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Emerging Markets

  • Taking African innovation global: Q&A with Aaron Fu from Nairobi’s Nest

    "We're seeing a lot of innovation born in Africa, servicing the world," says Aaron Fu (pictured left), managing partner of the Hong Kong VC and incubation firm Nest Africa. But there's not enough, which is why the Hong Kong founded startup incubator in July this year launched its African chapter in Nairobi, Kenya. So far Nest has given South Africa's Creditable and Kenya's SuperFluid Labs the opportunity to learn from some of Hong Kong's top financial providers through its DBS Accelerator programme. One of these startups is already in the process of running a pilot with an Asian bank. The...

  • Innotribe Startup Challenge looks to Africa, Latin America for fintech innovation

    Global provider of secure financial messaging, SWIFT has announced that its innovation arm, Innotribe Startup Challenge, will be expanding its focus to include emerging fintech ecosystems in Africa and Latin America. Innotribe will partner with SWIFT African Regional Conference (ARC) for the second year in a row, and will host a similar SWIFT regional event for Latin America. As part of the programme, Innotribe will organise business-specific challenges. They will also bring together SWIFT member institutions, internal teams, solution providers and hand-picked fintech startups. These teams will explore potential opportunities for select business areas and work on proof of concepts that may...

  • Bitcoin exchange startup BitX secures funding from Asia’s Venturra Capital

    Emerging market bitcoin exchange startup BitX has just announced an undisclosed round of funding from Southeast Asia's Venturra Capital. Venturra Capital is a US$150-million Southeast Asia-focused venture fund based out of Jakarta. "Venturra is one of those rare funds that doesn’t just talk about adding value, but actually does it, in a consistent, relevant and tangible way," BitX co-founder and CEO, Marcus Swanepoel. "This, combined with their unrivalled expertise and networks in the Southeast Asian market, makes for an exciting partnership that will help solidify our leading position in the region." Werner van Rooyen, who heads up business development at BitX, tells...

  • SA’s website builder startup VIGO expands to Asia with Webnic partnership

    South African startup VIGO, which is behind an easy-to-use website-building tool, is expanding its services to Asia. This comes after the tech company partnered with the popular domain registrar, Webnic, which will enable VIGO to roll out its software to clients in Southeast Asia, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Webnic is considered among the world's top 50 registrars and operates in 60 countries. The Asian company's partnership with VIGO would mean customers are not only encouraged to register domains, but build their own customised websites and ecommerce platforms. Since launching in 2013, VIGO has attracted over 3 000 users to its...

  • Does positive sentiment towards entrepreneurship mean more startups? Not quite

    Last week saw thousands of people take part in events around the world during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). But a growing positivity towards entrepreneurship doesn't necessarily translate into more startups. Since it started in 2008 GEW has grown to become one of the largest entrepreneurship events with its initiators, the Kauffman Foundation, predicting about 10 million people from 160 countries would take part in this year’s event -- which ran from 16 to 22 November. The event aims to promote entrepreneurship, and in so doing make it a more attractive career choice. SA paradox In a number of countries entrepreneurship has steadily become...

  • 20 startups from Asia that failed in 2015 and lessons learned

    2015 was a hot year for some startups in Asia. Venture capital flowed into China, India and South Korea in previously unheard of amounts. Southeast Asia saw a record exit with iProperty Group’s US$534million acquisition. Yet raising gargantuan rounds of financing is no guarantee for future success, and it’s in the risky nature of entrepreneurship that some companies emerge as winners while others bite the dust. Here are 20 startups from Asia that were forced to shut down this year. We clustered them by country and in no particular order. These 20 are by no means the only ones to cease operations...

  • 3 ways China’s position in Africa is good news for other foreign investors

    Nothing good can come from Chinese investments in Africa -- at least that’s what naysayers would have you believe. Critics suggest that China’s African projects lay the groundwork for neocolonialism and leave poor communities vulnerable to exploitation. But as a recent Quartz article put it, when it comes to Africa, “Chinese investment is everywhere.” And with polls showing more than 50% favourability of China in a number of African countries, many people on the continent don’t think that’s a bad thing. Critical observers should revise their stances as well. China has enabled a number of much-needed, high-profile advancements in several...

  • Decentralised ledger platform Hyperledger wins SWIFT’s Innotribe Startup Challenge 2015

    SWIFT's Innotribe Startup Challenge 2015, which seeks to recognise some of the world's top businesses in fintech, has finally concluded with a winner. US-based decentralised ledger platform Hyperledger -- which enables the transferring digital assets -- has secured the title of Innotribe Startup Challenge 2015's top fintech company, walking away with US$50 000. Forming part of major financial services conference Sibos in Singapore, the event brought together a total of 20 companies -- 12 early-stage and eight growth-stage companies -- that pitched in front of an audience of industry experts, VCs and representatives from some of the world's leading financial institutions. Read...

  • India poised to become world’s next startup nation

    If India is to follow Israel and the US to become the world’s next great startup nation, it must do much more to vamp up internet access and cut choking red tape both of which do little to encourage entrepreneurship. India is still coasting on a high following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Silicon Valley last weekend. While there he interacted with entrepreneurs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla’s Elon Musk. The release of the latest Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum on Tuesday is an added boost -- India has risen an impressive 16 places to...

  • Capria launches global business accelerator for impact VCs

    US-based venture capital firm Capria has launched a global accelerator programme for impact VCs. Yes, that's a VC-cum-accelerator for VCs. Claiming to be the first of its kind, the initiative aims to support and help catalyse new fund managers backing startups primarily in markets including South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. Founded by Will Poole and Dave Richards Unitus Seed Fund, which focuses on India, the pair has a track-record of 15 years in supporting startups, which have collectively raised over US$1.2-billion within the last 15 years. "Current trends indicate that over the next decade that there will be hundreds of...