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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • New R10m funded insuretech ‘startup’ Indie is Sanlam-owned company

    South African insurtech startup Indie hopes to takes on traditional insurers in the youth market and is being bank-rolled by insurance giant Sanlam. This, despite claims from its founder that it's "a genuine garage-built startup". Indie launched its first offering -- a life-insurance offering -- in late July. Since it was founded 18 months ago the company has grown from a three-person team to 30 people, with plans to expand to India and at least one other African country by next year. In a phone call with Ventureburn, the startup's CEO and founder Peter Castleden said his company is "absolutely a genuine garage-built startup". However the former Sanlam employee...

  • Knife Capital’s first foreign deal is startup backed by Candy Crush developers

    A Swedish Internet of Things (IoT) startup that is backed by the developers of the famed Candy Crush game, is SA venture capital (VC) company Knife Capital's first overseas VC deal. The R22-million deal by Knife Capital, Candy Crush creators King Digital Entertainment and other investors in Mobile and Sensory Technology (MOST) was concluded in September, the startup's CEO Jon Hjertenstein (pictured above -- bottom row, right -- with fellow investors and founders) told Ventureburn today. The investment is the SA VC company's first deal concluded via its London office and the startup has developed realtime sensors and is already selling its product to SA fresh fruit exporters. Read more: SA VC firm...

  • Here are the 10 easiest places in Africa to run a business reveals World Bank

    South Africa is now only the sixth easiest country in Africa to run a business -- behind star performer Mauritius -- and has slid eight places to 82 out of 190 countries, reveals the World Bank's latest Doing Business report. The report, released yesterday, puts South Africa now behind the island country, Rwanda, Morocco, Kenya (up from 92 last year, to 80th spot) and Botswana. Among fellow emerging economies India shot up 30 places, to 100th spot, Russia gained five places to 35 -- while Brazil slid two places to 125 and China remained at 78. In addition South Africa has slid in the...

  • Merrill Lynch, Royal Bafokeng awards R4m to four black fintech startups

    Four black-owned SA fintech startups have each won R1-million at a pitching event held earlier this week by AlphaCode, a Rand Merchant Investments (RMI) Holdings fintech initiative. The pitching event, held in Monday evening, was run by Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings and sought to identify and reward high potential black-owned SA fintech entrepreneurs. The winning startups are: Commuscore -- an alternate credit-scoring provider founded by Philile Mkhize and Priya Mistry. The startup captures payment and lending behaviour of consumers and micro-lenders in the informal sector. It also provides an informal saving scheme administration and management tool that is able to build a credit profile...

  • Despite 134% growth in VC investments, sector still lacks liquidity says investor

    The number of South African venture capital (VC) investments grew by 134% to R872-million in deals in 2016 over the previous year, shows Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (Savca) data. But a leading venture capitalist, Angel Hub Ventures lead investor Brett Commaille, says a lack of liquidity and follow-on funding is holding back the sector. Speaking at a Savca event held at the PwC offices in Cape Town last week to launch a VC success stories booklet (opens as a PDF), Commaille said while in the early days SA internet billionaire Mark Shuttleworth's HBD ventures was investing over R20-million in VC deals, these days...

  • Telkom assists 40 black technician firms, helps set up 11 black Express dealers

    South African telecoms giant Telkom had in the year to end of March this year, procured R130-million in services from 40 black-owned technician businesses employing 364 people last year, said Telkom Futuremakers head Litha Kutta. In an email last week to Ventureburn, Kutta (pictured above) added that the telecoms company also helped build four black-owned Telkom Express stores, set up 11 black-owned dealers and supported 24 internet cafes, He said the aim is to set up black-owned sales and distribution partners to enable the telecoms company to diversify its revenue channels, penetrate the informal market, and enhance product access and brand visibility in...

  • Cape Town company Digital Cabinet lands R5m funding from HAVAÍC, Growth Grid

    Cape Town tech company Digital Cabinet has landed R5-million in equity funding, local venture capital (VC) company HAVAÍC announced today. The investment was secured from a consortium of individuals led by HAVAÍC, with a smaller stake from Growth Grid Venture Capital Partners, a registered section 12J VC fund founded by Roy Fine and Rob Ferguson. The company, which was founded in 2011, offers companies cloud-based paperless document and workflow management solutions. The deal was revealed in a press release today from HAVAÍC. When contacted by Ventureburn, HAVAÍC executive director Grant Rock said he did not want to disclose the equity stake each partner has taken in Digital Cabinet. 'The proceeds of the capital raise will be...

  • SA venture capitalists slam inaccurate valuations by local angel investors

    Inaccurate valuations from local South African angel investors are skewing the value of companies venture capital (VC) funds are keen to invest in, two leading venture capitalists have charged. Speaking yesterday at an event held by Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (Savca) to launch a booklet (opens as PDF) on 20 local VC success stories, Angel Hub Ventures lead investor Brett Commaille pointed to a recent deal involving an angel investor. “We had a deal recently where the guys from (financiers) Business Partners asked us to come along. And we were about to do a co-investment with them and the entrepreneur...

  • SA equity crowdfunding site Uprise.Africa launches after response from FSB

    South Africa’s first equity crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa has officially launched after being told by the Financial Services Board (FSB) that the platform does not fall foul of the Collective Investment Schemes Act, the platform’s founder and COO Patrick Schofield said yesterday. Speaking at a media briefing at Workshop 17 in Cape Town yesterday to highlight the first four deals that will shortly go live on the platform, Schofield -- the founder of donations based crowdfunding site Thundafund -- said the FSB has been "very quiet" on commenting on the platform. The FSB was notably absent yesterday from the briefing despite being sent...

  • Knife Capital reveals deal with Swedish startup, bemoans lack of local funds

    South African venture capital (VC) fund Knife Capital has co-invested in a Swedish startup alongside a Swedish fund, Knife Capital co-founder Keet van Zyl revealed today. “We just made an investment in Sweden, in a Swedish startup and we are quite proud of it. It’s our first investment outside of South Africa that we’ve done and we are quite proud of it,” said Van Zyl. Speaking at a Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (Savca) event held at the PwC offices in Cape Town today, he said Knife Capital would put out a press release likely next week which detailed the deal,...