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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Are these the biggest disclosed VC deals in 2018 involving SA tech startups?

    SA tech startups raised over a R1-billion or over $89.3-million in 2018. This is the figure available to Ventureburn through the 15 venture capital (VC) deals in which startups disclosed how much they raised (JUMO's $52-million and $12.5-million deals and Yoco's $16-million deal accounted for the bulk of this). Not every startup wants to disclose how much they raised. Usually to avoid giving future potential investors the inside edge, startups often withhold the amount and equity stake involved in a funding raise -- which is why a further 13 tech startups elected to withhold this figure from the public when announcing they had closed a...

  • Are these the four biggest SA tech acquisitions of 2018?

    As 2018 comes to an end SA tech entrepreneurs can look back on a year of four big acquisitions. As usual, no one is willing to say (at least for now) how much the companies -- Uber, Hewlett Packard, Pam Golding or Crossfin -- paid to acquire these four local tech companies. The Uber Eats deal -- in which the company bought SA-founded orderTalk -- is perhaps this year's biggest acquisition deal. Local venture capital (VC) company Knife Capital invested R9-million in the company back in 2008 (the company was founded in 1998) for a significant minority stake (probably 20% or...

  • Are these the 10 biggest disclosed African tech startup deals of 2018? [Updated]

    A whole lot of money. That's what over 60 African tech startups raised this year. While not every startup wanted to disclose how much they raised, those that did made quite a packet -- over $178-million going on data from 48 venture capital disclosed deals (see Editor's note below) reported by Ventureburn in 2018. Of this, almost a third or $52-million is accounted for by one deal in SA fintech JUMO (the startup raised a further $12.5-million, in addition to this, earlier this month - see this story). In addition, SA startups accounted for about half of all funding raised that was disclosed. Ventureburn's...

  • How SA tech entrepreneurs plan to take time out this festive season

    Taking time out is vital if you want to run a successful business. Sometimes you need to stop to see the wood from the trees. Which is why Ventureburn has sampled a number of tech startup founders on the value of taking a break and how they plan to spend this festive season. Giraffe co-founder Anish Shivdasani says he plans to take a week off and spend time with family, it’s what he does every year. He says it's critical to take breaks. The Joburg-based startup runs a web platform that matches job seekers with job placements. Early this year the startup closed a second funding round (see this...

  • Fintech Nala wins Seedstars Dar es Salaam, confirms Y-Combinator selection

    Tanzanian fintech Nala was yesterday selected as the winner of this year’s Seedstars Dar es Salaam, at a pitching event in Tanzania's capital. Nala is a mobile money application that works offline, allowing users to easily access multiple mobile money wallets faster. This, as Nala founder Benjamin Fernandes yesterday also confirmed to Ventureburn (following a tip off from an industry source) that the startup has been selected by the prestigious US seed accelerator Y-Combinator to take part in its 2019 batch. Fernandes declined to comment further, saying Y-Combinator had asked participants not to share publicly yet that they have been accepted. The accelerator usually makes seed investments in those startups that take part in...

  • SA startup Pineapple to take on US market with Hartford InsurTech Hub

    Just months after winning a place in the prestigious Google Launchpad Africa accelerator, Joburg based insurtech Pineapple has been accepted into the US based Hartford InsurTech Hub. The accelerator, which is funded by Startupbootcamp (affiliated with SBC Afritech in Cape Town) and has been running since last year, unveiled its 2019 cohort of startups last week, in an announcement carried on US publication Insurance Journal. According to the announcement, the 10 teams were selected from more than 230 applications and will relocate to Hartford, Connecticut in the US for the three-month programme which starts in February next year. Teams will get support in the form of mentorship...

  • SA’s Snapt on track for 1000% revenue growth after landing $3m investment

    Two years after raising $1-million in funding, SA tech company Snapt this week landed $3-million from three local investors -- Nedbank, Sanari Capital and Convergence Partners (which took part in the earlier round) -- and is on track to record a 1000% increase in revenue this financial year. The company, which was founded in 2012 by Dave Blakey (pictured above) and Douglas Cherry, did not disclose the size of the equity stake that the investors have taken in the company. Snapt provides applications delivery controller solutions which help websites and apps with load balancing, as well as web acceleration and security which enable business-critical websites to stay online and...

  • Blockchain fad is wearing off says man behind Jozi crypo startup DoshEx

    The fad around blockchain among startups and corporates has cooled, says the head of a Joburg-based company that develops blockchain solutions for local and international clients. "Last year you could mention blockchain and virtually anyone would open the door to you, now you need to demonstrate real value," cryptocurrency expert Alex de Bruyn (pictured above) told Ventureburn in a call yesterday. De Bruyn, runs Johannesburg based DoshEx, which launched an exchange platform in August that aims to help those it helps develop cryptocurrency and blockchain solutions to buy and sell digital tokens and claims to have already done work for Virgin Money SA (De Bruyn...

  • How SA startup Outsourced CFO almost closed its doors 18 months in

    Louw Barnardt may today run a successful firm offering startups and companies outsourced accounting and financial management, but there was a time -- just 18 months into starting the firm with two former university friends -- that he almost had to close the business's doors. Barnardt (pictured above), a former chartered accountant (CA) turned entrepreneur, is the winner of the R70 000 Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year award in the 2018 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year awards held in September. Today he runs Cape Town based Outsourced CFO which provides about 80 local and international companies (80% of them tech or innovative firms) with...

  • Why Shuttleworth investment failed – eight years on Red Five Labs man speaks

    It was touted at its time as ground breaking technology, one that would enable mobile apps to run on all smartphones regardless of a handset's operating system. So much so that SA entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth (who in 1999 sold internet security company Thawte for $575-million to Verisign) and the Department of Science and Technology's Innovation Fund jointly invested R4.5-million in the startup, according to a report at the time. A year after the investment in 2007, the startup -- Red Five Labs -- became one of the first investments that Shuttleworth's HBD Venture Capital exited from, when it was acquired by SA company Fed Group for an undisclosed amount. In 2007 Red Five Labs became one of...

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