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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • IBM programme opened my eyes to new possibilities, says tech entrepreneur

    Being part of IBM's enterprise development programme for the past year has "opened" his eyes to new growth possibilities, says Kuben Naicker, the founder of IT Aware. "It has pretty much opened our eyes on how to grow our product... to look for new subscribers," says Naicker, whose 17-year old IT firm conducts skills and job profile assessments on behalf of the country's Skills Education and Training Authorities (Setas). Naicker, who is due to exit the programme at the end of this month, has benefited from both training as well over R400 000 in software and hardware support. It includes a new server, access...

  • HealthTech app, platform builders face legal hurdles in SA, hear delegates

    HealthTech app and platform developers in South Africa are being held back by rules and regulations, which has seen at least one locally developed platform shift its focus to Kenya, delegates heard at a healthtech seminar held in Cape Town yesterday. The seminar was hosted by law firm Bowmans and venture capital company Havaic at Bowman’s offices in the city. Neurosurgeon David Roytowski, who is based at Tygerberg Hospital, noted that patients have become more willing than before to accept health-care advice via digital platforms rather than by way of face-to-face advice. But he pointed out that health-care legislation in South Africa remains a major...

  • Show your work, don’t just share ideas, Capitec innovation head tells startups

    Entrepreneurs should be ready to show their work and not just share their ideas, says Capitec bank's manager for innovation Francois Dempers. In an interview with Ventureburn, Dempers -- who oversees innovation in the bank's digital solutions division -- says tech entrepreneurs who want to sell their ideas for apps or platforms to the bank should remain open and honest about what their product can and cannot do. "Do not oversell your product or service and get straight to business. Leave your business guy at home and bring your techie instead. We prefer authentic experiences right from the start of a relationship," says Dempers. 'Capitec prefers authentic experiences...

  • You don’t need to be super wealthy high net individual to be an angel investor

    The outlook for the South African economy may be grim. The Reserve Bank forecasts that the economy will grow at just 0.5% this year. Yet the one thing that looks hot right now is the tech startup sector. While the number of investors taking advantage of a new tax incentive has picked up of late, a whole list of SA startups have recently been acquired by foreign companies, bringing healthy returns to investors. Read more: Investors clamouring for 12J VC incentive following tax hike – fund managers Read more: Are these the 10 all-time biggest exit deals for SA startups? And you don't...

  • SA bookings site Afristay aims to take on AirBnB following R7m funding injection

    One of the hardest things to get right when running an accommodation booking site is how to grow the number of listings of establishments, while maintaining quality-control and ensuring accurate real-time availability, to avoid double bookings, says Afristay CEO Rupert Bryant. Yet under Bryant (pictured above) the company -- formerly known as Accommodation Direct -- looks to be getting it right -- and now aims to take on better resourced booking platforms like AirBnB. Last week the company unveiled its new name Afristay. It follows funding of R7-million Bryant and his two fellow directors -- his brother Oliver and Ric Meulemans -- raised in April (22% of which was from...

  • Startups, have an app or web platform you want to sell to Old Mutual?

    Have an insuretech product? Startups should spend more time getting to know the challenges insurance companies face before approaching a corporate. So says Stanley Gabriel, head of innovation at Old Mutual Personal Finance. In addition startups should know their story and understand Old Mutual's constraints and limitations, while remaining flexible on how these can be addressed or overcome. "Don't engage on a proposed partnership unless your product or service is ready for testing -- this only leads to disappointment for all parties involved," says Gabriel. Startup shouldn't engage on a proposed partnership unless their product or service is ready for testing says Old Mutual innovation head Ventureburn spoke to...

  • 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...