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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • ‘We tried to partner with investors that gelled with us’ — CarZar on $1.5m deal

    Partnering with investors that complement them has helped SA tech startup and online car buying service CarZar.co.za land $1.5-million in funding from a Sweden-listed investment firm, says CarZar Joint managing director Fernando Pinheiro. Pinheiro announced the deal by Vostok New Ventures, which is also behind Russia's leading online classifieds company Avito, last week. He said the company was approached by several potential investors after opening its Series-A round of funding. He said CarZar was introduced to the investment company through common connections. "We tried to partner with investors that gelled with our business, enabling good synergies working together. Vostok New Ventures proved to be this type of investor....

  • Tackle infrastructure, skills challenges to boost tech sector, say Nigerian experts

    Nigeria must overcome its infrastructure challenges and shortage of skills if it is to help the country's nascent tech scene to grow, say analysts and entrepreneurs. The country boasts such successful tech companies such as fintech company Interswitch, edtech firm Andela and e-commerce site Jumia, which last year raised $326-million in funding. In addition, investments from overseas programmes such as Y Combinator, Village Capital and 500 Startups continue afoot, despite the country having slipped into a recession last year. Nigeria's burgeoning startup scene and its large market and entrepreneurial population with over 180 million people is what lured Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to Lagos's Yaba startup...

  • Zimbabwe government opens applications for $25-million tech fund

    Zimbabwe's telecoms regulator, Potraz, has launched a call for tech entrepreneurs and innovators to apply to a $25-million government tech fund. TechZim reported the launch on Wednesday, with Potraz managing the fund. The ICT Innovation Drive fund was announced last year by the Ministry of ICT, Portal and Courier Services. A statement issued by Portraz calls for "ICT innovators, startups or entrepreneurs with a brilliant innovation or solution" to apply to send their proposal for funding, together with financial projections and a budget for consideration to innovationdrive@potraz.gov.zw by 30 May. The statement did not say how many applicants Potraz intends to fund or what the maximum...

  • CCDI to back seven innovative Cape projects in second round of seed fund

    A hydrogen-powered drone that releases lab-bred insects to wipe out pests, a medical device which uses a novel method to treat glaucoma and an innovative method to manufacture oak extract for use in the manufacture of wine and spirits... These are just some of the seven biotech and agricultural projects that will each receive seed funding of up to R500 000 from the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) in partnership with the Technology Innovation Agency's (TIA) seed fund and the Western Cape government’s Department of Economic Development. CCDI executive director Erica Elk said at the announcement that an investment committee made up of experts from various...

  • Reserve Bank is looking to further unblock ecosystem challenges – Winde

    The Reserve Bank is looking at further ways to unblock challenges that entrepreneurs face, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde revealed today during the announcement of seven projects to receive seed funding from the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI). Speaking in Cape Town, he said he and officials from the Western Cape government, including Finance MEC Ivan Meyer, were asked by the Reserve Bank to present to the bank on happenings in the Western Cape ecosystem and economy. The presentation took place last month and Winde said that it was the first time that his office has been asked to present to the...

  • Chance meeting helped SA startup GetSmarter secure over $100m sale

    A chance meeting with US listed company 2U's CEO Chip Paucek in October last year set Cape Town based SA edtech startup GetSmarter on the road to being acquired by the US firm in a $103-million deal signed on Monday evening. Sam Paddock (pictured on right), who is the company's CEO, said he and his co-founder and brother Rob weren't looking to be acquired. "It became clear that joining forces would result in an organisation that could power the world's best digital education. This was too big an opportunity to pass on," he said. The deal, reported by Forbes magazine in an article yesterday includes an earn-out...

  • Q&A: FSB’s Caroline da Silva clarifies 30 June deadline on crowdfunding

    South Africa's Financial Services Board (FSB) last month revealed to Ventureburn that it had set a date of 30 June by which it plans to rule on whether to craft specific rules or not for equity crowdfunding. Since then the FSB has received a number of calls from interested parties who mistakenly believe the authority is about to release crowdfunding legislation. Read more: South Africa's FSB to rule on crowdfunding by June 30 In a Q&A with Ventureburn, FSB deputy executive officer for financial advisory & intermediary services Caroline da Silva explains what the deadline is all about and details the FSB's current approach...

  • Exclusive: Vinny Lingham to open Civic office in SA following IP rule changes

    Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham says he plans to open an office in Cape Town to hire developers for his new startup Civic, following reforms to South Africa's Intellectual Property (IP) control regulations. "The Reserve Bank by listening to the community and making the changes (to the IP control rules) have opened it up to more foreign investments," Lingham said in a Skype call with Ventureburn from San Francisco on Friday last week. Lingham recently posted a link of Civic's Facebook account saying the startup is looking to hire in South Africa. It follows an announcement by then Minister of...

  • Questions raised over SA startup’s claim algorithm could net investors $20bn

    SA entrepreneur Stephen Larkin claims that investors could be in for "free cash" of US$20-billion if his exploration company, which uses a unique algorithm to pinpoint possible gas deposits, makes a find in Namibia's Kalahari Desert. While he's raised millions of dollars from investors and written off millions more in research costs through a number of state incentives, industry analysts remain cautious. Read more: Will South African trio's algorithm be a boon for oil sector? His UK-registered company Africa New Energies, which is expected to list on the London Stock Exchange next year, has yet to discover a single barrel of oil. Larkin...

  • ‘Computicket’s acquisition of Pretoria startup an opportunity to learn more’

    Computicket's acquisition of local company Entry Ninja is an opportunity to take on new technology and to learn more, says the Pretoria startup's co-founder Frans Jooste. "It's a lot of fun to see your product blowing up," Jooste, 29, told Ventureburn today on Computicket's purchase of the online sporting events portal. "It's like seeing your baby growing up." Computicket on Saturday announced that it has acquired the startup for an undisclosed sum. Neither Jooste or Shoprite Holdings, which owns Computicket, would disclose the amount of the deal. 'It’s a lot of fun to see your product blowing up' Jooste said the startup was...