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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Market readiness key when investing in startups – 4Di Capital founder [Q&A]

    For a venture capital (VC) fund, finding the perfect investment comes down to not only things such as investing in the “perfect" founders with the “perfect" tech -- but to the market readiness of an investee's product or service. This, says venture capitalist Justin Stanford is probably the most difficult variable to get right when investing in startups. Stanford's Cape Town based VC company 4Di Capital, which he started in 2011, has so far made 14 investments. "Some analysis of thousands of VC investments in the past has shown that market demand during the life of the investment is the most important success criteria....

  • Startups need at least 10x in 5 years to be good investment – VC, angel investors

    Want to get investment from an angel or venture capital (VC) investor? You're going to have be able to grow the valuation of your startup by about five times a year and return to investors 10 times what they invested in your company -- all in just five years. Most South African based VCs Ventureburn spoke to this month say they look to return to investors 10 times their initial investment and grow the value of an investment at about 30% to 40% per year for about five years. “To achieve 10X in five years you need to be growing at above 50%...

  • Swarm Fund aims to raise raise $35m in loans for African farmers with FarmCoin

    Blockchain for private equity the Swarm Fund is likely to raise $35-million in revenue for 87 500 African farmers in the initiative's first year by helping sell their surplus crops, says the co-chairman and founder of commodities exchange platform FinComEco, Hirander Misra. Misra's company is partnering in with the US-based Swarm Fund in a joint venture together with Block Commodities, (formerly African Potash), which is a vertically integrated platform for the mining, production, and distribution of fertiliser. In an email to Ventureburn following the announcement of the initiative last week, Misra said he based the estimates off his organisation's experience in investing $10-million for smallholder farmers in Malawi using traditional...

  • Ekasi Bucks to launch ‘world’s first crypto-mall, bitcoin taxis for townships’

    Just months after a failed initial coin offering (ICO), South African blockchain consultancy Ekasi Bucks plans to launch what it calls "the world's first crypto-mall and on-demand transport service for townships". The two services will be unveiled this Monday (21 May) by the startup in three launches in Gauteng, namely in Mabopane, Soshanguve and Soweto. The launch comes after the Gauteng based startup last year sought to raise R50-million in an ICO to fund a blockchain-based rewards programme for township residents that buy from certain affiliated township businesses. But the ICO raised just R500 000, most of which was returned to investors. Read more: SA’s Ekasi Bucks ICO falls short of R50m target,...

  • New mapping tool like Strava for public transport planners says GoMetro founder

    Cape Town mobility startup GoMetro yesterday launched a new self-service application for transport planners to better map and plan transport routes. The startup will partner with Italian company GMG Technology to help distribute the app in foreign markets. Speaking at a launch at the MEST Incubator in Cape Town, the startup's CEO and founder Justin Coetzee called the new business intelligence and planning platform that his team has spent two years working on "like Strava, but for public transport". The platform links to a data manager and planning tool that produces maps and graphs in real time from data collected via a smartphone app. Transport planners and software developers can use the service...

  • Tech startup site Disrupt Africa mum on how it collects data for $150 reports [Updated]

    With the release of its sixth research publication last week, the founder of startup news site Disrupt Africa has again chosen to remain mum on how exactly his team sources data on the number and deal value of startups on the continent. This comes after Disrupt Africa released its latest report "Agrinnovating for Africa: Exploring the African Agri-Tech Startup Ecosystem Report 2018" last Friday. In a summary of the report contained on its website (see here) Disrupt Africa claims that $19-million has been invested in agritech startups in Africa over the past two years. The report, which was carried in a Forbes article on 9 May, claims the continent...

  • With corporates you gotta have patience of saint – Sensor Networks founder [Q&A]

    Startups must have the patience of a saint when doing business with corporates. So, says Sensor Networks founder Mark Allewell, whose Cape Town startup last week announced that it had secured another round of funding, of R13-million from various local funders. His company is currently working with five insurance companies to roll out its Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. "From my experience, sometimes it’s good to be brutally honest with corporate people that you deal with, as they are people as well and if the relationship can’t take criticism, then it’s not worth having that relationship," adds Allewell (pictured above). And he should know. Before Sensor Networks he'd started and...

  • Seedstars mulls expansion of co-working offering Seedspace in Nigeria [Q&A]

    Seedstars, a Swiss-based organisation that supports startups in emerging markets, is looking to "analyse" the possibility of expanding its co-working offering Seedspace within Nigeria, Romulo Navarrete, head of operations at Seedspace, a Seedstars initiative has revealed. Seedspace currently has seven hubs, with three of these located in Africa -- in Lagos, Nigeria; Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Cape Town, South Africa. "In terms of the best-performing (Seedspace) hub (in Africa), I'd say Seedspace Lagos is by far the best and this might be because of the potential that Nigeria has an entrepreneurial ecosystem and also because in Lagos we deploy pretty much all our Seedstars activities,"...

  • How Moroccan entrepreneur chose SA to launch wearable security device Seon

    When Moroccan entrepreneur Samia Haimoua and her three German co-founders of startup Seon were looking for a country to launch their wearable panic button, they chose South Africa over Morocco. More specifically they chose Cape Town. The four, who launched the startup in July last year, expect to begin selling their security device to Cape Town residents later this month and are also in talks with a ride-sharing company. When activated the device sends a call for help via the user's cellphone to the nearest security officials. Seon promises users reaction times of no more than five minutes and Haimoua claims that in tests the startup has...

  • Sensor Networks nets new funding round of R13-million to expand IoT products

    Just months after securing funding from 4Di Capital, Cape Town based Internet of Things (IoT) platform Sensor Networks has secured a further round of investment -- of R13-million, from 4Di Capital, Sanari Capital, which led the round and The Asisa ESD Fund, managed by Edge Growth. The current round of funding -- which follows a smaller round of investment that the startup announced in August last year -- is for expansion capital and new-product development. Sensor Networks founder Mark Allewell (pictured above with his team, fourth from left) told Ventureburn today that the funding would help expand the three-year old startup's B2B products which it...

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