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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Pitching to Woolworths? Not just about idea, but team behind it – online head

    Do you have an idea for an app or platform that you want to pitch to Woolworths? Getting the retailer's attention is not just about how strong your idea or solution is, but comes down to the potential of the person or the team that is involved, says the retailer's head of online Liz Hillock. In a Q&A below, Hillock responded to questions from Ventureburn on what to prepare yourself for as a tech entrepreneur looking to sell an innovative solution to Woolworths. It’s difficult for any corporate to invest in an idea that is untested. Consider getting a proof of concept...

  • TIA increases seed funding per applicant to R650 000 for innovative projects

    Looking to fund your innovative idea? The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) has increased the amount in seed funding that entrepreneurs and innovators that develop innovative solutions can access - from R500 000 to R650 000 per project. TIA's head of technology stations and IATs, Vusi Skosana, yesterday confirmed the increase per application, following an emailed enquiry from Ventureburn. The seed fund, which the agency launched in 2013, has two streams - one that channels seed funding through technology transfer centres at universities and science centres to innovative projects and another that works with a number of small business support organisations in provinces to...

  • SA eating out app Feastfox nets $175 000 from Silicon Valley investors

    Cape Town eating-out app Feastfox today announced that it had successfully closed an angel fundraising round, raising $175,000 (R2.3 million) primarily from Silicon Valley-based angels and venture-capital (VC) firms. A mobile startup out of Stanford University -- with a presence in Silicon Valley, Cape Town and Budapest -- Feastfox claims to allow diners to “book now, eat now”. The funding is from angels and VCs including Co-Creation Capital, Dorm Room Fund and top angel investors such as Larry Kubal, founder and managing partner of Labrador Ventures, a seed stage-focused Silicon Valley venture fund with more than $200-million under management. Feastfox co-founder, Cape Town local, Stuart Murless (pictured above)...

  • Wanna pitch to Vodacom? Don’t come with vague ideas, executive tells startups

    With Vodacom receiving between 20 and 30 pitches a month from startups, entrepreneurs can't afford to approach the cellular provider with ideas that are vague or poorly researched, says Fatima Hassim, the managing executive for SME at Vodacom Business. Hassim says startups with innovative ideas for apps or platforms should describe their solution in as much detail as possible and provide Vodacom with an estimation of the solution's market size and potential. "Make sure you have a short, concise summary at the top: you need to catch the reader's attention in the first five minutes," she says. Describe the solution in as much detail as possible, provide...

  • These are the three trends likely to drive healthtech, disruption in the future

    Innovation in health care is likely to be driven by three key trends in the future -- an increasing demand for accountable care, the consumerisation of health care and the digital delivery of health care. This makes the sector ripe for disruption, says South African neurosurgeon David Roytowski. Speaking at a seminar hosted by Bowmans and venture capital company Havaic at Bowman's offices in the city on Thursday, Roytowski, who is based at Tygerberg Hospital, said these three trends will likely influence the quality, cost and access to health care. He added that increasing focus on one of these elements will likely...

  • IBM programme opened my eyes to new possibilities, says tech entrepreneur

    Being part of IBM's enterprise development programme for the past year has "opened" his eyes to new growth possibilities, says Kuben Naicker, the founder of IT Aware. "It has pretty much opened our eyes on how to grow our product... to look for new subscribers," says Naicker, whose 17-year old IT firm conducts skills and job profile assessments on behalf of the country's Skills Education and Training Authorities (Setas). Naicker, who is due to exit the programme at the end of this month, has benefited from both training as well over R400 000 in software and hardware support. It includes a new server, access...

  • HealthTech app, platform builders face legal hurdles in SA, hear delegates

    HealthTech app and platform developers in South Africa are being held back by rules and regulations, which has seen at least one locally developed platform shift its focus to Kenya, delegates heard at a healthtech seminar held in Cape Town yesterday. The seminar was hosted by law firm Bowmans and venture capital company Havaic at Bowman’s offices in the city. Neurosurgeon David Roytowski, who is based at Tygerberg Hospital, noted that patients have become more willing than before to accept health-care advice via digital platforms rather than by way of face-to-face advice. But he pointed out that health-care legislation in South Africa remains a major...

  • Show your work, don’t just share ideas, Capitec innovation head tells startups

    Entrepreneurs should be ready to show their work and not just share their ideas, says Capitec bank's manager for innovation Francois Dempers. In an interview with Ventureburn, Dempers -- who oversees innovation in the bank's digital solutions division -- says tech entrepreneurs who want to sell their ideas for apps or platforms to the bank should remain open and honest about what their product can and cannot do. "Do not oversell your product or service and get straight to business. Leave your business guy at home and bring your techie instead. We prefer authentic experiences right from the start of a relationship," says Dempers. 'Capitec prefers authentic experiences...

  • You don’t need to be super wealthy high net individual to be an angel investor

    The outlook for the South African economy may be grim. The Reserve Bank forecasts that the economy will grow at just 0.5% this year. Yet the one thing that looks hot right now is the tech startup sector. While the number of investors taking advantage of a new tax incentive has picked up of late, a whole list of SA startups have recently been acquired by foreign companies, bringing healthy returns to investors. Read more: Investors clamouring for 12J VC incentive following tax hike – fund managers Read more: Are these the 10 all-time biggest exit deals for SA startups? And you don't...

  • SA bookings site Afristay aims to take on AirBnB following R7m funding injection

    One of the hardest things to get right when running an accommodation booking site is how to grow the number of listings of establishments, while maintaining quality-control and ensuring accurate real-time availability, to avoid double bookings, says Afristay CEO Rupert Bryant. Yet under Bryant (pictured above) the company -- formerly known as Accommodation Direct -- looks to be getting it right -- and now aims to take on better resourced booking platforms like AirBnB. Last week the company unveiled its new name Afristay. It follows funding of R7-million Bryant and his two fellow directors -- his brother Oliver and Ric Meulemans -- raised in April (22% of which was from...