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Interviews

  • Barclays Rise mentors aim to provide guide in lonely world of entrepreneurship

    Mentors can prove invaluable to entrepreneurs looking to grow their business as they can impart important knowledge and act as an important guide in the lonely world of starting a business. So says Alexandra Fraser, director of Silicon Cape and a Barclay's Rise mentor -- one of a number of Barclay's Rise Techstars mentors who spoke to Ventureburn on the benefits of mentorship, following the announcement earlier this month of the accelerator's next cohort of startups. Read more: Barclays accelerator announces latest participants in African programme Fraser said networks and relationships, much like ones you make with mentors are important, particularly when you're an entrepreneur. "Being an entrepreneur is a...

  • The Foschini Group and startups: an unlikely combo

    Ventureburn and Splash conducted an interview with The Foschini Group's (TFG) CIO, Brent Curry, which revealed many insights into what TFG and startups are producing. It's also particularly important to note his insights as they might be a way for entrepreneurs to bring their product to a large market. To date, TFG has partnered with tech startups such as Wumdrop and Pargo which brought about TFG's Deliver 2 Me service while also allowing customers to choose a convenient collection point for their items. "We know that exceptional tech talent usually prefers working in the edgier startup space, rather than at a big corporate...

  • Q&A: Google’s John Kimani on Launchpad Start

    Ventureburn had the opportunity to interview John Kimani, the Developer Relations Ecosystem Program Manager for East Africa and is responsible for looking after the Launchpad programme in Sub-Saharan Africa. "We work by providing startups with the in-person mentoring that they need to tackle critical challenges and enable each startup to grow or scale. We currently operate in 30 countries with over 600 mentors," said Kimani over email. "Startups can join a Launchpad activity through our partner network of startup organisations around the world, or at Launchpad Space in San Francisco," he continued. Launchpad Start Johannesburg, which is held in partnership with JoziHub,...

  • Jamie Martin on Edtech and the EdTech Open Innovation Cluster

    Tech hub, CiTi recently launched the first EdTech Open Innovation Cluster and incubator in Africa. Ventureburn had the opportunity to sit down with the initiative's lead, Jamie Martin, to discuss his thoughts behind the accelerator as well as edtech in general. "I really believe that the developing world, in particular Africa, is firstly the place that edtech can make the most impact and is also the place where I think it's going to be the most innovative. Secondly, I think that particularly in SA there is a unique combination, I call it 'first world infrastructure, third world problems'." He further explained that data...

  • Q&A: WooTheme’s Mark Forrester talks hacking, investment tips & more [update]

    Mark Forrester is easily one of the most well-known startup founders in the SA industry. In 2015, his co-founded website theme builder WooThemes was acquired by WordPress founding company, Automattic for a rumoured US$30-million, which he commented is "off target, it is a good ballpark". Started in 2008, WooThemes grew to 55 staff members across 20 countries by the time it was acquired in 2015. The company also launched shopping plugin WooCommerce, which saw over 7.5-million downloads and active installs at the time. Along his journey, Forrester has co-founded IT solutions company Gravit8, social media aggregator Afrigator, invested in Over and...

  • Q&A: Daniel Guasco on his new venture, Click2Sure

    Even with the closure of Groupon in South Africa, the ex-founding director Daniel Guasco has been busy with a range of other projects. He is part of the South African Business Angel Network (SABAN), VC Team Africa Ventures, and investing in Hyperli. Guasco recently launched Click2Sure, an insurance startup, which is a bit of a strange industry for someone with a Groupon background. Ventureburn had a chance to catch up with Guasco and chat to him about this new venture. Ventureburn: With your daily-deals experience (Groupon), why start an insurance-related business? Daniel Guasco: It was from my experience at Groupon and in e-commerce more generally that I identified the...

  • Exclusive Q&A: 88mph founder Kresten Buch on Ahoy investment

    Investment company 88mph recently broke a long silence by announcing an investment into flight booking and management app for small businesses, Ahoy. Though the LinkedIn post, written by the 88mph founder Kresten Buch, detailed the investment, it didn't have all of the details. Ventureburn reached out to Buch to ask a few quick questions on why 88mph invested in Ahoy, the amount invested, as well as any future plans the company may have. Ventureburn: How much was the exact investment? Otherwise, can you give a ballpark figure? Kresten Buch: 88mph went in together with four other investors. Our contribution was approx R1.5-million. VB: Do you know what...

  • Katlego Maphai interview: rivals, data, staff, and more

    We were fortunate enough to attend the second Startup Grind Cape Town event of the year, headlined by Katlego Maphai. The Yoco co-founder tackled a variety of topics during the event, but we managed to interview him, covering rivals, Yoco's future plans and more. Who are their rivals? Is it Snapscan? "We are sort of... mutually cooperating companies in the ecosystem," he says of Snapscan. "If you look at Snapscan, they've had to acquire merchants and the real drive from them now is getting consumers to pay. We're strictly a merchant company." Maphai says that you could potentially see a collaboration between the...

  • Xero’s Gary Turner: Say goodbye to late payments

    Ventureburn recently caught up with Xero's Gary Turner, so we got the chance to speak about one of the underlying threats to small businesses -- late payments. "One of the biggest threats small businesses face is getting money through the door, I'm sure that it won’t always be the problem. We did some research to see how that plays out versus any of the other countries. The bad news is that it's just as bad here as it is everywhere else," said Turner. Their research was conducted through Frontline and looked at 500 businesses across SA (to represent local figures only). What...

  • Xero to take on traditional accounting software companies

    Since Ventureburn reported on Xero's partnership with Sasfin Bank, we had a chance to speak to the MD for Xero's operations across EMEA, Gary Turner, about the deal and more. After announcing their partnership at a recent roadshow, the team over at Xero have been hard at work in keeping that momentum going. "What we do when we partner with banks has never existed before, this isn't about the bank selling or recommending Xero, or becoming some kind of sales channel for Xero," said Turner. "I know the banks in SA, the UK and other countries have had bank referrals where they...