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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Here are 12 SA tech entrepreneurs who made headlines in Ventureburn in 2017

    From selling their startup for over a billion rand, to turning air into water -- here are 12 South African entrepreneurs who made headlines in Ventureburn in 2017. Sam and Rob Paddock (Getsmarter founders): It was a chance encounter with US listed company 2u's CEO Chip Paucek in October last year that set Cape Town based SA edtech startup GetSmarter on the road to being acquired by the US firm in a $103-million deal which was finally concluded in October this year. The deal is one of the biggest acquisitions of an SA tech startups (see the list of the top 10 reported exits), and included an earn-out provision of...

  • Here are the SA tech startup acquisitions that were concluded in 2017

    This year saw one of the biggest acquisition deals for a South African tech startup -- when US listed company 2U bought Getsmarter for $123-million. At least three other SA tech startups were acquired in 2017. Ventureburn takes a look at the four that the publication covered in 2017. The four include only acquisitions of South African tech startups that Ventureburn reported on in 2017 and that were concluded for a stake of 51% or more . For example last month mortgage finance provider SA Home Loans announced that it had acquired a 49% stake in online real estate agency PropertyFox). The four include only...

  • A look at 2017: the year that was for South Africa’s tech startup ecosystem

    This year saw one of the biggest acquisitions of a South African startup - with the over $100-million GetSmarter deal. A chance meeting with 2U CEO Chip Paucek in October last year set the Cape Town based edtech startup on the road to being acquired by the US firm in a $103-million deal signed in May, but only concluded in October. But 2017 was also a year in which two new major acceleration programmes launched on the continent. Global accelerator Startupbootcamp launched a three-month programme in Cape Town in September -- the organisation's first such initiative in Africa. The inaugural programme helped bridge the gap between corporates and startups, with the initiative's first...

  • Clifftop Ventures grants new equity draw down facility of R4m to iono.fm

    Clifftop Ventures, the venture investment arm of financial firm Clifftop Colony, has increased its Equity Capital Drawdown Facility (ECDF) facility for online audio services company iono.fm to R4-million, after the tech firm was able to fully utilise an earlier R2.5-million facility. The announcement was made in a press release yesterday by Clifftop Colony and comes after the utilisation by iono.fm of a R.2.5-million ECDF facility, announced in November 2016 by the financial firm. Read more: Iono.fm receives R2.5m funding from Angel investment round The funding will help iono.fm, which was founded in 2009 by Ryan Dingley, to solidify the business next year and to expand...

  • Wala ICO nets just 4% of $30m target, but Newtown Partners praises result

    SA fintech startup Wala may have been able to raise just four percent of the $30-million it aimed to net in an initial coin offering (ICO) that ended last week -- but the head of the firm behind the raise, SA venture capital (VC) firm Newtown Partners, says it's an "excellent result". Data provided by independent ICO database ICO Drops shows that the VC firm raised almost $1.2-million for a crowdfunding token sale of Dala, a new financial services utility token built on the Ethereum blockchain. The ICO ran between 1 December to 11 December and a total of 1 billion tokens were issued of which 30%...

  • No plans right now for Google to invest in startups says Launchpad Accelerator head

    Google has no plans at present to invest money in the startups it assists through its two-year old accelerator initiative, says Google Launchpad Accelerator programme manager Josh Yellin. "Right now there are no plans to (take equity in startups). I wouldn't say it would never happen, but it's not what we're trying to do right now," said Yellin, speaking to Ventureburn last week in Warsaw, Poland during a graduation event for the programme's fourth cohort. Yellin said Google is rather looking to use the programme -- targets existing growth-stage startups from emerging markets -- to learn from emerging market startup on how it can...

  • Cape Town bottling plant takes on dams crisis by making water from air

    With just months left until Cape Town authorities say the city will run out of water, the city's first bottling plant to make "water from air" is now up and running. Cape Air Water CEO Brendan Williamson said the company, with its unit based at a warehouse in Killarney Gardens, began operating two weeks ago and has already sold a "good few cases". The machine, supplied by Durban company Airwater, produces water from condensation in the air. The Airwater machine can presently produce 700 to 800 litres a day Williamson said the machine can presently produce between 700 and 800 litres a day. He expects to supply mainly hotels and...

  • Cape Town startup Digemy inks deal with pharma company after R2m funding

    Cape Town Startup Digemy has signed an international pharmaceutical company as a client for their white label training app, the startup's co-founder and CEO Kobus Louw said today. The agreement, which Louw said was concluded earlier this month, follows R2-million in funding the startup received in February from Greenwold Capital (which ordinarily invests in real estate) in return for a 25% stake in the company. The startup is based in the city's Durbanville suburb and was launched in November last year by Louw (pictured above, left) -- a former credit risk specialist -- and tech entrepreneur Carl Wallace (pictured above, right). Wallace runs two tech companies at present --...

  • Google drops $50 000 grant for Launchpad Accelerator for fifth cohort

    Google has dropped a $50 000 grant for each startup selected for its fifth Launchpad Accelerator, which starts next month, the programme's manager Josh Yellin revealed yesterday. The programme targets growth stage tech startups and 24 startups will embark on a bootcamp on 29 January 2018 (see the names here). Talking to Ventureburn in Warsaw, Poland during a graduation ceremony for the programme's four cohort (see the list of participants from the fourth cohort here), Yellen said the tech giant aims to reinvest the $50 000 per selected startup (totaling $1.2-million for the fifth cohort) back into the programme to cover the costs of startups attending conferences...

  • Watch these guys — here are the SA startups to look out for in 2018

    Tech startups that focus on solving problems using data analysis top Ventureburn's list for the 12 South African tech firms to watch in 2018 - be they transport, agriculture, transport, or finance. Fintech, will continue to be the hottest sector -- with half the startups on the list hailing from the sector. The list also includes two startups using cryptocurrency as part of their solution. Aerobotics is definitely a startup to watch. This Cape Town based aerial data analytics platform provides analytics for drone users (mainly in the agricultural sector). In November Google revealed that the startup was one of 24 selected to join the fifth...