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All posts by Matthew Alexander

  • Seedstars World returns to Tanzania

    Seedstars World heads to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on 24 September as part of the lead-up to the Seedstars World final pitching competition in Switzerland in 2017. The criteria for possible candidates are as follows; the startup needs to be less than two years old, have raised less than US$500 000 in funding and have built a viable product which has existing traction within the relevant market.  The startup also needs to show possible regional and global scalability. "The startup ecosystem in Tanzania has been growing exponentially and so does the quality of the startups themselves. We are looking forward to see...

  • Tshimologong Precinct: Johannesburg’s new tech hub

    The Tshimologong Precinct has finally opened its doors, offering opportunities in startup incubation, digital skills training as well as research and training in general. The new precinct, which opened up in Braamfontein, was spearheaded by the University of Witwatersrand and Johannesburg's Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), and also backed by the national government, private sector and civil society. The person behind the initiative, Professor Barry Dwolatzky, is also the head of the JCSE at the University of Witwatersrand. Tshimologong, a seSotho phrase for "place of new beginnings", has taken old nightclubs and small retail outlets and turned them into integrated computer labs and...

  • Medical startup AikoCorp wins Seedstars World Mali pitching competition [update]

    Update: added in additional quotes The Bamako leg of Seedstars World in Mali has found its winner, AikoCorp. The startup is an SMS service for sending medical lab results to patients. This year was the first time ever that the global pitching competition visited Mali during its world tour which took place at the Impact Hub Bamako. "It was an amazing experience to have Seedstars World organise the event in Bamako. I saw a group of amazingly enthusiastic entrepreneurs who will show the world that we have amazing talent in the country," says CEO and founder of Impact Hub Bamako, Mohamed Keita, in...

  • DEMO Africa 2016 concludes for the first time in South Africa

    More than 600 delegates, 30 speakers, and four master classes concluded this year's DEMO Africa event, which is a launchpad for African tech startups. In the past, DEMO Africa events took place in Nairobi, Kenya before moving to Lagos, Nigeria for two years. For the first time since its inception, it has taken place in Johannesburg, South Africa. The DEMO Africa LIONS programme saw 723 applicants applying for the initiative. This list was eventually scaled down to 131, of which only 30 were chosen to pitch - five applicants were from South Africa. Three of the five startups selected at DEMO Africa are South...

  • BBOXX secures $20m investment, to step up in Kenya, Rwanda

    BBOXX, an off-grid solar company, has secured a US$20-million Series C investment to step up operations in Kenya and Rwanda. BBOXX not only designs and manufactures their plug and play solar solutions but manufactures them as well. More than 70 000 BBOXX products have been sold in over 35 countries, providing off-grid power to around 350 000 people, the company said in a blog post. The investment comes from Mackinnon, Bennett & Company (MKB), ENGIE Rassembleurs d'Energies and KawiSafi Ventures, as well as existing investors. "We are excited about the growth potential for the African off-grid solar market and delighted with BBOXX's rapid development," said Managing Director of ENGIE Rassembleurs...

  • Etudesk win the Côte d’Ivoire leg of Seedstars World

    Etudesk, a web platform which allows academic institutions to easily set up their e-learning platform, has won the Côte d'Ivoire round of Seedstars World. They will be heading to Switzerland for their spot in the final pitching event. The final event will have 65 startups pitching for their chance to grab US$1-million in prizes. The main prize is a US$500 000 equity investment and there's also a US$50 000 prize to the best startup in education. "We are very passionate about improving education not only in the country but in Africa. We really think that education has the power to improve people's lives and why not start...

  • Custos Media Technologies sign R5.9-million funding agreement with TIA

    Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) has concluded a R5.9-million investment agreement with anti-piracy company, Custos Media Technologies. The two-year agreement was brought forth after Custos ended a round of financing with high-profile investors which included Innovus Technology Transfer, an undisclosed South African Angel Investor, and a New York-based Currency Group. "TIA has again shown their commitment to support early­stage technology businesses in South Africa. The funding agreement will allow Custos to accelerate product development, while simultaneously freeing up resources to spend on bringing the product to the widest possible market," said CEO of Custos, G J. Van Rooyen. "Custos is a good example of the kind of innovation ventures for which TIA was established to provide support, where science and technology advancements are the basis for creating new products, services and global enterprises," concurred the head of ICT...

  • mSurvey secures Safaricom investment

    Kenyan survey/research platform mSurvey has secured a US $1-million investment from the Safaricom's Spark Venture Fund. This fund seeks to help Kenyan based mobile technology startups with great innovation potential. mSurvey leverages SMS and mobile to reach a wide audience for surveys and research. This is the second investment as well as the largest from the Spark Venture Fund to date. Safaricom Spark along with Silicon Valley's Cross Culture Ventures and the Virgin Group-backed, Caribbean Alpha Angels Network have all invested in mSurvey. The data research company will use the investment to drive M-PESA-related efforts. "This investment enhances our efforts to leverage mSurvey's highly-sophisticated technology...

  • This year’s PriceCheck E-Commerce Award finalists

    This year's PriceCheck E-Commerce Awards is set to kick off their tenth birthday by celebrating some of South Africa's outstanding innovators in the tech and ecommerce industries. "From start to finish, including the way in which the categories are defined, the votes counted, and the judges selected, the PriceCheck Tech & E-Commerce Awards offer up a uniquely unbiased and credible snapshot of what local e-tailers are up to," said founder and CEO of PriceCheck Kevin Tucker in a press release to Ventureburn. "Our goal is to draw attention to the advances that individuals are making in what remains a challenging sector,...

  • Edtech startup Chalkboard Education crowned winner of Seedstars World Accra

    Education initiative, Chalkboard Education, has been selected as the overall winner of pitching competition, Seedstars World Ghana. Chalkboard Education is a certified institution which offers a real degree certified by universities. It requires no internet connection and is accessible on any device via SMS. "If I judge by last years winners I think the global summit in Switzerland is going to be life changing. Last year’s winners Asoriba had an amazing year and we hope to be able to do the same with the help of the Seedstars platform," said The founder of Chalkboard Education and CEO, Adrien Bouillot Bouillot and his team will be headed...