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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • How SA tech entrepreneurs plan to take time out this festive season

    Taking time out is vital if you want to run a successful business. Sometimes you need to stop to see the wood from the trees. Which is why Ventureburn has sampled a number of tech startup founders on the value of taking a break and how they plan to spend this festive season. Giraffe co-founder Anish Shivdasani says he plans to take a week off and spend time with family, it’s what he does every year. He says it's critical to take breaks. The Joburg-based startup runs a web platform that matches job seekers with job placements. Early this year the startup closed a second funding round (see this...

  • Fintech Nala wins Seedstars Dar es Salaam, confirms Y-Combinator selection

    Tanzanian fintech Nala was yesterday selected as the winner of this year’s Seedstars Dar es Salaam, at a pitching event in Tanzania's capital. Nala is a mobile money application that works offline, allowing users to easily access multiple mobile money wallets faster. This, as Nala founder Benjamin Fernandes yesterday also confirmed to Ventureburn (following a tip off from an industry source) that the startup has been selected by the prestigious US seed accelerator Y-Combinator to take part in its 2019 batch. Fernandes declined to comment further, saying Y-Combinator had asked participants not to share publicly yet that they have been accepted. The accelerator usually makes seed investments in those startups that take part in...

  • SA startup Pineapple to take on US market with Hartford InsurTech Hub

    Just months after winning a place in the prestigious Google Launchpad Africa accelerator, Joburg based insurtech Pineapple has been accepted into the US based Hartford InsurTech Hub. The accelerator, which is funded by Startupbootcamp (affiliated with SBC Afritech in Cape Town) and has been running since last year, unveiled its 2019 cohort of startups last week, in an announcement carried on US publication Insurance Journal. According to the announcement, the 10 teams were selected from more than 230 applications and will relocate to Hartford, Connecticut in the US for the three-month programme which starts in February next year. Teams will get support in the form of mentorship...

  • SA’s Snapt on track for 1000% revenue growth after landing $3m investment

    Two years after raising $1-million in funding, SA tech company Snapt this week landed $3-million from three local investors -- Nedbank, Sanari Capital and Convergence Partners (which took part in the earlier round) -- and is on track to record a 1000% increase in revenue this financial year. The company, which was founded in 2012 by Dave Blakey (pictured above) and Douglas Cherry, did not disclose the size of the equity stake that the investors have taken in the company. Snapt provides applications delivery controller solutions which help websites and apps with load balancing, as well as web acceleration and security which enable business-critical websites to stay online and...

  • Blockchain fad is wearing off says man behind Jozi crypo startup DoshEx

    The fad around blockchain among startups and corporates has cooled, says the head of a Joburg-based company that develops blockchain solutions for local and international clients. "Last year you could mention blockchain and virtually anyone would open the door to you, now you need to demonstrate real value," cryptocurrency expert Alex de Bruyn (pictured above) told Ventureburn in a call yesterday. De Bruyn, runs Johannesburg based DoshEx, which launched an exchange platform in August that aims to help those it helps develop cryptocurrency and blockchain solutions to buy and sell digital tokens and claims to have already done work for Virgin Money SA (De Bruyn...

  • How SA startup Outsourced CFO almost closed its doors 18 months in

    Louw Barnardt may today run a successful firm offering startups and companies outsourced accounting and financial management, but there was a time -- just 18 months into starting the firm with two former university friends -- that he almost had to close the business's doors. Barnardt (pictured above), a former chartered accountant (CA) turned entrepreneur, is the winner of the R70 000 Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year award in the 2018 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year awards held in September. Today he runs Cape Town based Outsourced CFO which provides about 80 local and international companies (80% of them tech or innovative firms) with...

  • Why Shuttleworth investment failed – eight years on Red Five Labs man speaks

    It was touted at its time as ground breaking technology, one that would enable mobile apps to run on all smartphones regardless of a handset's operating system. So much so that SA entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth (who in 1999 sold internet security company Thawte for $575-million to Verisign) and the Department of Science and Technology's Innovation Fund jointly invested R4.5-million in the startup, according to a report at the time. A year after the investment in 2007, the startup -- Red Five Labs -- became one of the first investments that Shuttleworth's HBD Venture Capital exited from, when it was acquired by SA company Fed Group for an undisclosed amount. In 2007 Red Five Labs became one of...

  • It’s official: Cape Town healthtech startup is SA SME Fund’s first investment

    Ventureburn can today confirm that a venture capital deal concluded by Cape Town based KNF Ventures earlier this month in SA healthtech firm 5nines Technologies has made history -- as the first investment that the R1.4-billion SA SME Fund has effectively become involved in. The much awaited SA SME Fund, which is capitalised by 48 JSE-listed companies, was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa over two years ago when he was then deputy president. Knife Capital partner Keet van Zyl, whose VC oversees the R100-million KNF Ventures fund, confirmed on Monday that the SA SME Fund had concluded an investment of R20-million in KNF on 23 October and that the 5nines...

  • How introduction from VC helped Zelda Learning land R500k in angel funding

    An introduction from SA venture capitalist Andrea Bohmert has helped the founders of Cape Town edtech startup Zelda Learning secure the startup's first angel round of R500 000 from three local angel investors, the company announced this week. The startup, which runs a bursary management platform that helps organisations find and filter talented youth and fund their university studies, was founded in 2017 by three former UCT students -- Carla Wilby, Jasanth Moodley and Dominic Schorr (pictured above, from left to right). The latest funding round follows a R500 000 seed investment that the startup received in May, after joining the first cohort...

  • SA SME Fund in new mandate to invest over R1bn in black small firms, startups

    SA's long awaited SA SME Fund will invest just over R1-billion or 75% of its R1.4-billion in funds in black-owned small and medium-sized enterprises, including tech startups -- the fund's CEO Ketso Gordhan has revealed. The fund, which is capitalised by 48 JSE-listed companies was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa over two years ago when he was then deputy president -- but excluding about five backdated VC deals (most of which came about before the fund invested in a fund managed by VC fund Knife Capital last month), it has technically not yet begun lending to small businesses. Speaking to Ventureburn on Monday (19 November), the former PPC Cement head -- who took...