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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Winning Cape Town startups to tackle water crisis with innovative solutions

    With the City of Cape Town seeking to introduce further water restrictions from 1 June, city authorities would do well to turn to entrepreneurs from four local startups who have designed innovative solutions. The four startups last night won a pitching challenge hosted by Stellenbosch University's LaunchLab to design solutions to tackle water and waste management. Their prize includes incubation and business support from the incubator. The four -- chosen from 11 participants -- are: Bridgiot: which has developed an internet-of-things solutions to provide instant notifications to users on their water usage. The startup is led by Jurie Envee. AlwaysOn founder Nico Pretorius is also involved in...

  • Applications open now for one-month Wits, MIT tech startups course

    Wits University, in conjunction with MIT Sloan School of Management, has opened applications for teams interested in participating in the MIT Global Startup Labs Programme which starts in Johannesburg next month. The event runs from 24 June to 29 July at Tshimologong, Wits University's Digital Innovation Precinct, and will provide opportunities for participants to learn and experience the process of innovating and building a tech startup. Joburg Centre of Software Engineering (JCSE) director and Tshimologong founder Barry Dwolatzky said in a press release to Ventureburn that applicants need to exhibit a sense of cohesion, drive, and creativity. "We are looking for teams of three to five people...

  • How over 70% of scale-ups fail and what entrepreneurs can do about it

    It’s a startup’s worst nightmare – having grown to over 100 employees everything suddenly slows. The bills start piling up but without growth you're unable to meet the higher costs that your bigger business is consuming. Everything you spent years building is about to come crumbling down. Jason Goldberg, founder of 10XE, has helped tens of entrepreneurs scale their business. Speaking at the Western Cape Funding Fair, held at the Cape Town Convention Centre on 10 May, Goldberg says while just the top one percent of startups end up scaling their business to a more sizeable firm, over 70% of these scale-ups end up stuck in...

  • ‘Nigeria’s high cost of doing business is holding back acquisition of startups’

    Nigeria's recession should have made the acquisitions of startups more affordable for foreign firms -- but instead the creation companies and building of new products has slowed because of the high cost of operating there, says Nigerian tech expert Emeka Okoye. "Unfortunately most startups are centred in Lagos which is one of the most expensive cities in the world," said Okoye in an interview with Ventureburn. The city is ranked at number 13 out of 209 cities by Mercer in its 2016 Cost of Living rankings. Much of the high cost of doing business is down to expensive internet and firms having to pay for diesel...

  • ‘Silicon Cape event to tackle lack of diversity in tech sector’

    Cape tech group Silicon Cape plans to address the lack of diversity in the Cape tech sector – a sector dominated by white males – at an event in Cape Town later this month. Entrepreneur Antoinette Prophy, who holds the diversity and transformation portfolio on Silicon Cape’s community council and runs business mentoring organisation 88collective, told Ventureburn today that the event – Tech eKasi – would be held on May 31. "Most of the boardrooms that I step into are (dominated by) pale males. It's our responsibility to bring more women into tech," she said. Prophy was speaking today as part of...

  • New Silicon Cape head pledges to make sector’s ‘old boys’ club’ more inclusive

    Silicon Cape's new managing director says she plans to get the Cape's tech scene -- long tagged as an "old boys' club", with moneyed white males dominating the region's startup ecosystem -- to become more inclusive. "Research I've done and the whispering I've heard is it (Cape) may not be inclusive and may be an old boys' club," Ellen Fischat told Ventureburn. "The fact of the matter is 20 years ago there were no black tech operators so what we see at the moment is a consequence of history," says Fischat, who started her new position yesterday (8 May). Fischat, who is from Port Elizabeth, has been involved in...

  • ‘We tried to partner with investors that gelled with us’ — CarZar on $1.5m deal

    Partnering with investors that complement them has helped SA tech startup and online car buying service CarZar.co.za land $1.5-million in funding from a Sweden-listed investment firm, says CarZar Joint managing director Fernando Pinheiro. Pinheiro announced the deal by Vostok New Ventures, which is also behind Russia's leading online classifieds company Avito, last week. He said the company was approached by several potential investors after opening its Series-A round of funding. He said CarZar was introduced to the investment company through common connections. "We tried to partner with investors that gelled with our business, enabling good synergies working together. Vostok New Ventures proved to be this type of investor....

  • Tackle infrastructure, skills challenges to boost tech sector, say Nigerian experts

    Nigeria must overcome its infrastructure challenges and shortage of skills if it is to help the country's nascent tech scene to grow, say analysts and entrepreneurs. The country boasts such successful tech companies such as fintech company Interswitch, edtech firm Andela and e-commerce site Jumia, which last year raised $326-million in funding. In addition, investments from overseas programmes such as Y Combinator, Village Capital and 500 Startups continue afoot, despite the country having slipped into a recession last year. Nigeria's burgeoning startup scene and its large market and entrepreneurial population with over 180 million people is what lured Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to Lagos's Yaba startup...

  • Zimbabwe government opens applications for $25-million tech fund

    Zimbabwe's telecoms regulator, Potraz, has launched a call for tech entrepreneurs and innovators to apply to a $25-million government tech fund. TechZim reported the launch on Wednesday, with Potraz managing the fund. The ICT Innovation Drive fund was announced last year by the Ministry of ICT, Portal and Courier Services. A statement issued by Portraz calls for "ICT innovators, startups or entrepreneurs with a brilliant innovation or solution" to apply to send their proposal for funding, together with financial projections and a budget for consideration to innovationdrive@potraz.gov.zw by 30 May. The statement did not say how many applicants Potraz intends to fund or what the maximum...

  • CCDI to back seven innovative Cape projects in second round of seed fund

    A hydrogen-powered drone that releases lab-bred insects to wipe out pests, a medical device which uses a novel method to treat glaucoma and an innovative method to manufacture oak extract for use in the manufacture of wine and spirits... These are just some of the seven biotech and agricultural projects that will each receive seed funding of up to R500 000 from the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) in partnership with the Technology Innovation Agency's (TIA) seed fund and the Western Cape government’s Department of Economic Development. CCDI executive director Erica Elk said at the announcement that an investment committee made up of experts from various...