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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • TIA seed fund lending to innovators, entrepreneurs grows 12% to R74m

    The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) channeled R74.3-million in the last financial year to 133 innovative projects -- up from R66.5-million in the 2015/16 year -- through its seed fund, the agency revealed in its latest annual report. The seed fund, which the agency launched in 2013, provides entrepreneurs and innovators that develop innovative solutions with grant funding of up to R500 000 to R650 000 per project. The fund has two streams – one that channels seed funding through technology transfer centres at universities and science centres to innovative projects and another that works with a number of small business support organisations in provinces...

  • ProsperiProp appoints Grant Thornton for ICO in bid to boost investor confidence

    Ahead of its initial coin offering (ICO) planned for this Friday (15 September), South African African fintech startup ProsperiProp announced today that it has appointed international auditing firm Grant Thornton to audit its business processes and financial results. Through its planned ICO startup wants to allow investors a chance to invest in international property. ProsperiProp aims to raise between $60-million and $120-million through the ICO in its own PROPX tokens, valued at one dollar a piece. The company will itself retain $80-million of tokens. Today's announcement comes just days after ProsperiProp announced last week that it had delayed its ICO to this...

  • Startups must think twice about pivoting for corporates – MMI Holdings manager

    Startups that pitch to corporates should be wary about pivoting their business just to accommodate a corporate, if they risk losing focus on their initial values, cautions Carol Atkinson, the managing partner of Integration Exponential Ventures at MMI Holdings. This is one of Atkinson's key tips for startups looking to pitch their web platforms and apps to corporates such as MMI (which includes insurers Momentum). In her 17 years with MMI, Atkinson has been involved in diverse areas in the company -- from product design, to development and implementation. She previously headed up the group's SMME segment and has been working specifically in the disruptive innovation space...

  • Is Durban man’s Airwater solution to Cape Town’s drought really that water-tight?

    It sounds like a breakthrough solution – producing water from condensation in the air. But in his bid to solve Cape Town’s water crisis, a Durban man could be knowingly wasting thousands of litres of water. Airwater CEO Ray de Vries has in recent weeks appeared on television talk shows and in newspaper articles warning that if the water crisis is not tackled Cape Town will be "dry by Christmas", while punting his machines that he claims can provide a sustainable water solution to everyone from offices and restaurants to car-wash services. De Vries, the former marketing manager for the country's Dusi Canoe Marathon,...

  • SA SME Fund is not aimed at venture capital sector, says CEO

    South Africa's R1.5-billion SA SME Fund is not aimed at boosting the country's nascent venture capital (VC) sector, but rather at helping already profitable mid-sized companies to grow and create jobs, says the fund's CEO Quinton Dicks. “It’s not a venture capital fund – it’s not the SA Venture Capital Fund,” said Dicks (pictured above) in a call yesterday with Ventureburn. In the call he revealed that the fund had commenced with screening funding partners and is likely by the end of this year to complete due diligence work on five funds it plans to co-invest with. In a recent interaction with Dicks, tech entrepreneurs voiced their concern...

  • Tech startups must spend more time on honing target market says MTN manager

    Tech entrepreneurs must spend more time developing a complete value proposition for the apps and web platforms that they pitch to corporates, says MTN's general manager of digital commercial management Mophethe Moletsane. "Unfortunately, most startups do the work on the solution, but are quick to rush to their demos without contextualising the market opportunity," says Moletsane. He says aligning the app, widget or platform to the strategic initiatives is everything for a big organisation. Unfortunately, most startups do the work on the solution, but are quick to rush to their demos without contextualising the market opportunity, says MTN manager Read more below on the advice he has for startups...

  • ‘SA Reserve Bank offers no protection for those that take part in ICOs’

    As China's ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) has lead to renewed concerns over the use of cryptocurrencies, South Africa's Reserve Bank says it offers "no recourse or protection" to consumers involved in ICOs. In response to questions from Ventureburn on whether it is concerned on the legality of ICOs following their banning in China and move to regulate them in the US, the Reserve Bank said in a statement to Ventureburn that it has taken note of regulatory developments surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs). "In South Africa, cryptocurrencies are not guaranteed by the SARB (SA Reserve Bank), hence offer no recourse or...

  • SA startup ProsperiProp delays ICO following China’s ban on token offerings

    South African startup ProsperiProp has delayed by one week its PROPX initial coin offerings (ICO) -- which it planned to run on Friday, 8 September -- following China's decision to ban ICOs in China and the US's moves last month to begin regulating ICOs. The ICO, which will be aimed largely at international investors looking to invest in international property and will use a cryptocurrency created by the company called “PROPX”, will now be run next week Friday (15 September). 'Based on this current market volatility, we have decided to allow the storm to pass before launching our ICO' It follows an announcement last month by ProsperiProp founder and...

  • Adapt or be disrupted, Ran Neu-Ner implores business at Innovation Summit

    Business must adapt or risk being disrupted, marketer and Creative Council group Co-CEO Ran Neu-Ner, told delegates at a Cape Town conference. Speaking at the Innovation Summit at the Cape Town Stadium which kicked off today and runs until Friday, Neu-Ner said all businesses will need to move away from what they presently define themselves as doing and move to become data firms -- if they are to prosper in the future economy. He singles out the example of a recent Nike's sports app: "They got a 100 million users in three months because they started to say 'we're a data...

  • Tech startups crucial to Pick n Pay’s technology strategy says executive

    South Africa retail giant Pick n Pay has in the last year worked closely with "at least" 10 startups on various projects that have been delivered into the business, says the retailer's deputy CEO Richard van Rensburg. "Tech startups are crucial to Pick n Pay’s technology strategy," Van Rensburg told Ventureburn last week, in a set of emailed responses. He says over half of the retailer's spend on innovation is with startups. "We have recently completed re-platforming all our systems across the group , from in-store point-of-sale (systems) through logistics and distribution, buying, customer loyalty and finance. Our core business systems are up to date and...

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