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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • SA swimmer Natalie du Toit connected to new ICO to target amateur sports sector

    Paralympic SA swimming star Natalie du Toit is working with Pretoria-based startup Sports Podium to launch an initial coin offering (ICO) to fund the first "knowledge-based digital sports economy" for sportspeople. The ICO, which was to have taken place last year will instead take place in the next few months, says Sports Podium co-founder and COO Jaco Rossouw. He told Ventureburn today that the high number of ICOs held last year would have made it difficult for Sports Podium to stand out from the crowd. "There's no set date yet, but the envisaged date is quarter two of this year," he added. Rossouw said Du Toit -- who holds the role...

  • Little fishing village in Morocco still Africa’s top digital nomad destination

    Looking for an African digital nomad destination to set up camp in for 2018? Why not try the sleepy fishing and surfing village of Taghazout in Morocco. The small town in country's south west is Africa's leading destination for digital nomads, according to Nomadlist.com, where travellers currently rank it 17 out of hundreds of destinations (in 2016 it reached as high as fifth place on the same ranking, according to CNN). Cape Town is not too far behind, at 45 -- ahead of such places as Palo Alto (51), Taipei (56) and Stockholm (60). Topping Nomadlist.com currently is Bangkok, Thailand followed by Ubud, Bali. Destinations that...

  • What startups should know about getting their story into the media [Opinion]

    It's the new year and you're thinking of getting some publicity. How do you go about getting your story into the media? First off -- to attract the eye of a journalist you need to have something worthwhile and interesting to say. You could think your startup might be the next best thing since sliced cheese, but this doesn't mean a journalist will find it interesting. Journalists are in large a cynical kind of people. They've seen it all before. Just another app to solve this or that or "to disrupt" this or other market, might not cut it. What they are looking for is...

  • 15 people in the SA tech startup ecosystem you should follow in 2018

    The new year is upon us. What better way to get started than to follow and connect with key decision makers in the SA tech scene. Here are 15 people -- from Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu to Silicon Valley based entrepreneur Vinny Lingham -- that you should follow to keep abreast on views and happenings in the SA tech startup ecosystem. Lindiwe Zulu (Small business minister): Zulu in her budget vote speech in May last year pledged that her department would put together a master plan to develop and grow the small business sector (see more here). The details have yet to...

  • Looking to get ahead SA startups? Apply for these accelerators in 2018

    What better way to start the new year than by signing up to one of the many accelerator programmes open to South African tech entrepreneurs? It's a great way to get some help, find new clients and tap seed funding -- all while gaining credibility in the market. In 2017, 19 accelerators tracked by Ventureburn helped over 1200 startups with $17-million in funding (see this story). Here are eight accelerators in 2018 that SA startups can apply for It's also a great idea to approach one of South Africa's leading corporates, many of which run their own support programmes or are on the look out for...

  • Here are 12 SA tech entrepreneurs who made headlines in Ventureburn in 2017

    From selling their startup for over a billion rand, to turning air into water -- here are 12 South African entrepreneurs who made headlines in Ventureburn in 2017. Sam and Rob Paddock (Getsmarter founders): It was a chance encounter with US listed company 2u's CEO Chip Paucek in October last year that set Cape Town based SA edtech startup GetSmarter on the road to being acquired by the US firm in a $103-million deal which was finally concluded in October this year. The deal is one of the biggest acquisitions of an SA tech startups (see the list of the top 10 reported exits), and included an earn-out provision of...

  • Here are the SA tech startup acquisitions that were concluded in 2017

    This year saw one of the biggest acquisition deals for a South African tech startup -- when US listed company 2U bought Getsmarter for $123-million. At least three other SA tech startups were acquired in 2017. Ventureburn takes a look at the four that the publication covered in 2017. The four include only acquisitions of South African tech startups that Ventureburn reported on in 2017 and that were concluded for a stake of 51% or more . For example last month mortgage finance provider SA Home Loans announced that it had acquired a 49% stake in online real estate agency PropertyFox). The four include only...

  • A look at 2017: the year that was for South Africa’s tech startup ecosystem

    This year saw one of the biggest acquisitions of a South African startup - with the over $100-million GetSmarter deal. A chance meeting with 2U CEO Chip Paucek in October last year set the Cape Town based edtech startup on the road to being acquired by the US firm in a $103-million deal signed in May, but only concluded in October. But 2017 was also a year in which two new major acceleration programmes launched on the continent. Global accelerator Startupbootcamp launched a three-month programme in Cape Town in September -- the organisation's first such initiative in Africa. The inaugural programme helped bridge the gap between corporates and startups, with the initiative's first...

  • Clifftop Ventures grants new equity draw down facility of R4m to iono.fm

    Clifftop Ventures, the venture investment arm of financial firm Clifftop Colony, has increased its Equity Capital Drawdown Facility (ECDF) facility for online audio services company iono.fm to R4-million, after the tech firm was able to fully utilise an earlier R2.5-million facility. The announcement was made in a press release yesterday by Clifftop Colony and comes after the utilisation by iono.fm of a R.2.5-million ECDF facility, announced in November 2016 by the financial firm. Read more: Iono.fm receives R2.5m funding from Angel investment round The funding will help iono.fm, which was founded in 2009 by Ryan Dingley, to solidify the business next year and to expand...

  • Wala ICO nets just 4% of $30m target, but Newtown Partners praises result

    SA fintech startup Wala may have been able to raise just four percent of the $30-million it aimed to net in an initial coin offering (ICO) that ended last week -- but the head of the firm behind the raise, SA venture capital (VC) firm Newtown Partners, says it's an "excellent result". Data provided by independent ICO database ICO Drops shows that the VC firm raised almost $1.2-million for a crowdfunding token sale of Dala, a new financial services utility token built on the Ethereum blockchain. The ICO ran between 1 December to 11 December and a total of 1 billion tokens were issued of which 30%...