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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • How SA tech startups plan to celebrate Mandela Day by reaching out to needy

    With South Africa today honouring the legacy of former president Nelson Mandela, a number of SA tech startups have taken to celebrating Mandela Day by offering to reach out to those more needy. Here then are how three startups have chosen to honour Madiba, or give up 67 minutes of their time in remembrance of the icon's legacy. Cape Town based logistics startup Pargo is running a challenge today to get clients to send food or toy parcels up to underprivileged children in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. A number of SA tech startups are celebrating Mandela Day today by offering to reach out...

  • Five SA tech startups that are expanding into the rest of Africa [Updated]

    South African tech startups are slowly waking up to the massive untapped market that is the rest of the continent. If data from Ventureburn's 2017 tech startup survey is anything to go by, an increasing percentage of tech startups are looking to Africa to market their new solutions. In all 40% of the 260 SA tech startup founders Ventureburn surveyed in a 2017 tech startup survey listed Africa as their principal market, up from 13% in a 2015 Ventureburn survey which sampled 197 founders. Ventureburn spoke to five SA startups to find out how their expansion to the rest off the continent is going and what some...

  • How Google Launchpad helped prepare newly cash flush Aerobotics to scale

    Funding has little value if you don't put it to good use as some startups often discover when it's too late. This makes business advice from experts invaluable -- as Benji Meltzer, the co-founder of Cape Town aerial data analytics platform Aerobotics will likely know. It come hot on the heels of last week's Series-A funding announcement (for an undisclosed amount) in which local Nedbank was the lead investor. Aerobotics co-founder Benji Meltzer (pictured above right, with co-founder James Patterson (left) and Google research director Peter Norvig) told Ventureburn today that being part of the six-month Google Launchpad programme has helped the startup in place the necessary systems and processes that...

  • SA platform Bitfund claims hundreds of signups since yesterday’s launch

    SA cryptocurrency investment platform Bitfund has had "hundreds" of investors sign up since its launch yesterday claims one of its founders, Josh Miltz. The founders of the Joburg-based startup claim that the new platform gives investors exposure to index portfolios of more than 20 of the largest cryptocurrencies. "We think a lot of people are excited by the technology," Miltz told Ventureburn today. However, Miltz -- a software engineer, who founded the startup with three former school friends last year -- declined to say how much the platform was able to raise in funding from three local entrepreneurs last year. He could say only that the platform received a "significant" amount in seed...

  • SA small businesses were looking for R86bn in 2017 estimates Finfind report

    A whopping R86-billion. That is the amount of finance that a new survey estimates that South African small businesses were looking for last year. Released today by Finfind -- an online platform that helps link small firms to funders -- the South African SMME Access to Finance Report (2017) (find it here) estimates that the total annual funding requests for small businesses to be between R86-billion and R346-billion (depending on whether 20% or 70% of small firms were looking for finance or not). Finfind's data set -- which included 11 033 firms -- was collected from the organisation's funder matching platform last year, where small businesses seeking finance completed an online...

  • Vice-president in meeting with Google head to showcase Nigeria’s tech sector [Updated]

    Nigeria's vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, who is leading a three-day US roadshow to showcase the growth of Nigeria’s tech and entertainment sectors, yesterday met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Yesterday Pichai tweeted: "Happy to welcome the Vice President of Nigeria @ProfOsinbajo to the Googleplex today -- great to chat with him about the opportunities of Nigeria's digital economy". Osinbajo, who arrived in the US yesterday, is leading a public-private sector collaborative investment roadshow to the US, where he will be speaking to global industry leaders in IT and entertainment sectors in Silicon Valley in San Francisco and in Hollywood, California, until tomorrow (11 July). Osinbajo...

  • SA web platform Virtual Actuary turns down bid from major insurance firm

    Things are hotting up for SA web platform Virtual Actuary, which allows actuaries to collaborate on projects without the need for expensive offices. The startup last week turned down an investment bid from a major local insurance company. Speaking to Ventureburn today, the platform's co-founder Adi Kaimowitz declined to name the interested insurance company, but said that the firm wanted to take a 65% to 70% stake in his company which he said didn't make sense to the founders. He added however that the parties did not discuss a selling price. Despite turning the bid down on Friday (6 July), Kaimowitz said he has opted to "keep the door...

  • Six black SA tech entrepreneurs to watch [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. Yoco, Recomed and Giraffe. For many SA entrepreneurs these startups and their respective founders -- Katlego Maphai, Sheraan Amod and Anish Shivdasani -- have become household names. They are just some of the many new tech startups emerging headed by black entrepreneurs (Ventureburn uses the definition in the Constitution to define black people -- which include: black African, Indian, coloured and Chinese South...

  • Tech sector can help drive future growth in Western Cape says Wesgro head

    The tech sector has the potential to be one of the most critical drivers of future economic growth in the Western Cape believes Wesgro CEO Tim Harris. The head of the Western Cape government's investment agency says with the services sector already making up more than 70% of the province's gross domestic product (GDP), a strong opportunity exists for the province to position itself as a leading hub for innovation on the continent. "Central to this process is the development of a strong tech ecosystem that has global recognition, and in turn attracts multinational entities, capital and talent to the province,"...

  • Weetracker African VC report raises questions on definition of tech startups

    Did the first half of 2018 really see African startups net over $168-million in 118 disclosed deals, as a new report claims? The African startups and VC ecosystem report released this week by tech blog Weetracker includes a $47-million deal involving a 14-year-old Kenyan telecommunications company, Cellulant. In addition, the report counts data from several other deals to companies which one could hardly consider to be startups -- such as nine-year old mobile insights firm Terragon Group, eight-year old software company Africa's Talking and seven-year solar power company M-Kopa. Or can one? 'Mentality of innovating on existing ideas' WeeTracker Media founder and CEO Rishabh Lawania maintains these deals and others, should be included in calculating deal flow to African...