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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • ‘Ghana’s impressive track record helped it secure 2017 IPA competition’

    An impressive track record -- that's what helped Ghana to secure the hosting of this year's Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), says the competition's director Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl. The event, run by the African Innovation Foundation, takes place in Accra, Ghana on 17 and 18 July. "Ghana's leadership have put innovation at the centre of the country's development agenda, and there is a clear commitment towards consolidating a thriving national innovation ecosystem. This is demonstrated by a commitment to dedicate one percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to innovation," Mujawamariya told Ventureburn yesterday. Singling out several innovation hubs in Ghana, she said the West African country is...

  • SA’s Rehive launches Shopify-type platform for fintech apps

    South African fintech startup Rehive -- which aims to become the Shopify for small companies to build their own fintech apps -- has launched a new platform and series of off-the-shelf products. Rehive's platform allows developers to build, launch and scale their own fintech applications without needing to build the core technology from scratch. Speaking to Ventureburn last week, the US registered startup's co-founder, SA-born Helghardt Avenant, (pictured above, right, with co-founder Michail Brynard) said the startup hosted two hackathon events in Cape Town last month, which attracted about 25 participants in all. The startup plans to continue hosting a hackathon a month for the rest of the...

  • Meet EMGuidance, the SA finalist for Seedstars World competition

    A Cape Town startup that developed an app to help doctors to source more reliable information on treatment guidelines and medication dosages among other things, has been chosen to represent South Africa at the next Seedstars World competition. EMGuidance was selected last Thursday by Seedstars World from several startups that competed at the South Africa final held in Johannesburg. Read more: EMGuidance is set to represent South Africa at the Seedstars World finals The startup will now compete against more than 75 startups in Switzerland in April next year for the top prize of $500 000 and will also attend an African Seedstars event in Maputo in November. With the app, which EMGuidance launched...

  • South Africa is slipping behind on regulating bitcoin — Vinny Lingham

    Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham says South Africa is falling behind when it comes to regulating bitcoin. “I think we’re definitely behind the times. I mean Japan has just removed taxes on bitcoin yesterday. Singapore’s regulating it more, Australia etc as well. All these countries in the world are being very progressive on cryptocurrencies and whatever else and South Africa hasn’t issued any guidance on it yet,” said Lingham, in a Skype call with Ventureburn yesterday. Lingham is the CEO of Civic which makes use of bitcoin and deploys cryptographic keys to allow for the secure storage of information on mobile phones or...

  • From smart bearings to group-buying app, meet Innovation Prize of Africa finalists

    A mobile app that helps rally women into buying groups and a smart bearing that can boost energy efficiency in Africa -- these are just two of the ideas from the 10 finalists that will attend the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) in Accra, Ghana in just over 10 days' time. The awards, which take place on 18 July and are hosted by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), are now in their sixth year. The 10 finalists stand a chance to win a grand prize of $100 000, as well as a runner up prize of $25 000 and a special prize for social impact of $25 000. Read more: AIF reveals names of 10...

  • Q&A: Cape Town kitesurfer details what it takes to be a digital nomad

    With ever improving technology and a search for a better way to work, many South Africans are turning to the possibility of working remotely, as digital nomads. Cape Town born Justin Nothling, 26, is one such person. A survey last year by employee engagement firm TinyPulse of over 500 US employees who work remotely found they tend to be more satisfied and more productive than office-bound workers. Nothling today runs an online app school cloneable.io, develops apps (such as Zumalator) and is also working on a few projects involving bitcoin. He’s worked remotely for four years now in several countries and is currently in Montenegro, where...

  • SA might be in recession but opportunities are huge – Alphawave chairman

    While South Africa slipped into a recession in the first quarter of this year, Stellenbosch investor and entrepreneur Frans Meyer says the opportunities for innovative companies locally and abroad are "still huge". Meyer is the group executive chairman of local tech company Alphawave. Meyer, together with Gronum Smith started EMSS in 1994. One of their company's now supplies the receivers that are used on South Africa's Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. In May the parent company EMSS Group changed its name to Alphawave in May. 'The specific opportunities for innovative companies, providing products and services locally, abroad, still huge' Meyer responded to various...

  • SA fitness app Fitkey heads for 1000 paid subscribers almost two years after launch

    Almost two years after it launched local startup Fitkey has almost a 1000 paid subscribers, with about 3000 users signed up to the browse the site. It all started when Ohio-born Evan Walther, who has a background marketing for tech startups in the US, came on a two-week holiday back in 2014 and fell in love with Cape Town. Walther is due to speak tonight at Startup Grind Pretoria (see details here). With the city being close to nature and with its abundance of good restaurants, it was so much like Cornell University in Ithaca in upstate New York that he decided...

  • Q&A: Focus on creating unicorn for SA is misdirected says Justin Stanford

    Any overt focus by South African ecosystem players on creating the country's first unicorn is a "misdirection of attention" says venture capitalist and founder of 4Di Capital Justin Stanford. With the number of multi-million acquisition deals concluded by South African startups seemingly on the increase of late, Stanford says the country should rather focus on systematically repeatable value creation. 'Focus on headline number of $1-billion valuation is misdirection of attention' It follows the $445-million sale of Kapa Biosystems in 2015 and, more recently, the $123-million GetSmarter deal announced in May. Read more: Are these the 10 all-time biggest exit deals for SA startups? Responding to emailed questions from Ventureburn, Stanford...

  • FSB misses its own crowdfunding deadline

    South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) has missed a June 30 deadline on considering whether to regulate equity crowdfunding or not. A FSB spokesperson in April said the authority had set a date of 30 June by which it planned to rule on whether to craft specific rules or not for equity crowdfunding. It followed the completion of a research report by the FSB on crowdfunding. Read more: South Africa’s FSB to rule on crowdfunding by June 30 However Felicity Mabaso, the FSB's head of department for FAIS Supervision, stressed that the "crowdfunding project" is still a work in progress. "We have scheduled further engagements...