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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • When you’re a mom running a growing tech startup it’s all about multitasking

    For tech entrepreneur Chantalle ten Napel Wilson being a mom and a business owner comes down to one thing -- a lot of multitasking. Wilson, the founder of online vehicle retailing platform Virtual Drive and a mother of two, recalls how she has often had to conclude business meetings inside her car with a client seated next to her, while rushing to pick up her children from school. But she says most of her clients who find themselves in her car finishing a meeting react only positively. “Most people have said that it’s incredible that you do this,” she says. Says Wilson: “As an investor once told...

  • Natalie du Toit linked startup Sports Podium launches app to track golf scores

    Having ditched plans to run an initial coin offering (ICO), a SA blockchain startup that includes Paralympic SA swimming star Natalie du Toit as one of its shareholders, is rolling out an app that will allow amateur golfers access to accurate scores of one another's game. Speaking to Ventureburn last week Sports Podium founder Jaco Rossouw said the startup launched the app in June. The app allows golfers to keep track of own another's scores using the blockchain as a verification method. The current version of the app is already available for download from the Apple i-Store. In addition, anyone with any other sporting apps will...

  • Wealth Migrate assessing market, exchanges before phase two of ICO

    SA startup Wealth Migrate is assessing market conditions and the timing of the security exchanges to work out when to launch the second phase of an initial coin offering (ICO) for its WealthE tokens, the startup's founder Scott Picken said. This, after the Cape Town based startup raised just over $3-million in the ICO's first phase which closed on 21 May. Through the ICO investors will be able to invest in global property portfolios. In an email to Ventureburn last Thursday (2 August) Picken said the startup has closed on phase one of the ICO, and is working on pivoting to a security token in phase two. "We closed phase one in...

  • Luno looking to hire 40 new staff at Cape office amid tech investment boom in city

    Amid a tech boom in Cape Town, SA bitcoin exchange Luno has gone on a hiring spree. The startup is looking to fill 40 new positions for the company's Cape Town office (see here), currently advertised on LinkedIn. These include among others, positions for software engineers, business analysts, fraud analysts, data scientist and tax analyst. The startup is also looking to fill four positions in Johannesburg. Luno founder Marcus Swanepoel said the startup -- which is headquartered in London with teams based in several cities across the world -- is likely to hire another 50 to 100 people in South Africa over the next nine to 12 months. “Yes...

  • Is Silvertree’s co-entrepreneur model the answer to Silicon Valley?

    What is a co-entrepreneur? A glorified manager or a true entrepreneur? For Silvertree Internet Holdings managing director and co-founder Manuel Koser a co-entrepreneur is any entrepreneur whose business the holding company buys out and then asks to stay on. Koser argued in an article on Ventureburn last month that the Silicon Valley model -- of investing round after round of funds through often minority stakes in a startup before exiting for tens of millions of dollars -- does not work in Africa. The alternative, he believes, is a holding company that buys up significant (usually majority) stakes in startups and turns their founders into what he terms...

  • SA drone startup Aerobotics launches bid to take on US market

    SA aerial data-analytics startup Aerobotics has hired a US representative and plans to expand into the US market, with a team from the startup set to embark on a sales visit to the US tomorrow (3 August). It follows the announcement the Cape Town based startup made last month that it had closed a Series-A funding round led by local bank Nedbank for an undisclosed amount (see this earlier story). Aerobotics co-founder James Paterson -- who founded the startup in 2014 with Benji Meltzer -- revealed the developments at a sales demo yesterday at Boshkloof Wine Estate near Stellenbosch. The demo was aimed at presenting the product...

  • ‘Luno making progress to get users’ money back from Malaysian account’ [Updated]

    Just over five months since Malaysia's tax authority took the decision to unfreeze SA bitcoin exchange Luno's Malaysian bank account, the startup says it is making progress in helping customers to get their money back. The tax authority in January froze the startup’s Malaysia bank account with Maybank, after it launched a probe into the cryptocurrency company’s activities in Malaysia. It unfroze the account in February. "We are making progress in Malaysia, but these things take time as you can understand," Vijay Ayyar, who leads the Luno's global countries team told Ventureburn in an email today. "Our immediate priority was to help customers get their money back which is...

  • ‘AlphaCode in drive to create pipeline of fintechs to invest in’ [Q&A]

    Joburg based fintech accelerator AlphaCode aims to create a pipeline of fintech firms in which Rand Merchant Bank -- which runs the programme -- can invest in and grow, says the programme's head Dominique Collett. Since it was established in 2015 AlphaCode has assisted 15 black-owned businesses through its AlphaCode Incubate programme with support as well as R13-million in funding. On Monday (30 July) AlphaCode launched a new call for applications for the programme. Read more: AlphaCode calls on black-owned fintech startups to apply to programme Collett (pictured above) tells Ventureburn more about how AlphaCode came about, how businesses can apply to the Incubate programme and what the main challenges...

  • ICOs may have frizzled but SA startups are closer to meeting targeted raises

    With the steady fall in the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum since the beginning of this year fewer local startups may be opting to run an initial coin offering (ICO). Yet it seems SA startups are getting more successful at running ICOs -- at least if reaching their targeted raise is anything to go by. While startups last year struggled to raise more than four percent of the capital they sought to raise through ICOs, SA startup Gron Digital claims to have already allocated 84% or over 50.4 million of its 60 million GRO tokens. The startup aims to -- through its blockchain platform -- become an industry standard in making...

  • Hitting the high road – what it takes to join Grindstone accelerator [Q&A]

    What do you perceive as success? Is owning a lifestyle business sufficient for you? Are you prepared to make changes to your business? These are some key questions that tech entrepreneurs looking to sign up to the Grindstone Accelerator programme should ask themselves before they apply, says Knife Capital co-managing partner Andrea Bohmert (pictured above). The Cape Town based venture capital (VC) firm last week launched a call for its fourth edition of the year-long programme – which aims to assist high-growth South Africa tech startups to scale up. Applications on close on 31 August. The call was launched in partnership with management consultancy Thinkroom. Read more: Knife Capital launches fourth edition of Grindstone Accelerator programme Knife Capital launched...