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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • SA’s ProsperiProp plans to run two ICOs to get around crowdfunding challenge

    South African startup ProsperiProp plans to hold two initial coin offerings (ICOs) for investors to invest in international property -- with the first next Friday, 8 September -- to get around South Africa's lack of crowdfunding regulations. Traditionally investors need to put down tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in property, but ProsperiProp wants to give the man on the street a chance to invest in property The startup's founder and CEO Llew Morkel said the first ICO will be aimed largely at international investors, using a cryptocurrency created by the company, called “PROPX”. The ICO aims to raise between $60-million and $120-million in PROPX...

  • Startups misjudge complexity of dealing with corporate says Standard Bank head

    Startups should understand the complexity of dealing with large corporations. Failing to do so could put a strain on their resources, cautions Jayshree Naidoo, the head of the Standard Bank Incubator. In an interview with Ventureburn on how startups can best prepare themselves to pitch to corporates, Naidoo adds that entrepreneurs should take the necessary steps to protect their IP before presenting to a corporate. She adds that many corporates won't enter into an NDA unless they see potential value in the solution for their respective corporate. Startups should understand the complexity of dealing with large corporations, says Standard Bank exec She says the bank gets on average at least 10 to 15 requests a month through...

  • SA payments platform Nomanini selected as MIT awards finalist, nets $35 000

    South African based payments platform Nomanini has been selected from among 300 companies as one of four finalists in the financial inclusion category of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge. In addition Nomanini has received a $35 000 award in recognition of its transformative approach to driving economic opportunity in the digital age, the Cape Town based company said in a press release today. The company, which provides banks and mobile operators with a better way to serve the continent's informal sector, plans to use the funds to help boost financial inclusion via local informal retail merchants, who serve as a daily touch point for over 80% of people in...

  • Nedbank no easy sell for your app or platform, executive tells tech startups

    Trying to sell your payments solution to Nedbank is no easy thing. While the banks gets between 10 and 15 requests from startups a month, it turns down most of these. Chris Wood, Nedbank executive of emerging payments, strategy and regulation, says he takes a hardline on deciding which ideas to go with and which to turn down. “My motto has definitely become 'I choose what to say no to, long before I choose what to say yes to'. If we said yes to every idea, we’d have so many competing things going on that our customers would lose track of...

  • Two months on SME minister yet to announce new National Gazelles names

    Two months after the start of the second cohort of the Small Enterprise Development Agency’s (Seda) National Gazelles programme, the Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu has yet to announce the names of 40 participating high-growth firms selected for the programme. The programme aims is to grow the value of each of the 40 participating small businesses by 20% over the next three years. The call for the second cohort went out in October last year, but programme administrators Traction managing director Martin Feinstein and Mtiya Dynamics managing director Zukile Nomafu said the names of those selected for the second cohort are now with Zulu and will be...

  • Pitching to Woolworths? Not just about idea, but team behind it – online head

    Do you have an idea for an app or platform that you want to pitch to Woolworths? Getting the retailer's attention is not just about how strong your idea or solution is, but comes down to the potential of the person or the team that is involved, says the retailer's head of online Liz Hillock. In a Q&A below, Hillock responded to questions from Ventureburn on what to prepare yourself for as a tech entrepreneur looking to sell an innovative solution to Woolworths. It’s difficult for any corporate to invest in an idea that is untested. Consider getting a proof of concept...

  • TIA increases seed funding per applicant to R650 000 for innovative projects

    Looking to fund your innovative idea? The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) has increased the amount in seed funding that entrepreneurs and innovators that develop innovative solutions can access - from R500 000 to R650 000 per project. TIA's head of technology stations and IATs, Vusi Skosana, yesterday confirmed the increase per application, following an emailed enquiry from Ventureburn. The seed fund, which the agency launched in 2013, has two streams - one that channels seed funding through technology transfer centres at universities and science centres to innovative projects and another that works with a number of small business support organisations in provinces to...

  • SA eating out app Feastfox nets $175 000 from Silicon Valley investors

    Cape Town eating-out app Feastfox today announced that it had successfully closed an angel fundraising round, raising $175,000 (R2.3 million) primarily from Silicon Valley-based angels and venture-capital (VC) firms. A mobile startup out of Stanford University -- with a presence in Silicon Valley, Cape Town and Budapest -- Feastfox claims to allow diners to “book now, eat now”. The funding is from angels and VCs including Co-Creation Capital, Dorm Room Fund and top angel investors such as Larry Kubal, founder and managing partner of Labrador Ventures, a seed stage-focused Silicon Valley venture fund with more than $200-million under management. Feastfox co-founder, Cape Town local, Stuart Murless (pictured above)...

  • Wanna pitch to Vodacom? Don’t come with vague ideas, executive tells startups

    With Vodacom receiving between 20 and 30 pitches a month from startups, entrepreneurs can't afford to approach the cellular provider with ideas that are vague or poorly researched, says Fatima Hassim, the managing executive for SME at Vodacom Business. Hassim says startups with innovative ideas for apps or platforms should describe their solution in as much detail as possible and provide Vodacom with an estimation of the solution's market size and potential. "Make sure you have a short, concise summary at the top: you need to catch the reader's attention in the first five minutes," she says. Describe the solution in as much detail as possible, provide...

  • These are the three trends likely to drive healthtech, disruption in the future

    Innovation in health care is likely to be driven by three key trends in the future -- an increasing demand for accountable care, the consumerisation of health care and the digital delivery of health care. This makes the sector ripe for disruption, says South African neurosurgeon David Roytowski. Speaking at a seminar hosted by Bowmans and venture capital company Havaic at Bowman's offices in the city on Thursday, Roytowski, who is based at Tygerberg Hospital, said these three trends will likely influence the quality, cost and access to health care. He added that increasing focus on one of these elements will likely...