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All posts by Matthew Alexander

  • Three MENA developers win Facebook’s Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge

    Facebook has announced the three winners of its Facebook's Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge, launched earlier this year. The social media company made the announcement on Monday. The selected winners, from the Middle East and North Africa, have competed against startups from across 64 countries and have each won $20 000 and three months of mentorship from Facebook. The challenge was launched on 15 February. "It's been nearly five months since we first invited submissions for the 2017 Bots for Messenger Challenge and we’re excited to share the winners," said Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa in...

  • DFS Labs invests $250 000 in four African, US startups

    The Digital Financial Services Labs (DFS Labs), an initiative backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has announced that it'll be investing $250 000 in four separate fintech startups. "We are excited to have the opportunity to invest in companies that are focusing on consumers in emerging markets," DFS director Jake Kendall said yesterday in a press release. The four were chosen out of an initial nine startups that presented their products at the DFS Lab's Fintech Bootcamp in Sri Lanka earlier this year. 'Expanding access to digital financial services can transform people's lives' In addition to finance, the chosen companies will also receive six...

  • King Baudouin Foundation puts African startups in presence of Belgium royalty

    Independent pluralistic body The King Baudouin Foundation has awarded three young entrepreneurs the King Baudouin African Development Prize for their contribution to social change across Africa. The biennial award ceremony took place yesterday at the Royal Palace in Brussels and was attended by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium. "Young entrepreneurs are changing the economic landscape on the continent. They represent the future, a future that is happening now. Illustrating this in three key sectors was the only way of doing justice to the diversity of this transformation," said the chair of the prize selection committee Koen Vervaeke in a press release. This marks the...

  • Wallettec to represent South Africa at the EcoBank Fintech Challenge

    Online payment solution Wallettec will today (20 June) represent South Africa, competing against 19 other companies at the EcoBank Fintech Challenge held in Togo. "South Africa is filled with really great startups and businesses especially in the fintech space, being the only one selected for this event is truly an honour," said Wallettec's founder, Johan Meyer in an interview with Ventureburn. Founded in 2013, Wallettec allows merchants to process any payment without transmitting any personal or payment information. Currently operating out of six countries including Kenya, Uganda and SA, the company will be establishing a presence in Ghana as well. Meyer explained...

  • Singularity University’s international summit heading to Africa for first time

    Singularity University (SU) is finally coming to Johannesburg. The Silicon Valley think tank is expected to host its first international conference, SingularityU Summit, in the city on 23 and 24 August. The summit will be held in collaboration with Standard Bank and other partners including MTN, SAP and Deloitte. "Singularity University is proud to be working with Standard Bank and Mann Made Media to host this first-ever SingularityU South Africa Summit, and to connect with Africa’s leaders and organisations shaping the future," said associate founder and CEO of SU Rob Nail in a press release. The summit aims to address innovative technologies and entrepreneurs in the sectors of...

  • Mozambique’s Móvelcare selected for Seedstars global summit

    Insurance startup Móvelcare has been selected to represent Mozambique at global entrepreneurial competition Seedstars World's summit in Switzerland next year. The Mozambican leg of Seedstars World concluded last week at the Standard Bank incubator in Maputo. Twelve startups pitched their ideas for a shot to represent the country at the Seedstars World Global Summit in Switzerland next year. Startups from all around the world will come together to compete for up to $500 000 in equity investment. The Maputo event was held in support from Standard Bank and local ambassador UX Information Technologies. In addition Seedstars World partnered with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [19/06/2017]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or catch up on some of your skills? Well, you've come to the right place. There are loads of competitions, networking sessions and workshops happening around South Africa and the rest of the continent (namely Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana) that we've rounded them up to make your life a bit easier. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list,...

  • Seven Startups make it into the BongoHive Launch programme

    Zambian startup hub BongoHive kicked off its Launch Accelerator programme this week by inviting seven startups as its fifth cohort. During the 12-week programme, startups will undergo a series of workshops and get to share a co-working space with other Launch startups. The startups will also be matched with an industry mentor, have access to legal advice and be able to work with BongoHive's in-house accounting and finance lead. Some of the mentors on the programme include Irene Banda Mutalima, founder and director Tucuza Associates; Mwawi Phiri, senior manager procurement and logistics at MTN and Mawano Kambeu, founder and MD at Dot Com Zambia.  The seven startups selected for the programme are: ...

  • The Foschini Group produces another initiative powered by a startup

    Startup Pargo and major retail corporation The Foschini Group (TFG) have partnered again to launch their Collect In Store initiative. TFG and Pargo, which helps co-ordinate deliveries, previously partnered to launch TFG’s Deliver 2 Me service. The Collect In Store project will allow customers to purchase their items online and collect them at their nearest TFG store within an eight-day period. The initiative will be tested across @home, Foschini, Markham, Sportscene and Totalsports stores within the Western Cape before expanding nationally. Lars Veul and Derk Hoekert (pictured left and right, respectively), directors and co-founders at Pargo commented on the recent partnership in a press release...

  • Will SA startup Moonrock energise local portable power sector?

    Taking on a saturated market isn't always the smartest move when it comes to starting a business. However Cape Town startup Moonrock, is doing just that. Founded by Marcel Hattingh in 2016, the startup retails single-use emergency powerbanks through merchants who sell them to customers wanting to recharge their cellphones in a hurry. The powerbanks are offered through merchants who can only make use of them once before having to return them to Moonrock to be charged. Hattingh came up with the idea after getting tired of relying on plugging his devices directly into the wall. One of Hattingh's team members, Josh Swart, detailed to Ventureburn how...