within the country which seeks to invest in all sectors and industries who have an interest in technology. The event saw 12 startups pitch to startup investors for seed capital, eventually being whittled down to four: Kemi Store  - An online store that lets...

  • Improving agriculture through Aerobotics

    South Africa's agricultural lands have always been one of the backbones of the economy. According to South Africa.info, the agricultural sector is roughly responsible for 8.5 million jobs both directly and indirectly. It's without a doubt one of the largest contributors to job creation. Which is why it's so important to have proper systems in place in the sector. Aerobotics, a drone company started in December 2014 by James Paterson and Benji Meltzer, focuses on agriculture in SA and has found a way to better the sector with innovative drone technology. Paterson was raised on a fruit farm where, at a young age, he...

  • WDB Seed Fund set up to help solve funding woes

    Newly formed WDB Seed Fund seeks to develop an urgent response to the scarcity of funding for startups in their early growth stages. The fund is made up of for-profit social enterprise, Seed Engine, WDB Investment Holdings, an organisation driven to impact the lives of other women in rural communities in SA, as well as Grovest, an SA VC company. The WDB Seed Fund also offers investors tax advantages, as well as Broad-Based Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) points, for those who wish to invest. This is because the investment would be utilised for enterprise and supplier development initiatives. The fund has also been established...

  • Tunisian smart prosthetic gains recognition at Microsoft Imagine Cup

    When you hear about amazing developments in technology and science, you seldom think of "Africa" sadly, and more about developed Western and Eastern nations. However, the runner-up in Microsoft's Imagine Cup 2016 is proving otherwise. Tunisia's Night's Watch is a technology startup founded by students Amir Ben Said, Soumaya Tekaya, Mohamed Zied Cherif and Mohamed Assil Mekki, from Espirit University. Their Smart Hand project took home second prize in the Imagine Cup 2016 World Citizenship Category, being cheaper than most prosthetics. The prosthetic doesn't require any surgical integration, while also being incredibly customisable with a mobile application. The idea for a more affordable smart-prosthetic...

  • The Solaris initiative: locally sustainable biofuel for jets

    Human nature is to progress, to continually improve on existing structures. Project Solaris is an example of that nature. A joint initiative started by Sunchem SA and SkyNRG, it's already making progress in the world of biofuel. Two years ago, Sunchem SA and SkyNRG launched the project in Limpopo with the aim to roll it out on a wide scale and be the go-to for locally sustainable jet biofuel production. Today, they've achieved that goal. "The Solaris crop yields about 2.5 MT ton (sic) of oil per hectare. This is significantly more than traditional oil crops," said Solaris' Project Manager Samantha Hampton in...

  • Siyavula, the edtech startup enabling learners through feature phones [updated]

    Update: Facts and quotes have been amended. Our apologies to Mark Horner and Siyavula for the errors. Education has been preached about as the way to a better life, "get good grades, go to a good school, then off to a better university where you'll get a degree and make lots of money". In our country, it's especially hard to follow that path. According to the 2014 education statistics, 28.3% of learners who passed their matric exam only qualified for a Bachelor's programme, 31.3% qualified for a Diploma programme and 16.1% qualified for a Higher Certificate programme. These stats prove why more...

  • Ghana is next destination for Seedstars World [update]

    The next leg of international pitching event, Seedstars World, is heading to Accra, Ghana, on its way to the finals in Switzerland. This round takes place with the support of local ambassador Impact Hub. "Impact Hub Accra is at the centre of an exciting and growing startup ecosystem in Ghana, we offer a wide range of opportunities for dynamic startups to grow and scale, such opportunities includes global partnership with organisations such as Seedstars," said community manager at Impact Hub Accra, Victor Ofoegbu, in a press release to Ventureburn. Startups wanting to participate will need to be less than two years old, raised...

  • Radio 702, Cape Talk, Sage One 2016 Small Business Awards nominations now open

    Nominations are now open for the 2016 Small Business Awards, held by Radio 702, Cape Talk, and Sage One. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the prize pot, sponsored by Sage One and worth R1-million, will be split between the overall winners and runners-up in Gauteng and the Western Cape. The winners in each region will receive an advertising package of R250 000 on 702/Cape Talk. From Sage, they’ll receive a laptop with free access to their Accounting and Payroll software as well as a training course or seminar of their choice and a year’s worth of software support. The runners-up...

  • Sage Summit 2016 to host over 15 000 entrepreneurs

    What began as a small business venture 30 years ago has now become the meeting point for millions of entrepreneurs from across 23 countries. This year's Sage Summit will look to inspire new and old entrepreneurs alike. The Sage Summit 2016 looks to break last year's figures, with expectations to double capacity.  The event which will also host some of the world's leading brand ambassadors and entertainers will seek to employ their knowledge and passions to those in attendance. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn: "For the first time, Sage Summit will have a dedicated series of events for...

  • Demo Africa to showcase 11 South African finalists

    DEMO Africa, a flagship initiative of Lions@Africa, helps connect startups across the continent to relevant markets, offering them an opportunity to bring their dreams to life. This year's event sees 11 South African startups representing the nation out of a total of 30 finalists. Demo Africa, which saw 723 applicants, began in Nairobi, before moving to Kenya, Lagos and Nigeria. For the first time ever, the event will take place in Johannesburg. The 723 applicants were whittled down to 131, coming down to the final 30. Eleven of the finalists are South African, while six are Nigerian, five are Kenyan, three represent Ghana....