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Interviews

  • Onyeka Akumah on Travelbeta, ecommerce and Nigeria’s tech space [Q&A]

    The first time I heard about Travelbeta launch by Onyeka Akumah was in July 2015 at the official launch of HouseMax in Lagos. Akumah described the platform as one that would totally transform the travel space in Africa. Few months later, the platform was officially launched and a few week later, it raised US$2-million. I recently caught up with Akumah to speak about the exciting travel company, startups and a range of issues they face in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Ventureburn: How has the market responded to the launch of Travelbeta? Onyeka Akumah: It's been exciting. Every day we keep...

  • MMI’s Jaco Oosthuizen on innovation, what corporates can learn from startups [Q&A]

    A little while back we told you about the Startupbootcamp Insurance Accelerator Programme, launched with the support of JSE-listed MMI Holdings. The accelerator programme, is open to startups from all over the world, with the only caveat being that they focus on different areas within insurance, including consumer, re-insurance, back-office efficiency and new risk models. The insurance programme comprises Fast Track days, an Insurance Hackathon and an Insurance Lounge. Fast Track days are sessions that take place over a six-month period where ten startups in various venues across 12 countries are given five minutes to pitch their insurance related business...

  • How online food delivery startup Food-i-like is making it outside of Lagos [Q&A]

    The last time I was at the offices of African Internet Group (AIG) in Nigeria’s tech capital city of Lagos, I noticed that there were more members of staff manning Kaymu Nigeria and Jovago Travel sections. The startup that had the least number of employees was the group’s online food ordering platform, Hellofood. This observation made me think about the likelihood of such a surviving outside of Lagos without the support of AIG. I found out there that there is actually a similar service outside Lagos -- in Abuja to be specific. It is called Food I Like and users...

  • SweepSouth weighs in on experience at Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups accelerator

    SweepSouth is a having a good first year. Just after the South African on-demand domestic cleaning startup secured its first investment, it was accepted by the prestigious 500 Startups accelerator in Silicon Valley (a first for South Africa). If that wasn't enough, the Uber for domestic cleaners achieved monthly double-digit growth within its first year, and shows no signs of slowing down. Chatting to Ventureburn, co-founders Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic (pictured above) detail what their experiences have been like in Silicon Valley so far. After about three months of being accelerated, the couple also share some of their biggest lessons...

  • Patrick Kayton on Cognician’s revamped self-coaching platform [Q&A]

    Cape Town, South Africa-based self-coaching platform Cognician recently launched a new version of their software, entitled C3, which helps users collect and organise their thoughts. The company has received local and international recognition in the Cape Town Activa Awards, Seedcamp Johannesburg, Seedcamp London, and being named one of Europe's top 11 startups at the TechCrunch Europas Awards. Cognician can be used to brainstorm ideas, plan essays, and outline events. Users may then collaborate with friends or co-workers on the ideas. This e-learning tool differentiates itself from the competition by incorporating a chat-like interface for users, designed to help stimulate thinking on the subject...

  • Ventureburn chats with Simon Hartley on WumDrop’s R1m-plus investment [Q&A]

    On the back of raising over R1-million and winning the prestigious MTN's Best Enterprise App and Best Overall App of 2015, Ventureburn sits down with WumDrop co-founder Simon Hartley (pictured above with 'anonymous' developer) to catch up with what the trendy, on-demand courier and delivery startup is up to. Hartley co-founded WumDrop together with Roy Borole in May 2014. Since then, the South African startup has achieved fast growth and prompted other players like the Tencent-backed Picup to enter the market, both seeking to disrupt the local courier industry and beyond. Today, WumDrop has secured an investment of just over R1-million, with...

  • SnapScan’s Kobus Ehlers on keeping up with SA’s ever-changing payments landscape

    Kobus Ehlers is behind one of South Africa's top-ranked apps, and arguably the only successful startup to have made mobile payments relevant in the country. Even though multinational telecom giants like Vodacom struggle to get mobile payments off the ground in the country, SnapScan today boasts over 20 000 merchant clients, ranging from parking marshals to restaurants. While user numbers aren't disclosed, it's growing much faster than the merchant clients'. Yet, while growth is all good and well for certain niche sectors, the company is regularly experimenting with new features and integrations to feel out the ever-changing market and keep up...

  • Q&A with AgroInfoTech on building real tech solutions for Nigeria

    No one doubts the booming status of the tech ecosystem in Nigeria, but taking a closer look at where the action is happening would reveal that much of the noise is being made by players in the ecommerce space, followed by education, and so on. Strangely though, little is really happening in the agricultural space. That was until I met Oluwajoba Ayo Okediji, the founder and director of AgroInfoTech. In an interview, we spoke extensively on what is happening in the agricultural-tech space, the prospects and ongoing plans to launch Nigeria’s incubation hub for agriculture-focused tech startups. Ventureburn: Why is tech...

  • Q&A: What Africa needs to build the next Facebook

    I recently sat down with Seedstars World’s Marcello Schermer (pictured middle) and Gregory Pepper (pictured left). We spoke extensively about the startup pitching competition and how it's supporting emerging companies from all over the globe. We then dissected the startup ecosystem in Africa, focusing on what it will take for Africa to launch the next Facebook. Sourcing tech startups from around the globe, Seedstars World is currently making its rounds through 16 African countries. The top company from each country will stand a chance of winning a US$500 000 equity investment in Switzerland next year. Ventureburn: What is the business model...

  • Springleap’s Trevor Wolfe talks agencies, startups, and pivots [Q&A]

    For a long time now the line between startups and agencies has been blurring. With tech and product becoming so incorporated into daily operations and often determining revenues, it's not unusual to see a startup act like an agency or the other way around. South Africa's Springleap fits the bill of a startup-turned-agency rather well. While the company started out as a platform crowdsourcing T-shirt designs, it recently pivoted to leverage its global community of 800 000 creatives to fulfill other agency needs. It was during this time of flux that Springleap got US marketing expert Trevor Wolfe to come on board as marketing...