• BURN MEDIA
    • Memeburn
      Tech-savvy insight and analysis
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Will local startup Scoop A Cab really offer meter taxi drivers a way to take on Uber?

    SA ride-hailing startup Scoop A Cab claims it will offer meter taxis a way to take on the likes of Uber and Taxify with their new app and in doing so help reduce recent taxi violence, but will it work? The self-funded startup, founded earlier this year by Princess Ncube, began offering the service via its app to Bloemfontein from 1 October, after the service launched in Johannesburg and Pretoria earlier this year. The Scoop a Cab app offers three vehicle types that passengers can utilise: hatchbacks, meter taxis and private cars. In an email to Ventureburn, a marketing representative for the startup, Anesu Matewa, claims that encouraging meter taxi drivers to join the platform...

  • SA equity crowdfunding site Uprise.Africa reveals first three planned investments

    A cab company, freelance listing app and African languages publishing project -- these are three of the initial investments that Uprise.Africa, which hopes to become South Africa's first equity crowdfunding platform, plans to make available to investors from 25 October. Uprise.Africa spokesperson Inge Prins confirmed to Ventureburn today that the platform intends to initially list six startups or projects. So far three investments already appear on the platform. These are: Storied, a Jacana Publishing project to help publish more African fiction and poetry in which the company is seeking R3-million in exchange for a total equity of 49% in the project. Jobvine Freelance,...

  • Meet 22-year-old who landed R1-million in seed funding for KnektMe app

    At just 22-years-old, college dropout Carl Visagie is hoping that his social networking app KnektMe turns big, following R1-million in seed funding the startup received from an Israeli angel investor. The app scans for other KnektMe users in close proximity, using a device's Bluetooth connection. This allows entrepreneurs and investors who attend an event for example to identify those that they might be able to network with before meeting them in person. "It's almost like a cheat sheet," says Visagie. "The idea is to see what they (other investors or entrepreneurs) do before meeting them," he says, adding that users are then able to...

  • Black-owned startup responds on Adapt IT buyback it made at 90% discount

    The founder of black-owned startup Uyandiswa Amanda Dambuza says there is nothing untoward in a deal to buy back JSE-listed Adapt IT's 49% stake in her company at a 90% discount. "I have also read your article, which somehow seeks to tarnish the reputation of our businesses, that I find unfortunate and completely unfounded," Dambuza said in an email to Ventureburn today following the publication by the site of an earlier story on the deal. Read more: Questions raised as Adapt IT sells stake in black startup for ‘90% discount’ She attributed the 90% discount in the buyback deal -- which took effect from 1 July --...

  • Questions raised as Adapt IT sells stake in black startup for ‘90% discount’

    Three years after it bought a 49% stake in black-owned project management consultancy Uyandiswa and built the firm up to an almost R100-million a year company, JSE-listed IT firm Adapt IT has sold its stake back to the black-owned startup -- at a whopping 90% discount. The sale was announced yesterday in a press release from Adapt IT, which said the deal was effective from 1 July 2017. Adapt IT said the buyback concluded a "successful enterprise development programme" during which Adapt IT took Uyandiswa, then a two-person business in 2014, and helped build it into an "80 person-strong firm with a turnover...

  • China’s ban of ICOs unlikely to effect long-term bitcoin sales says Luno founder

    China's ban earlier this month of initial coin offerings (ICOs) is unlikely to affect bitcoin sales in the long term -- while the volatility may in fact benefit bitcoin platforms, says the founder of Luno bitcoin platform Marcus Swanepoel. Speaking to Ventureburn yesterday following his startup's announcement of a R120-million funding round, Swanepoel pointed out that ICOs and cryptocurrency itself are two different things and that the ban is likely not effect Bitcoin sales. Read more: SA bitcoin platform Luno closes R120m round led by Balderton Capital "I don't think there will be any fallout from it," said the founder of the four-year old South...

  • FNB manager details six ways startups can improve their pitch to a corporate

    One of the worse things a tech entrepreneur looking to pitch to a corporate can do, is to send one liners to corporate managers asking for individuals to call them, says FNB's head of enterprise development Heather Lowe. "The bank is a business and as you would expect, it is not obliged to simply spend time and resources following up with no ends. Businesses need to take the pitch seriously from the onset," she says. Stakeholders are busy and quite often one has one chance to make an impression, says FNB head The advice is one of six tips she says startups should...

  • SA bitcoin platform Luno closes R120m round led by Balderton Capital

    South African founded bitcoin platform Luno today announced its expansion into 35 new markets across Europe, and a R120-million Series B funding round, led by London-based venture capital firm Balderton Capital. Rand Merchant Investments, through its fintech investment arm, AlphaCode, and existing investors Digital Currency Group also participated in the round. Luno allows users to buy and sell digital currencies. The announcement follows Luno’s R60-million Series A round in 2015, which was led by emerging market tech giant Naspers. While Luno CEO Marcus Swanepoel declined to reveal the exact size of the stake in the company that investors had taken, he said that...

  • Who is Israeli angel investor company behind success of SA’s Zapper?

    In under four years South African mobile payments platform Zapper has grown to operate in 12 markets, employing over 300 people. It sounds like a SA startup success -- but who really owns the Durban-based company? The company, which earlier this month introduced mobile payment starter packs to the market, does not provide information on its website on who its owners are. While a number of media stories have in the past have referred to Zapper Group CEO David de Villiers (pictured above), as the founder of Zapper, the former IT head at Investec bank told Ventureburn that he started the firm in November 2013 with...

  • Don’t assume you know more about tech than those you pitch to – Clicks head

    Startups that pitch their apps or web platform to corporates should not assume that they are more knowledgeable technologically than those that they are pitching to. So says Amanda Graham, Head of Business Development at Clicks Group. This is one of the six "obvious" mistakes that startups pitching to corporates make, says Graham. The others include (among others) failing to read up on the company's existing products, assuming that the corporate does not have access to world benchmarks and presenting to the corporate why everything they are doing is wrong. Startups must not assume that they are more knowledgeable technologically than individuals that they are...