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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • South Africa is slipping behind on regulating bitcoin — Vinny Lingham

    Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham says South Africa is falling behind when it comes to regulating bitcoin. “I think we’re definitely behind the times. I mean Japan has just removed taxes on bitcoin yesterday. Singapore’s regulating it more, Australia etc as well. All these countries in the world are being very progressive on cryptocurrencies and whatever else and South Africa hasn’t issued any guidance on it yet,” said Lingham, in a Skype call with Ventureburn yesterday. Lingham is the CEO of Civic which makes use of bitcoin and deploys cryptographic keys to allow for the secure storage of information on mobile phones or...

  • From smart bearings to group-buying app, meet Innovation Prize of Africa finalists

    A mobile app that helps rally women into buying groups and a smart bearing that can boost energy efficiency in Africa -- these are just two of the ideas from the 10 finalists that will attend the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) in Accra, Ghana in just over 10 days' time. The awards, which take place on 18 July and are hosted by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), are now in their sixth year. The 10 finalists stand a chance to win a grand prize of $100 000, as well as a runner up prize of $25 000 and a special prize for social impact of $25 000. Read more: AIF reveals names of 10...

  • Q&A: Cape Town kitesurfer details what it takes to be a digital nomad

    With ever improving technology and a search for a better way to work, many South Africans are turning to the possibility of working remotely, as digital nomads. Cape Town born Justin Nothling, 26, is one such person. A survey last year by employee engagement firm TinyPulse of over 500 US employees who work remotely found they tend to be more satisfied and more productive than office-bound workers. Nothling today runs an online app school cloneable.io, develops apps (such as Zumalator) and is also working on a few projects involving bitcoin. He’s worked remotely for four years now in several countries and is currently in Montenegro, where...

  • SA might be in recession but opportunities are huge – Alphawave chairman

    While South Africa slipped into a recession in the first quarter of this year, Stellenbosch investor and entrepreneur Frans Meyer says the opportunities for innovative companies locally and abroad are "still huge". Meyer is the group executive chairman of local tech company Alphawave. Meyer, together with Gronum Smith started EMSS in 1994. One of their company's now supplies the receivers that are used on South Africa's Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. In May the parent company EMSS Group changed its name to Alphawave in May. 'The specific opportunities for innovative companies, providing products and services locally, abroad, still huge' Meyer responded to various...

  • SA fitness app Fitkey heads for 1000 paid subscribers almost two years after launch

    Almost two years after it launched local startup Fitkey has almost a 1000 paid subscribers, with about 3000 users signed up to the browse the site. It all started when Ohio-born Evan Walther, who has a background marketing for tech startups in the US, came on a two-week holiday back in 2014 and fell in love with Cape Town. Walther is due to speak tonight at Startup Grind Pretoria (see details here). With the city being close to nature and with its abundance of good restaurants, it was so much like Cornell University in Ithaca in upstate New York that he decided...

  • Q&A: Focus on creating unicorn for SA is misdirected says Justin Stanford

    Any overt focus by South African ecosystem players on creating the country's first unicorn is a "misdirection of attention" says venture capitalist and founder of 4Di Capital Justin Stanford. With the number of multi-million acquisition deals concluded by South African startups seemingly on the increase of late, Stanford says the country should rather focus on systematically repeatable value creation. 'Focus on headline number of $1-billion valuation is misdirection of attention' It follows the $445-million sale of Kapa Biosystems in 2015 and, more recently, the $123-million GetSmarter deal announced in May. Read more: Are these the 10 all-time biggest exit deals for SA startups? Responding to emailed questions from Ventureburn, Stanford...

  • FSB misses its own crowdfunding deadline

    South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) has missed a June 30 deadline on considering whether to regulate equity crowdfunding or not. A FSB spokesperson in April said the authority had set a date of 30 June by which it planned to rule on whether to craft specific rules or not for equity crowdfunding. It followed the completion of a research report by the FSB on crowdfunding. Read more: South Africa’s FSB to rule on crowdfunding by June 30 However Felicity Mabaso, the FSB's head of department for FAIS Supervision, stressed that the "crowdfunding project" is still a work in progress. "We have scheduled further engagements...

  • 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...

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