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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Endeavor Nigeria welcomes first two entrepreneurs into fold

    High-growth entrepreneur organisation Endeavor has welcomed its first two entrepreneurs from Endeavor Nigeria into its network, as well as three North African entrepreneurs. In a statement last month Endeavor said the two Nigerian entrepreneurs -- BitPesa founder Elizabeth Rossiello (who is American) and Cars45 co-founder and CEO Etop Ikpe -- were among 26 entrepreneurs from 18 companies in 13 countries that the organisation selected to join its network, at the 83rd International Selection Panel (ISP), held in Athens from 22 to 24 October. BitPesa is a digital foreign exchange and payment platform, while Cars45 claims its Nigeria the market’s first independent used car valuation expert and offers a two-sided...

  • Kalon, Smollan up stake in SnapnSave to over 50% with new R7m funding tranche

    Venture capital company Kalon Venture Partners and retail solutions company the Smollan Group SA have increased their stake in SA shopping community SnapnSave to over 50% with a new funding round totaling R7-million. The current tranche forms part of a R14-million round in funding committed by the two investors in August last year. SnapnSave’s app facilitates discounts for shoppers on their favourite products, wherever they shop, just by snapping a photo of their till slip. Three months ago the startup helped shoppers to redeem its one million till slip. SnapnSave CEO Mark Bradshaw confirmed to Ventureburn today that the deal was closed last Wednesday (31 October). The latest round follows...

  • Bank Zero to begin beta testing in the first quarter of 2019

    Venture capitalist and former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan's new app-based Bank Zero plans to begin beta testing in the first quarter of 2019, before launching to the public in mid-2019, the bank said in a statement today. The bank has begun alpha testing, with CEO Yatin Narsai calling it "a major achievement", and adding that most institutions invest "billions" just to get here. A small team at Bank Zero is currently conducting the testing, which involves: Using the banking app with its integration to the new core banking platform. Full end-to-end testing of the customer experience from "on-boarding" through to actual transacting. Perfecting the integrated business, security and...

  • Local venture capitalist blames Silicon Valley for over valuation of SA startups

    Over valuations are becoming increasingly prevalent among early-stage entrepreneurs in South Africa and Silicon Valley is to blame. So, says venture capitalist Clive Butkow of Kalon Venture Partners, who -- when asked last week by Ventureburn on what drives over valuations of local startups -- blamed the unrealistic perceptions on local startup founders who spend too much time in Silicon Valley where venture capitalists are quick to throw out large valuations without writing out a cheque. "Often we do find the entrepreneurs coming back to reality and revising down their ask," he said, adding that over valuations are also driven by founders who raise smaller amounts from...

  • Questions surround involvement of Eran Eyal’s former partner in Shopin pilots

    A former business partner of SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, has declined to comment on whether or not it was he who carried out pilot projects with two top US retailers -- on behalf of Eyal's present startup Shopin. Eyal was due to appear in New York's Kings Supreme Court - Criminal Term yesterday. He is charged with allegedly stealing $600 000 from investors by fraudulently soliciting investors to purchase convertible notes through false representations of his former company, Springleap. If convicted of the top count charged, he faces up to 15 years in prison. Eyal, who is the co-CEO of...

  • Stop misrepresenting us as Shopin investor unicorn ZocDoc tells Eran Eyal

    US medical platform ZocDoc is demanding that SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal -- who faces fraud charges in the US -- immediately stop claiming that the billion-dollar company is an investor in his startup Shopin. Eyal today however  denied that he had misrepresented the medical platform. Eyal (pictured above) was charged in 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. He is due to appear in court this Wednesday (24 October). In...

  • Five agritech startups that aim to take Africa into greener pastures

    If Africa is to foster more efficient growth, agriculture technology (or agritech) is likely to have an increasing role to play. Already a number of startups across the continent are getting stuck in developing tech solutions to help boost the sector. The agriculture sector employs over two thirds of the work force and contributes over third of gross domestic product according to the World Bank, in a recent report (opens as a PDF). Here then are five agritech startups which already show some promise: AgroCenta Ghanaian agritech startup AgroCenta is an online sales platform started in 2015 by Michael Ocansey and Francis Obirikorang (pictured above). It connects smallholder farmers directly to an...

  • Twiga Foods pilot to put more farm land to use to meet demand [Sponsored]

    Kenyan mobile-based B2B distribution platform Twiga Foods wants to put about 8000 acres of unused agricultural land in Kenya to use to meet growing demand for its platform -- which connects vendors with fresh produce farmers -- the startup's CEO Grant Brooke said today. Brooke (pictured above, right) was responding to questions by venture capitalist Christopher Schroeder of Next Billion Ventures, at Gitex Future Stars, an expo hosted in Dubai alongside Gitex Technology Week. Brooke said while his platform currently serves 2000 informal vendors a day, meeting demand for the traders that source fresh produce from the platform to then retail, still remains a challenge. On top of this the country imports between $6-billion and...

  • African startups hunt for investment at Gitex Future Stars [Sponsored]

    Rendani Nevhulaudzi is looking to take on Google Chrome with Ovuwa, Africa's newest search engine. All he needs is a cool $1-million, he says. His is one of about 40 African tech startups seeking investment at Gitex Future Stars expo in Dubai. The tech expo and conference kicked off yesterday at the city's Dubai World Trade Centre and runs until Wednesday (17 October) alongside Gitex Technology Week. Thousands of visitors -- many of whom are likely to include investors -- are expected to attend. In all about 500 startups are listed as exhibitors on Gitex Future Stars' website -- the bulk of these are...

  • Eran Eyal lied about existence of Springleap advisory board – UK investor

    A UK angel investor says Springleap founder Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, misrepresented him as the chairman of an advisory board which the investor claims "never existed". The SA entrepreneur 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. Eyal is due in court again on 24 October -- after appearing on 11 September when he posted bail of $500 000, after spending three...

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