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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Fund head puts lack of women angel investors down to information asymmetry

    A shortage of information around tech startups has made women sceptical of investing in early-stage businesses. So, says IDF Capital CEO Polo Leteka. Leteka -- who runs the Johannesburg based I’M IN tech accelerator -- has invested in several startups through a Section 12J vehicle (which allows investors to get tax incentives if they place amounts in such a fund, which then invests in small businesses). She did not name the 12J. She adds that her experience in investing in tech startups has mainly been developed through the accelerator which sources contributions from corporate investors and then invests these in the startups it works with. She says other than often...

  • BREAKING: Former PPC Cement head announced as new SA SME Fund CEO [Updated]

    Former PPC Cement head Ketso Gordhan was today announced as the new CEO of the SA SME Fund. The announcement that Gordhan will take the helm of the fund -- which has yet to start lending to small businesses two years after it was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he was then deputy president -- was made today in a press release by Discovery on behalf o the SA SME Fund. It follows the resignation in June of Quinton Dicks, after being appointed in January last year. Using commitments by large listed companies, the R1.5-billion fund will put money into private funds that will...

  • Why Africa needs more critical media to cover lively tech startup sector [Opinion]

    A day doesn't seem to go by without news of another big deal in the tech startup sector in Africa. In a continent where war, famine and corruption have long grabbed the headlines, the nascent tech startup sector is a ray of light. Yet the lack of critical media and indepth coverage on the startup sector (or on small business in general) has helped forge the myth that tech entrepreneurship is little more than something fun and playful that those who can't get a real job get into. Too often media only highlight the glam of the sector -- making it look like...

  • When you’re a mom running a growing tech startup it’s all about multitasking

    For tech entrepreneur Chantalle ten Napel Wilson being a mom and a business owner comes down to one thing -- a lot of multitasking. Wilson, the founder of online vehicle retailing platform Virtual Drive and a mother of two, recalls how she has often had to conclude business meetings inside her car with a client seated next to her, while rushing to pick up her children from school. But she says most of her clients who find themselves in her car finishing a meeting react only positively. “Most people have said that it’s incredible that you do this,” she says. Says Wilson: “As an investor once told...

  • Natalie du Toit linked startup Sports Podium launches app to track golf scores

    Having ditched plans to run an initial coin offering (ICO), a SA blockchain startup that includes Paralympic SA swimming star Natalie du Toit as one of its shareholders, is rolling out an app that will allow amateur golfers access to accurate scores of one another's game. Speaking to Ventureburn last week Sports Podium founder Jaco Rossouw said the startup launched the app in June. The app allows golfers to keep track of own another's scores using the blockchain as a verification method. The current version of the app is already available for download from the Apple i-Store. In addition, anyone with any other sporting apps will...

  • Wealth Migrate assessing market, exchanges before phase two of ICO

    SA startup Wealth Migrate is assessing market conditions and the timing of the security exchanges to work out when to launch the second phase of an initial coin offering (ICO) for its WealthE tokens, the startup's founder Scott Picken said. This, after the Cape Town based startup raised just over $3-million in the ICO's first phase which closed on 21 May. Through the ICO investors will be able to invest in global property portfolios. In an email to Ventureburn last Thursday (2 August) Picken said the startup has closed on phase one of the ICO, and is working on pivoting to a security token in phase two. "We closed phase one in...

  • Luno looking to hire 40 new staff at Cape office amid tech investment boom in city

    Amid a tech boom in Cape Town, SA bitcoin exchange Luno has gone on a hiring spree. The startup is looking to fill 40 new positions for the company's Cape Town office (see here), currently advertised on LinkedIn. These include among others, positions for software engineers, business analysts, fraud analysts, data scientist and tax analyst. The startup is also looking to fill four positions in Johannesburg. Luno founder Marcus Swanepoel said the startup -- which is headquartered in London with teams based in several cities across the world -- is likely to hire another 50 to 100 people in South Africa over the next nine to 12 months. “Yes...

  • Is Silvertree’s co-entrepreneur model the answer to Silicon Valley?

    What is a co-entrepreneur? A glorified manager or a true entrepreneur? For Silvertree Internet Holdings managing director and co-founder Manuel Koser a co-entrepreneur is any entrepreneur whose business the holding company buys out and then asks to stay on. Koser argued in an article on Ventureburn last month that the Silicon Valley model -- of investing round after round of funds through often minority stakes in a startup before exiting for tens of millions of dollars -- does not work in Africa. The alternative, he believes, is a holding company that buys up significant (usually majority) stakes in startups and turns their founders into what he terms...

  • SA drone startup Aerobotics launches bid to take on US market

    SA aerial data-analytics startup Aerobotics has hired a US representative and plans to expand into the US market, with a team from the startup set to embark on a sales visit to the US tomorrow (3 August). It follows the announcement the Cape Town based startup made last month that it had closed a Series-A funding round led by local bank Nedbank for an undisclosed amount (see this earlier story). Aerobotics co-founder James Paterson -- who founded the startup in 2014 with Benji Meltzer -- revealed the developments at a sales demo yesterday at Boshkloof Wine Estate near Stellenbosch. The demo was aimed at presenting the product...

  • ‘Luno making progress to get users’ money back from Malaysian account’ [Updated]

    Just over five months since Malaysia's tax authority took the decision to unfreeze SA bitcoin exchange Luno's Malaysian bank account, the startup says it is making progress in helping customers to get their money back. The tax authority in January froze the startup’s Malaysia bank account with Maybank, after it launched a probe into the cryptocurrency company’s activities in Malaysia. It unfroze the account in February. "We are making progress in Malaysia, but these things take time as you can understand," Vijay Ayyar, who leads the Luno's global countries team told Ventureburn in an email today. "Our immediate priority was to help customers get their money back which is...