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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Tech startups must spend more time on honing target market says MTN manager

    Tech entrepreneurs must spend more time developing a complete value proposition for the apps and web platforms that they pitch to corporates, says MTN's general manager of digital commercial management Mophethe Moletsane. "Unfortunately, most startups do the work on the solution, but are quick to rush to their demos without contextualising the market opportunity," says Moletsane. He says aligning the app, widget or platform to the strategic initiatives is everything for a big organisation. Unfortunately, most startups do the work on the solution, but are quick to rush to their demos without contextualising the market opportunity, says MTN manager Read more below on the advice he has for startups...

  • ‘SA Reserve Bank offers no protection for those that take part in ICOs’

    As China's ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) has lead to renewed concerns over the use of cryptocurrencies, South Africa's Reserve Bank says it offers "no recourse or protection" to consumers involved in ICOs. In response to questions from Ventureburn on whether it is concerned on the legality of ICOs following their banning in China and move to regulate them in the US, the Reserve Bank said in a statement to Ventureburn that it has taken note of regulatory developments surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs). "In South Africa, cryptocurrencies are not guaranteed by the SARB (SA Reserve Bank), hence offer no recourse or...

  • SA startup ProsperiProp delays ICO following China’s ban on token offerings

    South African startup ProsperiProp has delayed by one week its PROPX initial coin offerings (ICO) -- which it planned to run on Friday, 8 September -- following China's decision to ban ICOs in China and the US's moves last month to begin regulating ICOs. The ICO, which will be aimed largely at international investors looking to invest in international property and will use a cryptocurrency created by the company called “PROPX”, will now be run next week Friday (15 September). 'Based on this current market volatility, we have decided to allow the storm to pass before launching our ICO' It follows an announcement last month by ProsperiProp founder and...

  • 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...