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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.
  • WorldRemit nets $45m to push growth efforts

    Mobile remittance service WorldRemit today announced that it has raised US$45-million as it looks to expand its current operations. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the funding comes from TriplePoint Venture Growth BDC Corp and Silicon Valley Bank and brings the total amount of money raised by the company to US$200-million. The WorldRemit app lets people send money straight from their smartphone, instead of having to travel to a money transfer agent. Those receiving money -- often in developing countries -- can collect the funds as Mobile Money, bank transfer, for cash pickup or as a...

  • This app wants to completely change the way South Africans pay for parking

    We've all been there. You go to the mall, get your shopping done, and head towards your car, only to find that you have no cash for the parking machine. And so you find an ATM, draw some cash, break that cash, and finally pay for your parking, muttering "there must be a simpler way" all the while. It was just such an experience which led KaChing founders Jaco Marais and Rudolph de Wet to decide enough was enough and build such that simpler way themselves. That decision led to KaChing, an app which aims to take the hassle out...

  • SA Entrepreneurs: you now have your own loyalty rewards programme

    The financial institution aimed exclusively at entrepreneurs Mercantile Bank, on Friday announced that it had entered into an agreement with wiGroup to develop a loyalty and rewards programme for its clients. The app-based reward programme will reportedly enable entrepreneurs to earn and redeem points at till points of most major retailers using QR code technology. "As a bank that works closely with entrepreneurs, we had numerous discussions with our clients to understand what they wanted from a rewards programme," says the bank's head Tom Stilwell. "Two things came out strongly. Rewards must be easy to redeem – many clients complained that...

  • Gartner is on the hunt for aspiring innovators

    Technology research house Gartner has put out a call for aspiring innovators to take part in its Aspiring Innovators Programme, which will take place at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa 2016. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the programme will highlight "interesting African startup technology companies who have something unique to offer enterprise organisations". The goal of this programme, Gartner says, is to both support the African startup technology scene, and provide delegates access to innovative local technology providers. Selected by Gartner research analysts, the startup companies will have the opportunity to describe what they are doing in...

  • Rand Merchant Insurance opens Jozi-based Fintech hub

    South African financial services company Rand Merchant Insurance (RMI) on Tuesday announced the launch of AlphaCode, a new fintech hub operating out of Sandton, Johannesburg. Described as a collaborative club for next generation financial services entrepreneurs, the hub is meant to provide a platform for members to engage and work alongside experienced entrepreneurs, technology investors and industry experts, resulting in accelerated growth and access to market. As well as an office space, AlphaCode features a clubhouse for entrepreneurs, an active online community and regular networking opportunities. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the concept is modelled...

  • UAE property startup pulls in $20m investment round

    UAE-based property portal Bayut has announced the completion of a US$20-million Series C funding round, building on the US$9-million Series B round it secured towards the end of 2015. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the funding comes from the company's existing investors, a fund which focuses on frontier and emerging markets with over US$ 1 billion in assets under management. The investment has gone into Bayut’s parent company Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), formerly Zamzama Property Group, which also controls Pakistani property play Zameen.com. According to Bayut CEO Haider Ali Khan, the funding round will be used...

  • Grotech: this new fund aims to pump R100m into disruptive SA tech

    The South African tech scene saw some pretty big exits in 2015, including radar startup iKubu's January sale to Garmin and WooThemes' exit to WordPress for an estimated R300-million. And with those exits comes increased investor appetite. The latest player aiming to get its hands on a slice of the tech pie is Grotech, a newly established fund from VC company Grovest, which is looking to raise as much as R100-million to invest an average of R5-million to R10-million in high-impact South African tech startups. Read more: 3 ways investors can navigate Africa’s mobile markets Headquartered in Johannesburg, the fund...

  • Exclusive: WeChat launches R50m fund for mobile startups

    Naspers-backed instant messaging platform WeChat on Wednesday announced the launch of a R50-million seed fund specifically for startups working in the mobile space. The fund will support startups identified as promising by WeChat South Africa. The company plans to identify these startups through an application and selection process and will also assist startups in launching dedicated WeChat offerings. The idea for the fund apparently came about after WeChat saw how successfully the likes of M4JAM (which it invested in earlier this year), PicUp, and Order In have used it as a launch platform for their own offerings. "Our fund...

  • Meet Karma, ex-rugby star Clyde Rathbone’s controversial people-rating startup

    Clyde Rathbone made his name in rugby; first as part of Jake White's 2002 Junior World Cup winning team and then, following a highly publicised move to Australia, as a pivotal member of the Brumbies Super Rugby team. Now though, he's looking to make a mark on the online startup space with a new play called Karma. Founded by Rathbone, his brother Dayne, and Monish Parajuli, Karma can be thought of as a kind of Yelp, or TripAdvisor, for humans. On its website, Karma describes itself as "a wiki of open letters and reviews about people" and "a social...

  • Can Yoco claim a big stake in SA’s growing mobile PoS space?

    There are plenty of South African startups looking to disrupt how people pay for goods and services in the physical world. Some, like, SnapScan and FlickPay are built with the view that everyone will eventually pay for everything on their mobile phones. Others, in the mould of Jack Dorsey's Square, take the view that people still have bank cards, feel safe using them, and should be able to pay with them anywhere. Yoco, which officially came out of Beta on Thursday, falls firmly into the latter camp. Except that it believes it's built something very different. The startup, which...