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All posts by Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas is a product of Rhodes University. Whilst completing his Bachelors in Journalism, Politics and English, he realised he was a bit of a geek, albeit one who isn't afraid of the sun. An honors in English at the same institution failed to curb this. An MA in South African Literature, only made it worse as it gave him even more hours to spend in front of a computer screen. He hopes to go viral one day.
  • BREAKING: New VC fund hits SA tech space

    The South African venture capital (VC) space is heating up, with the latest entrant, Niveus Ventures, announced on Tuesday. The entrepreneur-led fund is backed by Niveus Investments, a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI:Johannesburg), and is aimed at African tech startups looking to go global. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the fund will provide entrepreneurs with financing that fills the gap between angel funding of less than R1 million, and capital from listed firms or private equity groups that range between R100 - R200 million, which is typically difficult for a younger business to secure. Heading up the team...

  • M4JAM promises big comeback under new ownership

    M4JAM, the much-hyped micro-jobbing startup, caused serious consternation in March when it sent out a message to its users telling them to cash out all the money from their wallets before the 31st of that month. Its fate hung in the air for some time, with founder Andre Hugo later admitting that M4JAM was looking for a buyer and might have to close if it didn't find one. Well, it seems a buyer was found and a big relaunch is imminent. In the past few days, representatives from M4JAM have been in contact with Ventureburn with some information...

  • This clever UK urban gardening startup could be very useful in SA

    South Africa's urban population is growing rapidly. At the same time, a variety of factors have seen the price of fresh produce shoot up dramatically over the past few years. An obvious solution is to grow your own food, but many city dwellers don't have gardens, or even balconies where they can grow that produce. It's a difficult problem to be sure, but one UK-based startup may have an answer. The Bristol-based startup, called LettUs Grow, produces soil free urban gardens for growing salad vegetables within the home. The gardens are lit using LED lighting and use automated, soilless,...

  • How can South Africa drive youth innovation and entrepreneurship?

    Nearly a third of South Africa's population is under the age of 14. As things stand, their future is uncertain. The economy is stagnant, the political landscape is shifting, and unemployment is at a record high. It's possible to turn all that around, but doing so means equipping young people with skills beyond those found in the schooling system creating an environment which doesn't just see entrepreneurship and innovation as viable options, but as necessities. There was the consensus of a panel on driving innovation among South Africa's young people at a Road to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held at Cape...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [16/05/2016] [update]

    Update, 2016-05-17: addition of Launchlab event Looking to get into the South African startup scene or scratch up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There are loads of competitions, networking sessions and workshops happening around South Africa and the rest of the continent (namely Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana) that we’ve rounded up to make your life a bit easier. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to...

  • This SA startup wants to open up IoT to local businesses

    If you're a regular reader of the Burn Media suite of sites, you'll be up to speed on all the latest developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) space. But the truth is, many businesses are simply unaware of how big an impact this array of technologies could have on their operations. One company hoping to change that is a Pretoria-based startup called IoT.nxt. Helmed by former Pinnacle Africa Gauteng MD Nico Steyn, the company has built an IoT solution which it says will unlock serious cost savings and create real efficiencies within corporates. "Our innovation offers companies a...

  • SA agency organising contingent for Paris startup show

    This June will see the debut launch of VIVA Technology Paris, a conference co-hosted by advertising giant Publicis which aims to provide a "real-time platform for collaboration and a high-level stage for discussions around the impact technology has on both businesses and society". According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, an estimated 30 000 visitors, comprising entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and venture capitalists, the event promises to be a melting pot of tech, interaction and innovation are expected. And if local digital agency Popimedia has its way, there'll also be a strong South African contingent. The company, bought out by...

  • 10 things we just learned about the Berlin startup scene

    Berlin is one of Europe's startup hot-spots and is often held up as an example of the cool and at-ease-with-itself contemporary Germany likes to project. That's all well and good. Being home to large number of startups can give you serious kudos as a city. After all, entrepreneurship is key to building a country's future. But what about the people who work at those startups? What kind of salaries are they earning? How do they feel about the positions they're in? And do they face similar problems to people in other startup hubs around the globe? Well, thanks to a...

  • Mark Zuckerberg gives a shout-out to Nigerian startup Jobberman

    Earlier this week, Facebook announced the launch of its Free Basics internet service in Nigeria. It was big news for Africa's largest economy, where internet usage has hovered at just under 50% for the past couple of years. On the same day, Mark Zuckerberg took to the social network to give a little recognition to Jobberman, one of Nigeria's most successful startups. "There's a lot of innovation across Africa right now, and Nigeria in particular is home to a lot of talented developers," the Facebook founder writes. "In 2009, Olalekan Elude, Ayodeji Adewunmi and Opeyemi Awoyemi started a site called...

  • 10 African innovators you absolutely need to know about

    Africa is a continent full of incredibly innovative thinkers and the latest reminder of that fact comes courtesy of the the Innovation Prize for Africa. The competition, now in its fifth year, has announced the 10 finalists for the 2016 awards, set to be held in Gabarone, Botswana towards the end of June. The entrepreneurs in the top 10 work in a wide variety of fields but, broadly speaking, are concentrated in the agriculture, medicine and tech/clean energy spaces. “In the past five years, I’ve seen innovation grow from a mere buzzword to a sturdy path for...