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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Exchange control less of an obstacle for startups than before – Simodisa report

    SA tech startups and those in the country's startup scene say the once dreaded exchange control is less of an obstacle than in previous years, startup advocacy body Simodisa revealed in a policy report released today. Yet while 27% of the 247 startups and those support startups who were surveyed in Simodisa's latest industry report released today (31 January) say things have improved -- a more significant 42% say things have remained unchanged. A further five percent said things had deteriorated, while 22% said they did not know whether there had been any change. A further four percent are listed as...

  • African funding figures – what’s the real number? [Opinion]

    In the last few days those in Africa's tech startup scene have been kept busy with the release of at least three reports that detail the funding that tech startups on the continent received in 2018. Yet as the number of reports and articles pile up, startups and others may be forgiven for being left a little confused. While the authors of the various reports have all put a figure to it, in each case the number differs from one report to the next. In its African Tech Startups Funding Report 2018 released on Monday (28 January), tech site Disrupt Africa...

  • I spent thousands of hours, last dollar to save former company says Eran Eyal

    Former Springleap founder Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, says he spent "thousands of hours" and "went down to his last dollars" to save a former company of his -- which is understood by Ventureburn to be Passo -- and cover employees’ salaries. Eyal, who is currently the co-CEO of retail blockchain startup Shopin and is due in court today (30 January), revealed how he struggled to keep Passo going in a blog post last week for US organisation Scored NYC, a group of business mentors. The SA entrepreneur was charged on 24 August last year by the New York...

  • ‘Uprise.Africa mulling 159 deals worth almost R1-billion’ [Updated]

    SA equity crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa is considering 159 applications for new campaigns totalling nearly R1-billion, the platform's CEO Tabassum Qadir has revealed. Thus far Uprise.Africa has run only a single campaign, for Drifter beer, which last year raised over R3.8-million from 196 investors. However, the platform aims to takes on new campaigns after closing an investment deal with Silicon Valley based venture capital (VC) firm Nexxus Ventures late last year. At the time of the announcement of the deal in October last year, the platform did not reveal the amount that the VC fund had invested or the stake it had taken in the platform...

  • No conflict of interest in SA startup Flow’s R20m deal, says venture capitalist

    Kalon Venture Partners CEO Clive Butkow today said there was no conflict of interest in a R20-million deal involving proptech startup Flow that his venture capital (VC) company participated in. This, despite Flow CEO Gil Sperling being a board member of Butkow's VC fund. Kalon, which is a registered Section 12J VC company (VCC), has invested R10-million in the Johannesburg startup which has developed an app for the residential rental market. A US VC fund is due to commit the remaining R10-million in coming weeks. Flow's app allows tenants to get rewarded for things such as paying their rent on time...

  • Section 12J industry body established to ensure industry sustainability

    South Africa's private equity and venture capital (VC) sector are gearing up for a final push to raise millions of rands from wealthy investors for the SA Revenue Service's (Sars) Section 12J VC tax incentive before the end of the current tax year on 28 February. Within this final push, Westbrooke Alternative Asset Management announced yesterday that it has spearheaded the formation of an industry body which aims to prove the viability of extending the incentive past June 2021. The VC tax incentive, set up under Section 12J of the Income Tax Act, allows investors who make investments in approved VCs — that then...

  • Tech firm Cellulant to hold memorial for six employees killed in Kenyan attack [Updated]

    Nairobi based payments company Cellulant will tomorrow hold a memorial service for the six employees killed in last Tuesday's terror attack on the DusitD2 hotel complex at 14 Riverside Drive in the city. The company said on Saturday (19 January) that the memorial will be held, at the CITAM church, Valley Road campus on 22 January from 10.30am. On Twitter over the weekend, the company eulogised the six that were killed in the attack, in a special tweet (see below). A memorial service will be held on 22 January for the six Cellulant employees killed in last week's terror attack in Nairobi https://twitter.com/Cellulant/status/1086570022909161472 The six...

  • Newtown Partners shifts focus to offshore deals amid SA challenges

    SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham's angel investment fund Newtown Partners has shifted its focus to sourcing deals outside of South Africa because of the poor economic and political climate at home, says the fund's managing partner Llew Claasen. Claasen (pictured above), who is based in Cape Town, told Ventureburn last month that while the fund had sourced about 10 of its 16 deals concluded since it launched 2014 in South Africa, he and Lingham are now looking more at deals offshore. He described the fund's focus as being on blockchain projects and added that via its US office in Sunnyvale, California the...

  • It hits you that you are going to die – hub manager on Kenyan attack [Updated]

    UPDATE (19 January 2019): Nairobi-based payments company Cellulant today released the names of the six employees (and not seven as earlier believed) killed in Tuesday's attack they are: the company's head of product development Ashford Kuria, hub engineer Kelvin Gitonga, head of information security Dennis Mwaniki, quality assurance tester John Ndiritu, implementation engineer Wilfred Kareithi and hub head Jeremiah Mbaria (see below image). The company said a memorial service will be held on Tuesday (22 January) at the CITAM church, Valley Road campus from 10.30am. Maurice Otieno, the head of a Kenyan business club for startups, says he was waiting...

  • SA startup Virtual Actuary may consider ‘combo valuation’ with US partner

    Six months after turning down an investment offer from a major SA insurance company, SA startup Virtual Actuary is in the US for talks with venture capitalists -- including some who are keen to do "a combo valuation" with the startup's US partner, software developer Insurtech Global. Virtual Actuary co-founder Adi Kaimowitz has been in the US for the past week after being invited to speak on disruption in the actuarial world at an event at the Hartford Insurtech Hub in Hartford, Connecticut (See a video of the talk he did in Hartford on Thursday last week below). Virtual Actuary,...

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