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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Agri-Vie Fund exit from Fairfield sees investors reap over three times in returns

    Investors in the $100-million Agri-Vie Fund I have scored big with the fund today announcing its first exit, from one of South Africa’s most respected dairy companies Fairfield Dairy. A private investment trust linked to the Lang family which founded the diary has agreed to buy Agri-Vie’s stake in the KwaZulu-Natal-based dairy producer. While the fund would not disclosed the sale figure, Agri-Vie co-founder and managing partner Herman Marais said the return on the investment exceeded the fund's objectives -- which is usually to return to investors between 2.5 to 3 times of the invested capital. The fund's initial investment of about $4-million in Fairfield diaries was made in 2009. Marais said...

  • Q&A: Report details fintech’s explosion across African continent

    Africa has seen a boom in fintech in the last two years, with 301 startups now active in the sector on the continent, a report released earlier this month by Disrupt Africa reveals. Ventureburn asked Disrupt Africa co-founder Tom Jackson and co-author (along with Gabriella Mulligan) of Finnovating for Africa: Exploring the African Fintech Ecosystem Report 2017 to share some of his thoughts on where fintech is going in Africa. Ventureburn: What are some of the most surprising things you have uncovered in fintech in Africa in the last two and half years? Tom Jackson: There are plenty of things that obviously don’t surprise us, such as the fact...

  • Drive Revenue gets multi-million rand funding injection from HAVAÍC

    Cape Town tech startup Drive Revenue has landed an undisclosed amount from HAVAÍC, the venture capital (VC) fund announced yesterday. HAVAÍC executive director Grant Rock said in a press release that the funding will be used to help Drive Revenue to roll out its cloud-enabled financial management system for legal practices. Speaking to Ventureburn, Rock said he could not disclose the amount in funding invested in Drive Revenue, saying only that it was "several million" rands and that it was made available from individual investors offshore. Rock said the idea is to help Drive Revenue to secure a round of equity investment later this year. 'We have resellers coming...

  • SA angel investment sector has to grow, black or white, says Simodisa head

    South Africa needs more angel investors who can help startups and small businesses to grow. Yet there are still too few black Africans involved in angel investing. In a bid to create more debate around the issue Ventureburn asked Simodisa managing director Matsi Modise what the country can do to address this. Ventureburn: When you hear stories of angel investors you see mainly white faces, and perhaps just a smattering of Indian angels - most of them being male. Where are the black angel investors then? Matsi Modise: The angel investment space in South Africa is still in its infancy and is...

  • Kuruman ticketing startup lands deal with Ackermans, PEP stores

    Most people have never heard of Kuruman -- a small dusty town of 13,000 people in the Northern Cape -- where Tshepang Peme runs tech startup DigiTicket SA. Now the ticketing platform is spreading its wings after landing a deal with retailer PEP stores and Ackermans. “Customers will be able to buy tickets by walking into any PEP and Ackermans store, pay for their tickets and the customer will receive their tickets within 24 hours after the purchase in the form of an email, MMS or SMS,” says Peme, 29. The deal, which the startup landed in April, has allowed DigiTicket to roll out its ticketing offering...

  • I was like Jekyll and Hyde – Spur founder on dealing with customers, staff

    Spur founder Allen Ambor credits his restaurant success to keen customer service and a "draconian" management style which was "my way or the highway". Ambor, 76, who last month sold most of his shares in Spur, was speaking at a Startup Grind event held on Tuesday evening at Workshop 17. Read more: Spur founder Allen Ambor on selling shares, that incident "My attitude was I don't care who suffers as long as it's not the customer. And I promise you I did suffer plenty. I was overworked to an incredible extent and I demanded a lot from my staff. "So often I would get a...

  • Spur founder Allen Ambor on selling shares, that incident

    Spur founder Allen Ambor says he still owns shares in the restaurant franchise he started in 1967 -- despite an announcement last month by the company that he had sold all of the almost 3.1 million shares he held at the time, totalling R100-million. Speaking at a Startup Grind event held at Workshop 17 last night, Ambor, who is also the company's executive chair, said he still holds almost 500 000 shares -- equal to 20% of his original holding. The original holding made up about 3.2% of the Spur group before he sold the shares in March, Ambor added. "I've got a family trust that...

  • Bloemfontein startup secures $2m funding from Canadian investment bank

    Bloemfontein-based startup Xineoh is making waves internationally thanks to its unique algorithm, which has already generated in excess of $30-million in revenue for clients across the globe, attracting the interest of investors, with $2-million received in backing to date in 2017. The startup has developed a series of algorithms that help connect the right buyer to the right producer -- in a similar way to how Amazon.com and Netflix taps into user behaviour to predict potential purchasing behaviour and serve users bespoke information likely to incite conversion. Xineoh CEO and founder Vian Chinner told Ventureburn that King and Bay West, a investment...

  • Consumer lending has dropped to ‘almost zero’ under new regulations – Rainfin CEO

    Consumer lending on marketplace lending platform RainFin has ground to a halt since the new National Credit Regulations threshold came into effect on 11 November, the company’s chief executive Sean Emery said yesterday. "Our consumer lending has dropped almost to zero," Emery said, adding that before the new threshold came into place consumer lending made up half of the platform's focus. Under the new threshold, lenders who lend even one cent to consumers have be registered with the National Credit Regulator to do so. Emery said most consumers are reluctant to go through the process of getting registered with the National Credit Regulator. Under...

  • ‘SA must forget being unicorn factory, focus on tech that solves challenges’

    South Africa is never going to be "a unicorn factory" so startups should focus rather on using technology to help the country solve its many challenge, says Giraffe co-founder Anish Shivdasani. He was speaking at the launch of a new report at the Gordon Institute of Business (GIBS) last night. "The reason most unicorns are from the USA is because their economy is 60 times the size of ours," said Shivdasani, whose startup came out tops at the 2016 Seedstars Competition. 'Reason most unicorns are from US is because their economy is 60 times the size of ours' The event -- to launch Jason Levin's Unicorns, Gazelles & Leapfrogs:...