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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Want to run a Startup Grind chapter? New Cape director Sandras Phiri tells how

    Anyone, anywhere in the world can launch a Startup Grind chapter. But many close within months of launching. The key is to get your monthly event to become financially sustainable, says new Startup Grind Cape Town director Sandras Phiri. "The thing to consider is why are you doing it? If you're doing it just to make money, you're going to be super frustrated, you're going to quit… if you're doing it to help the community, to help entrepreneurs you're more likely to succeed," says Phiri, who takes over from current Cape Town chapter director Guillaume De Smedt next month. Zambian-born Phiri...

  • Over a year on, key reforms for SA’s R&D tax incentive still not implemented

    More than a year on the Department of Science and Technology has yet to decide on whether to offer a refundable tax credit for the research and development (R&D) tax incentive. The introduction of a refundable tax credit was one of several recommendations made by a task team in a report in June last year to make a R&D tax incentive, which has been in existence since 2006, more attractive to small businesses and startups. Unlike a non-refundable tax credit, a refundable tax credit is able to reduce a company's tax balance beyond zero, making it significantly favourable for small firms. The...

  • Looking to sell that app or platform to Barclays Africa? Here’s what to consider

    Startups looking to sell their good ideas to a corporate need to ensure that they can argue a clear business case with a proven solution and a demonstrable market, says Shirley Gilbey, the head of Rise and Co-creation at Barclays Africa Group. "Every relationship should be transactional -- they (startups) have a solution that we want to offer our customers. There must be value for both sides in the collaboration," points out Gilbey. Think about the market and how you would scale across regions says Barclays Africa's Shirley Gilbey Ventureburn spoke to Gilbey about what startups should consider if they want to sell their innovative idea,...

  • SA’s SnapnSave in R14m investment from Kalon Venture Partners, Smollan

    SA venture capital company Kalon Venture Partners (formerly Grotech) and retail solutions company the Smollan Group SA have together invested R14-million for a minority stake in SA shopping community SnapnSave. Kalon Venture Partners chief executive Clive Butkow said the deal, which was concluded late last week, will see Kalon and Smollan each invest R7-million in the Cape Town based startup, in return for a 20% stake each. SnapnSave's app facilitates discounts for shoppers on their favourite products, wherever they shop, just by snapping a photo of their till slip. SnapnSave CEO Mark Bradshaw said in just over 18 months, SnapnSave has given SA shoppers over...

  • Silicon Cape head calls on local startups to include sexual harassment in HR policy

    Startups should include a sexual harassment policy in their human resources strategy, or as part of the letter of appointments for all staff including the founder whether female or male, says Silicon Cape managing director Ellen Fischat. "Sexual harassments policies start with human resources. Considering that startups often do not have structured human resources practices in place, it leaves room for unprofessional conduct and abuse of power towards women," said Fischat. "Anyone in a powerful position has no right to abuse a situation in exchange for sexual favours." The head of the Cape Town's tech organisation was commenting following the series of sexual harassment scandals that have rocked...

  • uYilo launches third round of seed fund to support electric car developers

    South African innovators looking to develop electric vehicle components, energy storage or charging solutions have until 31 August to apply to the Yilo Kick Start Fund to get up to R1-million to help fund research and development (R&D) costs. Hiten Parmar, director of the uYilo eMobility Technology Innovation Programme's (EMTIP) which administers the fund, said the funding is focused on applied research that will lead to the creation of products, process or services that can be commercialised. Applicants can apply for either up to R500 000 per project for individual projects or up to R1-million per project for collaborative projects involving multiple participants....

  • Tech sector in Cape Town needs more high-profile exits, state support – Winde

    The Western Cape's Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde says Cape Town needs more high-profile exits and better support from national and local government. Responding to questions from Ventureburn on what his office is doing to promote the city as a tech startup location, Winde said in addition to more high-profile exits, the city needs better governmental support via policy initiatives at national and local level. These he said include the introduction of entrepreneur visas, strategic funding support and the removal of intellectual property (IP) exchange controls (which the Reserve Bank is attending to). Read more: Reserve Bank is looking to further unblock ecosystem challenges –...

  • 4Di Capital funding was ‘less than R10m’ confirms SA IoT startup Sensor Networks

    Cape based Internet of Things (IoT) platform Sensor Networks has secured funding from South African venture capital (VC) fund 4Di Capital. Sensor Networks founder Mark Allewell (pictured above with his team, fourth from left) announced the deal yesterday. It's the second investment 4Di Capital has this week made public. Read more: SA drone startup Aerobotics secures R8m in funding from 4Di, Savannah Fund  While Allewell declined to say how much funding his two-year old startup has tapped, when pushed by Ventureburn to reveal more details he confirmed that it was "less than R10-million", which included a minority stake in the company by 4Di...

  • 10 digital nomads to jet into Cape Town to promote city as remote worker hotspot

    Ten digital nomads and startups from London will jet into Cape Town for a week in October, in an initiative aimed at promoting the African city as a digital nomad destination. The initiative – Swap London for Cape Town – is being sponsored by Wesgro, the Western Cape province’s investment agency and is run by Co Working Days. During their stay the 10 will attend the Digital Disruption Think Tank hosted by Wesgro and scheduled for 20 October. Co Working Days founder Simon Lewis told Ventureburn in an email that the 10 will spend seven days in the city. They are expected to arrive...

  • Black entrepreneurs must help turn dusty townships into ‘next Dubai’ says marketer

    Entrepreneur and marketer Lebogang Mokubela says South Africa's black entrepreneurs need to look at promising business opportunities in the township rather than in the suburbs. "Dubai was a desert before it became the hub it is today," says Mokubela (pictured above) speaking to Ventureburn today. He made the comments following the release today of the first of video in a four-part YouTube video series on growing entrepreneurship in townships. He singles out one particular property development initiated by a white entrepreneur in one township and questions why a black entrepreneur from the townships isn't doing something similar, rather than running the multitude of restaurants and...