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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • SA startup Virtual Actuary may consider ‘combo valuation’ with US partner

    Six months after turning down an investment offer from a major SA insurance company, SA startup Virtual Actuary is in the US for talks with venture capitalists -- including some who are keen to do "a combo valuation" with the startup's US partner, software developer Insurtech Global. Virtual Actuary co-founder Adi Kaimowitz has been in the US for the past week after being invited to speak on disruption in the actuarial world at an event at the Hartford Insurtech Hub in Hartford, Connecticut (See a video of the talk he did in Hartford on Thursday last week below). Virtual Actuary,...

  • 10 people in the SA tech startup sector you should follow in 2019

    The new year is here, 2019 is here. Why not get started by following and connecting with some key decision makers in the SA tech scene. Here are 10 people — from entrepreneur and investor Michael Jordaan to Matsi Modise, the head of startup advocacy body Simodisa — that you should follow to keep abreast on views and happenings in the SA tech startup ecosystem. Michael Jordaan (Entrepreneur and investor): The venture capitalist and former banker has invested in a number of startups and always has a wise word to say on tech innovation in South Africa. Earlier this year he announced plans to launch a new app-based Bank Zero. In...

  • What African startups should keep an eye out for in 2019

    The new year is upon us and it's time to get that diary marked up. Last year was quite packed with happenings. What then can we expect in 2019? Here then is a short list of what funds and initiatives are expected to launch in Africa in 2019. Jack Ma's Netpreneur Prize Alibaba founder Jack Ma's (pictured above with SA President Cyril Ramaphosa) $10-million Africa Netpreneur Prize kicks off in 2019 and Kenyan hub Nailab has been selected to run the programme. The programme will award $10-million to 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years. In August last year Nailab founder Sam Gichuru said his hub was in the process...

  • Reaching out, nice to e-meet you and other buzzwords startups must banish

    We've heard it all at Ventureburn this year. But frankly we're a little tired. It's been a long year, but before we go we would like to share with you 12 buzzwords that startups should banish from their emails and conversations. Go ahead and make it part of your New Year's resolution. Why be stuck on just a few over-used words or phrases when there are literally tens of thousands of words in the English language. The second edition of the (20-volume) Oxford English Dictionary contains entries for 171 476 words in current use, and 47 156 obsolete words. Steering away from cliche...

  • Eight SA tech entrepreneurs who made headlines in Ventureburn in 2018

    A local startup founder accused in the US of stealing $600 000 from investors by faking details of his startup, a mysterious angel investor and an entrepreneur who admits he "never saw it coming" when his tech company was hit by a financial mismanagement saga. These are just three of the eight SA tech entrepreneurs that made headlines in Ventureburn this year.  This year we've seen it all. Here then are the eight who made headlines. Eran Eyal, Springleap South African entrepreneur Eran Eyal, who currently lives in New York, was jailed for two weeks in August over fraud charges in the US. He has denied any wrong doing. Eyal...

  • Are these the biggest disclosed VC deals in 2018 involving SA tech startups?

    SA tech startups raised over a R1-billion or over $89.3-million in 2018. This is the figure available to Ventureburn through the 15 venture capital (VC) deals in which startups disclosed how much they raised (JUMO's $52-million and $12.5-million deals and Yoco's $16-million deal accounted for the bulk of this). Not every startup wants to disclose how much they raised. Usually to avoid giving future potential investors the inside edge, startups often withhold the amount and equity stake involved in a funding raise -- which is why a further 13 tech startups elected to withhold this figure from the public when announcing they had closed a...

  • Are these the four biggest SA tech acquisitions of 2018?

    As 2018 comes to an end SA tech entrepreneurs can look back on a year of four big acquisitions. As usual, no one is willing to say (at least for now) how much the companies -- Uber, Hewlett Packard, Pam Golding or Crossfin -- paid to acquire these four local tech companies. The Uber Eats deal -- in which the company bought SA-founded orderTalk -- is perhaps this year's biggest acquisition deal. Local venture capital (VC) company Knife Capital invested R9-million in the company back in 2008 (the company was founded in 1998) for a significant minority stake (probably 20% or...

  • Are these the 10 biggest disclosed African tech startup deals of 2018? [Updated]

    A whole lot of money. That's what over 60 African tech startups raised this year. While not every startup wanted to disclose how much they raised, those that did made quite a packet -- over $178-million going on data from 48 venture capital disclosed deals (see Editor's note below) reported by Ventureburn in 2018. Of this, almost a third or $52-million is accounted for by one deal in SA fintech JUMO (the startup raised a further $12.5-million, in addition to this, earlier this month - see this story). In addition, SA startups accounted for about half of all funding raised that was disclosed. Ventureburn's...

  • How SA tech entrepreneurs plan to take time out this festive season

    Taking time out is vital if you want to run a successful business. Sometimes you need to stop to see the wood from the trees. Which is why Ventureburn has sampled a number of tech startup founders on the value of taking a break and how they plan to spend this festive season. Giraffe co-founder Anish Shivdasani says he plans to take a week off and spend time with family, it’s what he does every year. He says it's critical to take breaks. The Joburg-based startup runs a web platform that matches job seekers with job placements. Early this year the startup closed a second funding round (see this...

  • Fintech Nala wins Seedstars Dar es Salaam, confirms Y-Combinator selection

    Tanzanian fintech Nala was yesterday selected as the winner of this year’s Seedstars Dar es Salaam, at a pitching event in Tanzania's capital. Nala is a mobile money application that works offline, allowing users to easily access multiple mobile money wallets faster. This, as Nala founder Benjamin Fernandes yesterday also confirmed to Ventureburn (following a tip off from an industry source) that the startup has been selected by the prestigious US seed accelerator Y-Combinator to take part in its 2019 batch. Fernandes declined to comment further, saying Y-Combinator had asked participants not to share publicly yet that they have been accepted. The accelerator usually makes seed investments in those startups that take part in...

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