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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.
  • CiTi to announce Africa’s first ed-tech cluster

    The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) is set to announce its latest initiative: a technology cluster aimed at the education space. The initiative, which is CiTi is calling an African first, will be announced at EdTechx Europe, currently underway in London. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the cluster/incubator will aim to spur greater innovation in education and skills development in the Western Cape and also across South Africa and the wider continent. The organisation says it will give home-grown entrepreneurs the facilities, expert advice and introductions to funding they need to take their grassroots solutions national...

  • LifeQ inks deal with Garmin for digital health solution

    LifeQ, the Stellenbosch-based biotech startup, is on a serious roll. In the 18 or so months since it launched globally, its technology has been used by TomTom, it's announced a partnership with US-based designer and manufacturer of semiconductor products and solutions US Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI), and now it's partnered with Garmin with the goal of developing a "connected health solution". According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the aim of the partnership is to ensure health data generated from its wearable devices delivers on current and future high efficacy information requirements of the health insurance and corporate...

  • New 4Di Capital VC fund raises R256m

    This is very good news for the South African startup space. 4Di Capital, the Cape Town-based venture capital firm has raised R256-million for its new fund, aimed at early and growth-stage startups. According to an official blog posted on the company's website, the bulk of the money for the fund comes from MMI Holdings's recently launched Exponential division. Headed by company veteran Jaco Oosthuizen, the division's aim is to hunt out innovative entrepreneurs. To date, it's primary focus has been on potentially disruptive innovation opportunities around financial wellness globally and domestically in South Africa. In the...

  • M4JAM’s mystery buyer goes public

    The past few months have been more than a little turbulent for M4JAM, the high-profile micro-jobbing startup. In March, users were told to cash out as founder Andre Hugo scrambled to find a way to save the business. The in May, it was revealed that the company had been bought out and that Hugo and his fellow co-founder Warren Venter would play no further part in the business. At the time, it was unclear who the buyers were, but we can now reveal that Informal Solutions is the company behind the acquisition. As subsidiary of DNI, Informal Solutions specialises...

  • Who the hell is StartupGrindr anyway? [Updates]

    Not so long ago, the questions people asked me at startup events required a little thought: "Who do you think is making smart investments right now?"; "Is funding really a problem in the local scene?"; "Would you like another glass of wine?". Heady times. These days, things are a little bit easier because I only seem to get asked one of two questions: "Who's StartupGrindr?", and "Are you StartupGrindr?". And both have fairly simple answers ("I have no idea" and "No" respectively). Still, there's no denying that the mysterious Twitter account has got everyone in the local startup scene...

  • 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...