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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • SA’s slowing economy, political volatility no concern for Swiss angel investors

    South Africa's current political volatility and the slowing economy is no concern for a group of six Swiss angel investors who have contributed to the €150 000 that 10 startups this year have been able to tap through Startupbootcamp Cape Town. Swiss ICT Investor Club (SICTIC) Thomas Duebendorfer and five other investors from the investor club have committed to fund three years of Startupbootcamp Cape Town and invest in 10 early-stage tech startups per year that do business in Africa. For Duebendorfer South Africa is still an attractive investment destination. "Only if it were to affect how foreign investors are treated or regulated in South Africa...

  • SA blockchain startup The Sun Exchange raises $1.6m to help fund planned ICO

    SA blockchain startup The Sun Exchange, which leverages blockchain technology to allow individuals to purchase solar cells in solar projects, has raised $1.6-million from a number of strategic partners to enable it to fund a planned initial coin offering (ICO). The news was revealed this afternoon in a press release to Ventureburn by SA Venture Capital Company, Kalon Venture Partners. In addition to Kalon Venture Partners other investors include: Network Society Ventures (New York City) and three of the world's leading technology accelerators, BoostVC (San Francisco Bay Area), TechStars (Boulder, Colorado) and Powerhouse (Oakland, California). The Sun Exchange will use the funding to run a...

  • Startups have 10 days left to complete Ventureburn survey, win iPhone 8, more

    Startups have just over 10 days left to complete the second annual Startup Survey -- the Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey powered by Telkom Futuremakers -- and stand a chance to win an iPhone 8 as well as a business startup hamper powered by Telkom, BCX and Trudon as well as other great prizes. Ventureburn, in partnership with Telkom Futuremakers and analytics company Qurio launched the survey on 2 October. The survey will close on 31 October. Thus far 165 questionnaires have been completed in full. 'The Ventureburn Startup Survey will prove crucial in providing data on the challenges faced by South Africa’s tech startups' This year's survey follows the successful 2015 survey and aims to again...

  • 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...