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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Uber platform for mechanics Fixxr wins R500k from IBM in pitching competition

    Mobile car repair platform Fixxr has won R500 000 from software multinational IBM following a pitching competition last week. The pitching competition took place last Wednesday (14 November) at the conclusion of a four-week bootcamp programme which was aimed at black-owned startups and run by IBM and the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct. Johannesburg based Fixxr, which was founded by Curtis Young (pictured above) in April, beat six other participants to gain the top spot. The startup qualified for the support from IBM because Young's wife Nomathamsanqa (who works part-time in the startup providing mostly social media assistance), who is black, owns the majority stake in the business. At current Curtis Young is...

  • SA tech startups still out of touch when getting angel, VC funding – survey

    Over a quarter of founders or 29% of SA tech startups believe that they will grow their business by securing venture capital (VC) or funding from angel investors – yet the reality is that only about 11% report having been able to secure such funding, a new survey reveals.  Are startup founders then out of touch with reality? The figures are revealed in the 2018 Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey powered by Telkom Futuremakers which was released today. The survey sampled 153 SA tech startup founders. The finding is similar to that of a 2017 survey Ventureburn conducted last year of 260 startup founders. In this...

  • Black tech startups in SA still struggling finds new Ventureburn survey

    While 15% of SA tech startups founded by white entrepreneurs are turning a profit, just seven percent of their black counterparts are making a profit, a new survey by Ventureburn has revealed. The Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey powered by Telkom Futuremakers – which was released today – found that while the number of black (black African, coloured, Indian or Chinese South African) entrepreneurs running technology startups appears to be on the rise, most are struggling to make money or access finance. Black startups on the rise In all, 56% of the 153 startup founders surveyed by Ventureburn in an online survey, listed themselves as black –...

  • SA startups with combination of male-female founders most successful – survey

    More SA startups that have both male and female founders are generating significant revenue or turning a profit -- than are those with only male or only female founders -- a new survey has found. The 2018 Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey powered by Telkom Futuremakers, reveals that of 153 tech startups quizzed online, 41% of those that have both male and females among their founders (startups like SweepSouth which was founded by husband and wife team Alen Ribic and Aisha Pandor, pictured above) report that they are successful. In comparison, 25% that have just men as founders and 20% with just women are generating significant revenue...

  • Gauteng home to most tech startups, but Cape firms still more successful – survey

    Gauteng is now home to 55% of tech startup founders — ahead of the Western Cape’s 37%. In all, 36% of Western Cape startups report turning a profit or generating significant revenue, compared to 22% in Gauteng. The percentage of black tech startups has risen from 26% in 2015, to 56% this year. Just seven percent of black tech startups turn a profit, versus 15% of their white counterparts. Over a quarter of startups plan to raise angel or VC funding, but only eight percent receive such funding. Successful startup founders are most likely to be white males from the Western Cape. The Western...

  • Obsession with raising $1bn to become a unicorn is wrong says Silvertree man

    It is wrong and flawed for investors and entrepreneurs to focus on creating the next unicorn (a tech company with a billion-dollar valuation) charges investor Manuel Koser, co-founder and managing director of Silvertree Internet Holdings. Speaking at a panel at the 2018 Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, hosted by VC4A at Workshop 17 in Cape Town, Koser says the focus on trying to create the next unicorn leads to what he calls a "dangerous obsession" by entrepreneurs on raising funding, over building a business that is customer centric. The panel was moderated by Burn Media founder Matthew Buckland. "So what if you raise...

  • Silvertree move to take majority stakes in startups nets mixed view from founders [Updated]

    SA investment company Silvertree Internet Holdings is buying up companies left, right and centre -- ahead of a planned listing in 2023 -- relegating many of the founders to mere operators of the businesses they once founded. Not all are happy about it. It comes as in July, Business Day reported that Silvertree, expects to grow annual revenues to more than $300-million by 2023 (up from $40-million at present) and will then consider going public. Its portfolio includes 12 firms in which it has invested in since 2013. They include among others Pricecheck.co.za, CompareGuru.co.za, Ucook.co.za and CarZar.co.za. Last year CompareGuru co-founder Ryan Marx (pictured above) sold his...

  • Romeo Kumalo, Gil Oved to release details on $200m tech fund in Q1 of 2019

    Startups and investors can expect more details of a planned $200-million tech investment fund headed by former Vodacom executive Romeo Kumalo in the first quarter of 2019, says investor and entrepreneur Gil Oved. It follows a report yesterday by Bloomberg that Kumalo's new tech-focused SA investment firm LLH Capital -- in which Oved serves as COO -- aims to raise as much as $200-million in an initial public offering (IPO) next year. The report said LLH Capital, aims to invest in internet-related businesses and industries such as drones and car tracking and aims to list in both Johannesburg and Mauritius. It said LLH plans to raise a...

  • Endeavor Nigeria welcomes first two entrepreneurs into fold

    High-growth entrepreneur organisation Endeavor has welcomed its first two entrepreneurs from Endeavor Nigeria into its network, as well as three North African entrepreneurs. In a statement last month Endeavor said the two Nigerian entrepreneurs -- BitPesa founder Elizabeth Rossiello (who is American) and Cars45 co-founder and CEO Etop Ikpe -- were among 26 entrepreneurs from 18 companies in 13 countries that the organisation selected to join its network, at the 83rd International Selection Panel (ISP), held in Athens from 22 to 24 October. BitPesa is a digital foreign exchange and payment platform, while Cars45 claims its Nigeria the market’s first independent used car valuation expert and offers a two-sided...

  • Kalon, Smollan up stake in SnapnSave to over 50% with new R7m funding tranche

    Venture capital company Kalon Venture Partners and retail solutions company the Smollan Group SA have increased their stake in SA shopping community SnapnSave to over 50% with a new funding round totaling R7-million. The current tranche forms part of a R14-million round in funding committed by the two investors in August last year. SnapnSave’s app facilitates discounts for shoppers on their favourite products, wherever they shop, just by snapping a photo of their till slip. Three months ago the startup helped shoppers to redeem its one million till slip. SnapnSave CEO Mark Bradshaw confirmed to Ventureburn today that the deal was closed last Wednesday (31 October). The latest round follows...