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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • It’s a lie, says investor over Polish man’s Nigerian ‘Godfather’ blackmail claims

    A Polish entrepreneur who claims that his Nigerian business partners tried to blackmail him into paying $300 0000 by using an Interpol arrest, is spinning a lie -- says a Nigerian businessman. It follows Marek Zmyslowski's post last Thursday (14 February) on Medium that has rocked Nigeria's tech scene (see this story). In a post today on Facebook group Silicon Africa, Edmund Diddles -- who on Facebook lists himself as the CEO and founder of G-Pay Instant Payment Solutions and as living in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- alleges in a comment (see image below) that the Polish entrepreneur has been telling "a lie" and claims...

  • How Nigerian business partner tried to bribe, take over my startup – Polish man

    It reads like "a shitty Hollywood B" film. A Polish entrepreneur has caused a storm by claiming that his Nigerian business partners tried to take over his startup and that they used the police to try to arrest and extradite him to Nigeria, while trying to blackmail him of $300 000. Marek Zmyslowski's post last Thursday (14 February) on Medium has rocked Nigeria's tech scene. Days later, the hashtag Malek was trending as eighth highest for Nigeria on Twitter on Saturday (16 February). Zmyslowski (pictured above) co-founded Jumia Travel, that quickly became one of the biggest hotel booking sites in Africa,...

  • Four Sars Section 12J venture capital funds that invest in SA tech startups

    South Africa's venture capital (VC) tax incentive allows investors that invest in accredited VC companies that then invest in small businesses, to make a tax deduction of 100% in the year that the investment was made. To date the SA Revenue Service (Sars) has approved over 120 such funds (find the list here). But very few invest in tech startups. While Sanari Capital and its Section 12J fund last year invested in two tech startups -- Internet of Things (IoT) platform Sensor Networks and Snapt, which provides applications delivery controller solutions (see here and here) -- there are really just four funds...

  • Section 12J funds that invest in property are a tax dodge says Vinny Lingham

    Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham says too many funds approved under South Africa’s Section 12J venture capital (VC) tax incentive are using “financial re-engineering” such as investing in property, to allow the rich to “dodge” paying tax. The incentive, which came into effect in 2009, entitles investors that invest in accredited VC companies that then invest in small businesses, to make a tax deduction of 100% in the year that the investment was made. To date the SA Revenue Service (Sars) has approved over 120 such funds. Lingham, who it was revealed earlier this month is involved in a...

  • SA financial sector authority drafts another paper on equity crowdfunding

    While some may be wondering when South Africa will get its own regulations governing equity crowdfunding, the authority that oversees financial regulations in South Africa appears to be in no rush to draft rules -- having recently completed yet another internal paper on crowdfunding. The latest -- a position paper on crowdfunding regulations -- follows the drafting of a research paper by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) on equity crowdfunding regulations that the body (when it was still known as the FSB) completed in 2017. The lack of regulation has been cited by some in the sector as the reason...

  • Why we invested in soda drink startup Pura, explains Knife Capital

    It's not just tech that SA venture capital (VC) firm Knife Capital invests in. Today the VC -- which has invested in a number of SA tech deals in recent years -- announced that it had invested in SA beverage startup Pura. Knife Capital did not disclose the amount it had invested in the company, which has developed a low-sugar soda beverage. Knife Capital partner Andrea Bohmert said only that the investment was a "Series-A funding round" in return for a significant minority stake. The VC company invests via a consortium of funding partnerships, including a SA Revenue Service (Sars) Section 12J VC Company...

  • We’re no Rocket Internet says Founders Factory Africa head

    The head of UK-based Founders Factory's new Africa unit, Roo Rodgers, says his venture builder and accelerator is no Rocket Internet -- as it's focused on building totally novel companies and not copycat firms as the controversial German venture builder company is often accused of building. This, after Founders Factory Africa last week issued a call (see here) saying it was looking for a CEO to help build a fintech business called Project Nelson, which is aimed at helping low-income workers to essentially factor their salary and in so doing avoid having to approach loan sharks. In October last year Founders...

  • Outcry as department’s Gazelles programme stalls on grants, support

    When it was launched in 2016, the Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu hailed the National Gazelles programme as a key intervention that would help fast growing firms (commonly called gazelles) to grow exponentially and create the jobs the country badly needs. The programme, which is run by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), aims to help 40 promising firms to grow the value of their business 20% year-on-year over three years, with a mixture of business support and access to grants of up to R1-million (from the Department of Small Business Development) to purchase machinery and equipment...

  • SA VC Kingson Capital launches R400m fund to target tech startups, black SMEs [Updated]

    Durban based venture capital (VC) company Kingson Capital today announced the launch of a R400-million VC fund aimed at investing in 30 to 50 tech startups and black-owned small businesses. The VC was founded in 2015 and is a registered Section 12J VC company. The announcement of its High-Growth Tech and Black-Owned SME Fund was made by Kingson Capital in a press release today and follows the news on Friday (1 February) that SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham is involved in a new R500-million Section 12J VC company fund (see here). In Kingson Capital's first fund (Fund One -- see...

  • New Vinny Lingham linked R500m VC fund currently mulling 15 investments [Updated]

    Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham is partnering with an investment house in South Africa in a new R500-million venture capital (VC) fund, which has already identified 15 investments, the fund's CEO Deven Govender revealed today. Govender heads the Lion Pride Agility VCC Fund, a new partnership between investment house Lion Pride and Lingham's angel investment company Newton Partners. Lingham (pictured above) is also the founder of startup Civic and a former judge on TV show Dragon's Den and Shark Tank SA. The new fund is in the form of a registered VC company under the SA Revenue Services's (Sars)...

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