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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • How wiGroup founder switched gears to build growth company around people

    Even before a recent shared dinner, wiGroup founder Bevan Ducasse has sought to follow entrepreneur Richard Branson's advice on creating a company where staff can thrive. Ducasse recently met with the Virgin founder in the Cape Winelands town of Franchoek, before later inking a deal which saw the Virgin Group make an undisclosed investment in the Cape Town based mobile software firm. The deal was announced yesterday by wiGroup. Read more: SA fintech wiGroup secures funding from Virgin, Smollan to boost global expansion "He (Branson) took a liking to the company and the technology we're building," said Ducasse. "I was fortunate to have dinner with him," he says. Branson,...

  • Dry Bath founder’s water saving proposal hits wall with city, government officials

    Cape Town is in the middle of perhaps its worst water crisis, but South African award-winning entrepreneur Ludwick Marishane says city officials and national government have yet to take up his proposal to supply millions of sachets of his Dry Bath product to city residents. The product, a gel which can be used as a substitute to showering, can save the city millions of litres of water if the city goes ahead and orders millions of sachets. Speaking to Ventureburn following the launch today of a campaign to sell R1-million's worth of Dry Bath sachets at R25 each on crowdfunding platform ThundaFund, Marishane, the founder of Headboy Industries, says...

  • Capital flight talk over says Grovest man on launch of R200m Metta Capital fund

    The talk of "capital flight" from South Africa has come to an end, believes venture capitalist Jeff Miller, following the launch yesterday of Metta Capital, the first 12J VC fund of funds. Miller, who yesterday launched the fund with fellow Grovest venture capitalist Malcom Segal, aims to raise R200-million from investors by 23 February 2018 to invest in eight Section 12J funds. The funds are in areas such as logistics, mining, hospitality, retail, energy and telecommunications. "I think the December ANC conference has settled things," said Miller referring to the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president. He noted a "complete change" from high net worth individuals -- many who previously would have...

  • Pargo in talks with Alibaba to become delivery partner for ecommerce giant

    South African logistics startup Pargo is working with Alibaba to look at how the startup can use its smart logistics network to play a key role in improving the ecommerce giant's logistics on the African continent, says the startup's co-founder Lars Veul. "It's still early days, but we're looking at exploring them to use our network in South Africa," Veul said today. In November last year the startup was selected as the first SA delegate to join 24 other startups on the two-week long Alibaba and UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) hosted initiative the eFounders Initiative Entrepreneurship Training Programme, in the city of Hangzhou, China. Read more: Five things...

  • SA Reserve Bank expects clarity on sandboxes, taxing bitcoin by middle 2018

    The SA Reserve Bank says it is still reviewing its position on cryptocurrrency and sandboxes, and anticipates that it will be in a better place to comment on this by the middle of this year. While the Reserve Bank’s current position on virtual currencies is set out in the Position Paper on Virtual Currencies issued in 2014, Ventureburn this week asked the Reserve Bank whether it would be allowing sandboxes for testing of blockchain and bitcoin applications. While at present coin exchanges are required to report cryptocurrency transactions to the Reserve Bank, Ventureburn asked the Reserve Bank if it had taken a decision on implementing any further...

  • Gron Digital betting on $57m platform to improve gambling operators’ image

    Tebogo Makamo, the former head of compliance at the Gauteng Gambling Board, is hoping that his blockchain platform Gron Digital will become an industry standard in making the gambling sector more transparent. The startup launched a pre-initial coin offering (pre-ICO) earlier this week. The platform, claims Makamo, will use blockchain (and smart contracts specifically) to among other things, improve transparency around gambling winnings and ensure that South Africans stick to the law and use only licensed operators to gamble online. The startup plans to launch the ICO proper on 6 February and raise the equivalent of 57 000 Ethereum coins (valued at $57.4-million on 24 January...

  • 8 Gauteng startups to watch in 2018 [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. The 2017 Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey powered by Telkom Futuremakers found that though the Western Cape is still the most popular region in South Africa in which to run a tech startup, it's losing ground to the country's richest province -- Gauteng. In this piece we take a look at eight Gauteng-based startups to keep an eye on in 2018. Pineapple This insurtech startup in August last...

  • SA tech startups to benefit from WiFi, fibre, hub support in main cities

    Tshepo Thlaku is one of hundreds of tech entrepreneurs in the country's main cities that will be getting a boost with the laying hundreds of kilometres of fibre internet, rolling out new WiFi hotspots and vamping up of entrepreneurial support. "I would say the hubs are driving startups to an extent," says Tlhaku referring to the Gauteng province's Innovation Hub and its various eKasiLabs township hubs, with which the City of Tshwane has partnered. His Pretoria-based company Pulego Communications in 2015 won a R300 000 grant from the City of Tshwane in an innovation competition, for a safety app that city metro police are now...

  • Former gambling board man behind Gron Digital says ICO is backed by experts

    The man behind an initial coin offering (ICO) expected to launch next month has played down the negativity surrounding the use of ICOs and claims his ICO -- which aims to tackle legacy issues of trust and fair competition in the gambling sector -- will be backed by "trusted" experts. In a press release today announcing the launch of its pre-ICO to develop an open gaming platform, CEO of Gron Digital Tebogo Makamo said ICOs have recently seen plenty of negative press surrounding them as they’ve been "overdone, overworked and have often under-delivered”. “However, not all ICO’s are created equal and the one developed by...

  • SA startup Luno’s Malaysian bank account still frozen as tax probe continues

    Almost a week in SA bitcoin exchange Luno's bank account in Malaysia remains shut, after being frozen by the country's tax authority late last week. It follows a statement issued last Saturday (13 January) by the company that its account -- held under the name of its local entity BitX Malaysia – was frozen by the tax authority pending an investigation. In a report in Malaysian newspaper The Star today Inland Revenue Board’s (IRB) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Sabin Samitah said the tax authority is carrying out the audit to determine whether the cryptocurrency company has complied with the statutory requirement under the...