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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.
  • Triggerfish officially launches search for Africa’s next big storyteller

    South African animation studio Tiggerfish, together with Disney and the Department of Trade and Industry, today announced the launch of Story Lab, a programme that aims to unearth South Africa's next big animated hit. Now 20 years old, Triggerfish is responsible for two of South Africa's biggest ever animated feature hits in the shape of Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba. The Cape Town-based studio is now looking to put out a feature film a year and Story Lab is a part of that strategy. The initiative, which is open to anyone who is 21 years and older and a...

  • 8 examples of why university is the perfect time to found a startup

    There's no perfect time to startup a business and you'll always be able to find excuses not to. But when you're a student, you have a lot fewer excuses than many older people do. You're unlikely to have kids for instance, or a home and car to pay off. You also have immediate access to a wealth pool of incredible minds, a potentially lucrative market base and, depending on the course you're pursuing, a heck of a lot more free time on your hands than anyone in the working world. And let's not forget that both Google and Facebook...

  • Triggerfish to launch search for Africa’s next big animated hit

    Triggerfish is one of South Africa's biggest entrepreneurial success stories. The animation studio is best known for the feature films Zambezia and Khumba and has received millions of dollars in investment for its projects over the past few years. Now it looks like it'll be trying to spread some of that success with the launch of a continent-wide search for Africa's next big blockbuster hit or animated TV series. Details are scarce at this stage, Ventureburn has only received an invitation to launch event (pictured above), but Disney and the South African Department of Trade and Industry are involved....

  • These are the 5 winners from the Seedstars World Cape Town event

    Seedstars World has crowned the five winners from its Cape Town event. The five were chosen from a pool of 10 finalists who took part in an intense pitching competition on Tuesday evening. The startups were competing for a chance to compete against the five equivalent winners in Johannesburg in a bid to take the South African crown. From there, the winner flies to Zürich to take part in a bootcamp before the Seedstars global competition. There they will compete against startups from 52 countries for a chance at US$500 000 in funding, among other prizes. ...

  • No surprise: funding the biggest hurdle for SA’s startups

    Over the past couple of years, there have been plenty of funding successes for the South African startup scene to celebrate. Just this year, WooThemes exited to WordPress holding company Automattic for a rumoured US$30-million and bike radar company iKubu was bought out by Garmin for an undisclosed sum of money. But within the context of the space as a whole, those big deals are few and far between. What about the smaller companies? Is there enough funding for them to survive and thrive in a country that isn't always seen as friendly toward small businesses? The results of the 2015 Ventureburn...

  • M4JAM appoints WeChat, Tencent big guns to board of directors

    South African micro-jobbing service M4JAM has appointed a couple of big hitters -- in the shape of Brett Loubser, head of WeChat Africa, and Poshu Yeung, general manager of international business at Tencent -- to its board of directors. In a press release issued to Ventureburn by the company, it says that the two "will work closely with other board members to bolster M4JAM’s disruptive business model to be a global success". Involving both does make sense, given that M4JAM's service is predominantly WeChat-based. Being able to tap directly into the mind of a Tencent executive (the company owns WeChat)...

  • Candystick: this new SA startup wants to help you crowdfund gifts, occassions

    Let's say you're getting married and that you've asked your guests for money so that you can buy something big. They could bring cash, but that's not safe or they could transfer the money into your bank account, but then it doesn't feel like much of a gift. A new South African startup called Candystick is aiming to fix that. Candystick's primary product is called Candybox, which the company describes as an "online money box where your friends, family, colleagues or anyone else can contribute towards an occasion or a group gift". According to the company, the service can be...

  • Mobicred now allows you to pay off your concert tickets online

    This is pretty interesting. South African online credit startup Mobicred has teamed up with online ticket seller Nutickets, meaning that you can now pay off tickets for big-cost events rather than shelling out the full amount in one go. Founded in 2013, Mobicred has been baked into a number of local ecommerce sites, using algorithms to determine a person's credit-worthiness. It costs about as much as your average middle of the road credit card offered by a traditional bank and is meant to appeal both to people afraid of using a traditional credit card and for those looking for...

  • New UNICEF-backed platform looking to crowdsource innovation

    A new platform has launched with the aim of crowdsourcing innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems. Called CauseTech, the platform comes out of a partnership between the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network and UNICEF Innovation Center. It aim is to aggregate the world’s best innovators, technologists, developers, and researchers in a global ideation ecosystem to start finding unique ways of addressing some of the biggest challenges currently facing the planet. As well as connecting groups of people who might otherwise not have contact with each other, the platform will play host to a...

  • Why Automattic’s WooThemes acquisition is so important to South Africa’s startup space

    The acquisition of WordPress theme developer WooThemes, along with its signature ecommerce product WooCommerce, by WordPress.com holding company Automattic is massively important to the South African startup space. At US$30-million, it's a massive exit (although not the biggest in South African startup history). That's great for its founders and investors, but the acquisition is just another example of how the local scene is developing and also offers some valuable lessons for up-and-coming startups. Before we get into any of that though, it's worth getting into some of the nitty-gritty around the acquisition. According to Re/Code, sources the deal is...