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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Former Springleap founder Eran Eyal named as ‘co-CEO’ of Shopin

    SA entrepreneur and former Springleap founder Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, is officially back as the head of US blockchain startup Shopin. Eyal (pictured above) was charged on 24 August by the New York Attorney General with allegedly stealing $600,000 from investors by fraudulently soliciting investors to purchase convertible notes through false representations of his company, Springleap. If convicted of the top count charged, he faces up to 15 years in prison. Following his arrest last month, Shopin named Jennifer Haggerty as interim head (see this story), suggesting that the company had removed Eyal from his position as CEO or that...

  • Cape Town startup RapidDeploy to move HQ to US after AT&T deal for 911 product

    Just over a month after announcing a deal with US telecoms giant AT&T to offer its platform to the US's 911 service, SA startup RapidDeploy is moving its headquarters to the US. RapidDeploy claims that its cloud-based technology platform, offers emergency first responders relevant and accurate information in real time on a critical situation. This reduces response times dramatically, in scenarios where every second is a matter of life or death. The platform is already deployed in over 35 agencies around the world, with the solution deployed as far afield as Fiji. To date, the platform has processed tens of thousands of emergency calls. CEO and co-founder Steven Raucher (pictured above, right) revealed the news...

  • Springleap’s Eran Eyal misrepresented me as Shopin adviser – Vinny Lingham [Updated]

    UDPATE: SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham subsequently told Ventureburn that he received no documentation or information from Shopin's Eran Eyal on his shareholding in Shopin, despite Eyal saying he would send these (see below Editor's note). Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham today said fellow South African Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, "fraudulently misrepresented" him by claiming that he was an adviser to his company Shopin. In a presentation last year at the BlockChain Economic Forum in New York -- which was captured on a Youtube video (see here, at 6.49 minutes on the video) -- Eyal refers to a screenshot in which...

  • ‘I never saw it coming’ – wiGroup founder on financial mismanagement

    The founder and CEO of SA fintech wiGroup says he never saw any warning signs of the financial mismanagement the firm uncovered just months ago, which appears to have led to the company cutting about 20 jobs. Ducasse told Ventureburn in a call yesterday that he first picked up the issue in July. The restructuring was carried out in the same month. "I didn't spot anything," said Ducasse. "If I spotted anything I would have done something about it," he added. Last week the chief financial officer (CFO) of wiGroup, Morne Patterson, confirmed that he had resigned from the company. It comes as wiGroup revealed...

  • Investec, Crossfin concludes Series-A round with SA chatbot service Atura

    Atura, an automated chatbot for asset management companies, has landed an undisclosed Series-A investment from Blue Garnet Ventures, an investment company that counts Investec and local investment fund Crossfin among others as investors. Crossfin has the majority share in Blue Garnet. The deal was confirmed earlier this week by Atura CEO Paul Cartmel. Atura is a separate company owned by Cape Town software firm New Media Labs (NML), which was founded in 2007. Cartmel told Ventureburn in an email yesterday that the deal was signed last Friday (7 September). While he declined to disclose the amount invested, he said Blue Garnet Ventures' will take a 10% stake in Atura in a Series-A round. "I would prefer not...

  • BREAKING: I am innocent of malicious allegations says Springleap’s Eran Eyal

    Just out of jail, SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, has finally spoken. The former Springleap founder says he's "innocent of these malicious allegations and rumours". Eyal -- who was yesterday released from Rikers Island prison in New York after he appeared in a court in the city and posted bail -- today told Ventureburn via Facebook Messenger that he has "been through three weeks of hell" and that he would comment "soon on everything". His bail was set at a whopping $250 000. "Literally been through hell. Rikers Island is no picnic," he said. "Been sleeping next...

  • BREAKING: Springleap’s Eran Eyal released from US prison, posts $250k bail

    SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, was today released from prison after he appeared in a New York court and posted bail -- which was earlier today set at a whopping $250 000. The portal for New York City's Department of Correction confirmed his released and payment of bail today (see below screenshot). An earlier visit to the same portal by Ventureburn at 4pm SA time today revealed that the former Springleap founder had been in jail in the Rikers Island correctional facility (pictured above) since his arrest on 23 August. Former Springleap founder Eran Eyal was today released from prison after...

  • Blockchain has yet to prove useful for companies – crypto expert [Sponsored]

    There is not one blockchain that currently provides value for companies or that saves them money, a SA crypto expert argues. Speaking at a panel discussion on the future of blockchain in Africa at the Leaderex expo last Tuesday (4 September), VALR founder Farzam Ehsani questioned the value that blockchains have reaped so far for businesses. “If we ask ourselves with all the money in the corporate space, which blockchains are in production that are either providing value or saving costs for companies I can’t give you any,” said Ehsani. VALR is a digital asset platform that allows customers to store and protect their...

  • PwC probe into financial mismanagement at wiGroup: CFO confirms he resigned

    The chief financial officer (CFO) of Cape Town based fintech company wiGroup confirmed today that he has resigned from the company. It comes as wiGroup revealed last month that it had tasked PwC to conduct a probe into what it is referring to as "financial mismanagement" at the company. The saga comes just months after the company secured investment from the Virgin Group and retail solutions provider Smollan to fast-track its entry into emerging and developed markets. An employee Ventureburn spoke to over the phone said Morne Patterson had resigned in July from the company. It follows a TechCentral story last month which reported that the company had ordered...

  • SA startup PropertyFox acquires local platform Steeple for undisclosed amount

    Online estate agency PropertyFox has acquired fellow Cape Town based property platform Steeple. PropertyFox did not disclose the amount it had bought the company for. PropertyFox revealed in a press release today that in terms of the deal, the two agencies will effectively be consolidated, with PropertyFox taking on all Steeple’s clients. Steeple, which has been in operation since 2012, says on its website that the company is a "low commission" estate agent platform, where sellers get to show potential buyers around their home and where Steeple takes commission of "only 1.9%" (plus Valued-Added Tax). The announcement follows hot on the heels of Pam...