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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • JUMO first SA startup to be selected for Google Launchpad Accelerator

    South African fintech startup JUMO has become the first South African startup to be selected by Google for its Launchpad accelerator. The announcement was made yesterday by Google on the Google Developers Blog, with JUMO chosen alongside 32 other startups, including five others from Africa, to join the accelerator. As part of being selected onto the accelerator JUMO's leaders will embark upon a two-week bootcamp at Google's headquarters in California from 17 to 28 July, while the startup will get six months ongoing support and mentorship and $50,000 in funding. Speaking to Ventureburn from Myanmar, where he is investigating new business opportunities, JUMO founder and CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball said he was excited as...

  • Architect of Kenya’s Silicon Savannah hits out at delays at Konza Techno City

    Progress on Kenya’s Konza Techno City, dubbed “Silicon Savannah”, has been too slow while insufficient budget has been allocated to complete the initiative, says Bitange Ndemo, the man who conceived Konza eight years ago. While construction started in November on the first building – an eight-storey unit to host techno city operations and house early investors and innovators -- Ndemo, (pictured above) associate professor at the University of Nairobi's Business School, is critical of delays. “It’s not very difficult to do it (set up a techno city) but from my own assessment they have taken too long,” says Ndemo, who is also a former ICT permanent...

  • Venture capitalist questions why so few women involved in angel investing in SA

    Why are there so few women angel investors in South Africa? It's a question that continues to puzzle local venture capitalist Andrea Bohmert. “I would love to have the answer to that question, because I don’t have it,” said Bohmert, a partner in venture capital (VC) fund Knife Capital. Bohmert was speaking at a women in angel investing event hosted by the SA Business Angels Network (Saban) last night at FNB’s offices in Cape Town. She pointed out that just one of the 24 investors in Knife Ventures -- Knife Capital's VC company approved by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) in August last year --...

  • Winning Cape Town startups to tackle water crisis with innovative solutions

    With the City of Cape Town seeking to introduce further water restrictions from 1 June, city authorities would do well to turn to entrepreneurs from four local startups who have designed innovative solutions. The four startups last night won a pitching challenge hosted by Stellenbosch University's LaunchLab to design solutions to tackle water and waste management. Their prize includes incubation and business support from the incubator. The four -- chosen from 11 participants -- are: Bridgiot: which has developed an internet-of-things solutions to provide instant notifications to users on their water usage. The startup is led by Jurie Envee. AlwaysOn founder Nico Pretorius is also involved in...

  • Applications open now for one-month Wits, MIT tech startups course

    Wits University, in conjunction with MIT Sloan School of Management, has opened applications for teams interested in participating in the MIT Global Startup Labs Programme which starts in Johannesburg next month. The event runs from 24 June to 29 July at Tshimologong, Wits University's Digital Innovation Precinct, and will provide opportunities for participants to learn and experience the process of innovating and building a tech startup. Joburg Centre of Software Engineering (JCSE) director and Tshimologong founder Barry Dwolatzky said in a press release to Ventureburn that applicants need to exhibit a sense of cohesion, drive, and creativity. "We are looking for teams of three to five people...

  • How over 70% of scale-ups fail and what entrepreneurs can do about it

    It’s a startup’s worst nightmare – having grown to over 100 employees everything suddenly slows. The bills start piling up but without growth you're unable to meet the higher costs that your bigger business is consuming. Everything you spent years building is about to come crumbling down. Jason Goldberg, founder of 10XE, has helped tens of entrepreneurs scale their business. Speaking at the Western Cape Funding Fair, held at the Cape Town Convention Centre on 10 May, Goldberg says while just the top one percent of startups end up scaling their business to a more sizeable firm, over 70% of these scale-ups end up stuck in...

  • ‘Nigeria’s high cost of doing business is holding back acquisition of startups’

    Nigeria's recession should have made the acquisitions of startups more affordable for foreign firms -- but instead the creation companies and building of new products has slowed because of the high cost of operating there, says Nigerian tech expert Emeka Okoye. "Unfortunately most startups are centred in Lagos which is one of the most expensive cities in the world," said Okoye in an interview with Ventureburn. The city is ranked at number 13 out of 209 cities by Mercer in its 2016 Cost of Living rankings. Much of the high cost of doing business is down to expensive internet and firms having to pay for diesel...

  • ‘Silicon Cape event to tackle lack of diversity in tech sector’

    Cape tech group Silicon Cape plans to address the lack of diversity in the Cape tech sector – a sector dominated by white males – at an event in Cape Town later this month. Entrepreneur Antoinette Prophy, who holds the diversity and transformation portfolio on Silicon Cape’s community council and runs business mentoring organisation 88collective, told Ventureburn today that the event – Tech eKasi – would be held on May 31. "Most of the boardrooms that I step into are (dominated by) pale males. It's our responsibility to bring more women into tech," she said. Prophy was speaking today as part of...

  • New Silicon Cape head pledges to make sector’s ‘old boys’ club’ more inclusive

    Silicon Cape's new managing director says she plans to get the Cape's tech scene -- long tagged as an "old boys' club", with moneyed white males dominating the region's startup ecosystem -- to become more inclusive. "Research I've done and the whispering I've heard is it (Cape) may not be inclusive and may be an old boys' club," Ellen Fischat told Ventureburn. "The fact of the matter is 20 years ago there were no black tech operators so what we see at the moment is a consequence of history," says Fischat, who started her new position yesterday (8 May). Fischat, who is from Port Elizabeth, has been involved in...

  • ‘We tried to partner with investors that gelled with us’ — CarZar on $1.5m deal

    Partnering with investors that complement them has helped SA tech startup and online car buying service CarZar.co.za land $1.5-million in funding from a Sweden-listed investment firm, says CarZar Joint managing director Fernando Pinheiro. Pinheiro announced the deal by Vostok New Ventures, which is also behind Russia's leading online classifieds company Avito, last week. He said the company was approached by several potential investors after opening its Series-A round of funding. He said CarZar was introduced to the investment company through common connections. "We tried to partner with investors that gelled with our business, enabling good synergies working together. Vostok New Ventures proved to be this type of investor....