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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Adapt or be disrupted, Ran Neu-Ner implores business at Innovation Summit

    Business must adapt or risk being disrupted, marketer and Creative Council group Co-CEO Ran Neu-Ner, told delegates at a Cape Town conference. Speaking at the Innovation Summit at the Cape Town Stadium which kicked off today and runs until Friday, Neu-Ner said all businesses will need to move away from what they presently define themselves as doing and move to become data firms -- if they are to prosper in the future economy. He singles out the example of a recent Nike's sports app: "They got a 100 million users in three months because they started to say 'we're a data...

  • Tech startups crucial to Pick n Pay’s technology strategy says executive

    South Africa retail giant Pick n Pay has in the last year worked closely with "at least" 10 startups on various projects that have been delivered into the business, says the retailer's deputy CEO Richard van Rensburg. "Tech startups are crucial to Pick n Pay’s technology strategy," Van Rensburg told Ventureburn last week, in a set of emailed responses. He says over half of the retailer's spend on innovation is with startups. "We have recently completed re-platforming all our systems across the group , from in-store point-of-sale (systems) through logistics and distribution, buying, customer loyalty and finance. Our core business systems are up to date and...

  • SA VC firm Knife Capital expands to UK in deal with former rugby star Bob Skinstad

    Venture capital (VC) firm Knife Capital has expanded into London after introducing UK-based Draper-Gain Investments as a strategic investor. It follows Knife Capital's management buyout last week from JSE-listed African Dawn Capital. The London office will accelerate the international growth of companies within Knife Capital’s investment portfolio. Draper-Gain is a family office with significant global resources including existing investments in South Africa. The transaction was facilitated by entrepreneur and angel investor Bob Skinstad (pictured above, right) who is Knife Capital’s partner in KNF Ventures, a SA Revenue Services (Sars) Section 12J VC company. South African 12J schemes were created to promote early stage capital...

  • Crackdown on ICOs only a temporary setback believes Bitcoin Foundation head

    China’s announcement today that it has banned all initial coin offerings (ICOs) might be “unexpected”, says Bitcoin Foundation executive director Llew Claasen but is only a temporary setback for startups looking to raise capital through ICOs he adds. He said the decision by Chinese authorities to ban ICOs rather than to regulate them as the US is moving to do, is simply another way to "deal with it” and that going forward regulators are likely to gain a clearer understanding on what can and cannot be done. He added however that it would be “very unfortunate” for startups in need of early-stage venture capital (VC) finance...

  • Time is ripe for startups like Pineapple to disrupt insurance – Old Mutual manager

    Startups are set to disrupt the insurance business model fundamentally, says Stanley Gabriel, head of innovation at Old Mutual Personal Finance. Gabriel was responding to a question from Ventureburn on big trends he sees in the sector that startups should look out for. His comments follow the announcement last week by Johannesburg based insuretech startup Pineapple of a R5.2-million funding round from Lireas Holdings. "Overseas, Lemonade has disrupted the market, paying a claim in seconds, and locally Pineapple raised R5.2-million with their peer-to-peer insurance offering," Gabriel told Ventureburn. Read more: SA startup Pineapple secures R5.2m to take on short-term insurance market "I am excited about these developments and believe that...

  • 8 corporate managers that SA tech startups should meet [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. In this piece we take a look at eight managers of corporates that startups should meet if they're looking to pitch their app or web platform. Here are 8 corporate managers that SA tech startups with apps and web platforms should meet Follow the link beneath each for a more detailed interview with each corporate on what to look out for when looking...

  • Czech accelerator lures startups in with ‘cheap beer, beautiful girls, clever boys’

    Long-running Czech accelerator JIC STARCUBE is promising 10 startup teams from around the world the chance to hang out in "stylish" bars, enjoy "incredibly cheap" beer and meet "clever boys and beautiful girls". "Brno is an amazing city with stylish bars (New Yorker says here) incredibly cheap bear (half a litre for one dollar!), clever boys and beautiful girls! (sic)" Martina Pouchlá, a public relations specialist told Ventureburn in an email sent out with a press release announcing the call for its ninth cohort. The accelerator, run by innovation agency JIC, says entrepreneurs from all over the world, who have tech projects, are invited to apply. The deadline is the end of next...

  • SA lending platform Prodigy Finance chose London for ‘pro-business regulation’

    Cape Town founder of multi-million dollar lending platform Prodigy Finance Cameron Stevens says the "pro-business" regulation of the UK's Financial Conduct Authority was key in his decision 10 years ago to set up his platform in London 10 years ago. Through the platform Prodigy Finance lends to students globally via an Irish Stock Exchange listed bond. Last month the company announced a R3.19-billion fundraise from venture capital firm Index Ventures, with participation from Balderton Capital and AlphaCode and a global investment bank. South Africa has yet to develop regulation on peer-to-peer lending or equity crowdfunding, while the UK has of late been praised for crafting rules that are fair and balanced. Read more: SA founder of Fintech platform...

  • Silicon Valley’s monopoly on innovation is over says Takealot’s Willem van Biljon

    The monopoly that Silicon Valley has long held in technology innovation is "largely" over, says tech entrepreneur and take-a lot co-CEO Willem van Biljon. Van Biljon is a former Silicon Valley resident himself and one of South Africa’s most respected tech entrepreneurs. The former CSIR employee co-founded Mosaic Software which he sold to S1 Corp in 2004, before starting Nimbula which was later acquired by Oracle in 2013 for $110-million. Since 2014 he has served as co-CEO at SA ecommerce site Takealot. Read more: Are these the 10 all-time biggest exit deals for SA startups? “I think the monopoly on innovation...

  • Record turnout expected at Startup Grind Cape Town with over 800 tickets issued

    Over 800 tickets have been sold for tonight's Startup Grind Cape Town party and event, which kicks off at 5.30pm at Workshop 17 in the Waterfront. Speaking to Ventureburn yesterday Guillaume de Smedt, who is the chapter 's Cape Town director, said he had already issued 800 free tickets to tonight's event which will feature Takealot co-CEO Willem van Biljon. There will also be live music and entertainment. De Smedt said he expects about 40% of those that got tickets to drop out, but has as a contingency measure organised special viewing screens in rooms around at Workshop 17 to accommodate the expected additional...