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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Gron Digital raises $1.2m in pre-sale, launches first of four ICO rounds

    "Fantastic" -- that is how Gron Digital CEO Tebogo Makamo describes the performance of his startup's pre-initial coin offering (pre-ICO), in which the company was able to raise $1.2-million from 1768 contributors. The first round of the ICO kicked off yesterday (15 March). Gron Digital, through its blockchain platform, aims to become an industry standard in making the gambling sector more transparent. The startup launched its  pre-ICO in January and was able to reach its soft cap of 1200 Ethereum coins. The startup plans to run four ICO rounds, with the first to run from 15 to 29 March. The second round will kick off on 29...

  • Wealth Migrate delays real estate ICO ‘to ensure all ducks are in a row’

    Global real estate platform Wealth Migrate has opted to delay the launch of the company's first initial coin offering (ICO) by three weeks to ensure that the company abides by all the necessary financial regulations, says the company's CEO Scott Picken. Commenting via email to Ventureburn yesterday on why the South African company did not launch the ICO for its WealthE token yesterday (14 March) as expected, Picken (pictured above) said the crowd sale is now planned to kick off on 4 April. He added that the token’s presale is currently underway through a manual process and that so far $2.5-million has been raised...

  • Luno still working with Malaysian bank to get account open again, resume trading

    SA bitcoin exchange Luno is still working with bank authorities in Malaysia to get its bank account there up and running again, after the country's tax authority last month took the decision to unfreeze its account the company's bank account. 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. The account has since been unfrozen, but Maybank has yet to reopen it, so that Luno can begin trading bitcoin again in Malaysia. Read more: SA startup Luno’s Malaysian bank account still frozen as tax probe continues Responding to Ventureburn...

  • Water crisis delays launch of GoMetro flx trial says startup founder

    Cape Town smart mobility startup GoMetro has delayed the planned launch this month of the trial of its new ride-sharing service flx. The startup's CEO Justin Coetzee says the startup will instead launch the service next month. "Basically, the water crisis meant that corporates spent two or three months worrying about their water supply and their staff's welfare - so we hit a delay on the flx pilot," Coetzee told Ventureburn in response to an email yesterday. GoMetro's flx service aims to to offer employers a chance to get staff to work on time more affordably, by providing them with various shared transport options and by grouping staff members who stay near...

  • Q&A: Zuma relative, business consultant now heads Startup Grind Pretoria

    A 34-year-old businessman and business consultant who counts former president Jacob Zuma as his great uncle, now runs Startup Grind Pretoria. Startup Grind is a global movement which hosts regular talks with entrepreneurs. Pretoria is one of 13 cities in South Africa that have chapters. "The question about JZ is one I get just about daily," says Monde Zuma (pictured above with mLab Southern Africa CEO Derrick Kotze), who adds that he is accustomed to call the former president "grandfather". He took over from Guillaume De Smedt in November, when De Smidt (who also ran the Cape Town chapters for some years) moved...

  • WhereIsMyTransport ‘okay’, despite retrenchments, disgruntled employees

    Investors in public transport data and technology startup WhereIsMyTransport say they are happy with the progress the company is making, despite a recent round of retrenchments and negative comments by former employees on Glassdoor.com suggesting that the company is in trouble. The Cape Town and London-based company retrenched several staff members last year, while former employees suggested in reviews on Glassdoor.com in January as well as December last year that the company was "an empty shell" and "going nowhere" after five years. 'Happy with progress' Bombardier, which together with the Global Innovation Fund (GIF) and Goodwell Investments last year (see this story) invested £1.2-million ($1.5-million)...

  • With Zuma gone, investor interest has picked up say local venture capitalists

    Investor interest in placing money in venture capital funds has picked up since the resignation last month of Jacob Zuma as president and the swearing in of Cyril Ramaphosa, say cautious local venture capitalists. Speaking to Ventureburn yesterday, Kalon Venture Partners CEO Clive Butkow (pictured above) said he'd experienced renewed interest from investors since the election in December of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president. He noted that a breakfast meeting he held in Johannesburg on 2 February saw about 1000 investors and representatives from family offices attend. “I think had it not been for the Zuma change we wouldn’t have received that interest,” he said. He added that...

  • How wiGroup founder switched gears to build growth company around people

    Even before a recent shared dinner, wiGroup founder Bevan Ducasse has sought to follow entrepreneur Richard Branson's advice on creating a company where staff can thrive. Ducasse recently met with the Virgin founder in the Cape Winelands town of Franchoek, before later inking a deal which saw the Virgin Group make an undisclosed investment in the Cape Town based mobile software firm. The deal was announced yesterday by wiGroup. Read more: SA fintech wiGroup secures funding from Virgin, Smollan to boost global expansion "He (Branson) took a liking to the company and the technology we're building," said Ducasse. "I was fortunate to have dinner with him," he says. Branson,...

  • Dry Bath founder’s water saving proposal hits wall with city, government officials

    Cape Town is in the middle of perhaps its worst water crisis, but South African award-winning entrepreneur Ludwick Marishane says city officials and national government have yet to take up his proposal to supply millions of sachets of his Dry Bath product to city residents. The product, a gel which can be used as a substitute to showering, can save the city millions of litres of water if the city goes ahead and orders millions of sachets. Speaking to Ventureburn following the launch today of a campaign to sell R1-million's worth of Dry Bath sachets at R25 each on crowdfunding platform ThundaFund, Marishane, the founder of Headboy Industries, says...

  • Capital flight talk over says Grovest man on launch of R200m Metta Capital fund

    The talk of "capital flight" from South Africa has come to an end, believes venture capitalist Jeff Miller, following the launch yesterday of Metta Capital, the first 12J VC fund of funds. Miller, who yesterday launched the fund with fellow Grovest venture capitalist Malcom Segal, aims to raise R200-million from investors by 23 February 2018 to invest in eight Section 12J funds. The funds are in areas such as logistics, mining, hospitality, retail, energy and telecommunications. "I think the December ANC conference has settled things," said Miller referring to the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president. He noted a "complete change" from high net worth individuals -- many who previously would have...

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