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Startup news

  • Getting access to Google’s Launchpad Start was crazy – SA entrepreneur

    "It was crazy, getting accepted into an accelerator held by Google of all companies -- we didn't expect it," recalls Vibescout co-founder Jonathan Myburgh, on being accepted into the Google Launchpad Accelerator last month. Myburgh told Ventureburn how getting accepted into the programme proved a great "morale" boost for he and his team from the event and content aggregator startup. Vibescout was conceived by Jonathan's brother and co-founder of the company, Paul Myburgh, while on a trip to Vietnam in 2014. Jonathan recalls how at the time his brother had exhausted all the available tourist activities and wanted to do what the locals were doing. But...

  • Questions raised over SA startup’s claim algorithm could net investors $20bn

    SA entrepreneur Stephen Larkin claims that investors could be in for "free cash" of US$20-billion if his exploration company, which uses a unique algorithm to pinpoint possible gas deposits, makes a find in Namibia's Kalahari Desert. While he's raised millions of dollars from investors and written off millions more in research costs through a number of state incentives, industry analysts remain cautious. Read more: Will South African trio's algorithm be a boon for oil sector? His UK-registered company Africa New Energies, which is expected to list on the London Stock Exchange next year, has yet to discover a single barrel of oil. Larkin...

  • Agreement with Paris development agency aims to boost Accra tech scene

    Paris's development and innovation agency PARIS&Co and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) have signed a memorandum of understanding in which France has pledged to recognise Ghana's potential in new technologies and support its startup ecosystem. The memorandum, which was signed last week, aims to boost the circulation of information between the startup ecosystem of  Paris and Accra. The agreement was signed in the presence of the Ambassador of France to Ghana, François Pujolas, read a press release to Ventureburn on behalf of the French embassy. The MEST, incubator and entrepreneurial school tech, is part of the MeltWater group. It is the flagship of the...

  • SA startup Mobenzi receives R16m investment from Edge Growth

    Andi Friedman is feeling "energised and excited" following a R16-million investment his startup Mobenzi received from Vumela Fund. Friedman said the Series-A funding served as a good recognition of all the hard work the company has done. He said the fund, which is managed by FNB and Edge Growth, took a significant minority stake in Mobenzi. The startup clinched the investment after taking part in one-on-one mentoring with accelerator and capital advisory firm Impact Amplifier. The accelerator provided the company with strategic support as well as other acceleration services. Mobenzi was founded in 2009 by Friedman and Pete Fowles. The two have developed a suite of products which include...

  • Paygo raises US $1.43-million in Series Seed funding

    Kenyan clean-energy provider, Paygo has raised US$1.43-million in Series Seed debt and equity funding. The clean energy provider uses an innovative solution that allows households to cook using clean burning liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in small amounts. The company's investors consist of Novastar ventures, Energy Access Ventures (EAV), Village Capital and the Global Innovation Fund. It also includes Global Partnerships/Eleos Social Venture Fund. "A billion households are forced to cook with dirty fuels every day, which is not only a serious development challenge but also a significant market opportunity. This financing will allow us to invest deeply in our technology, build...

  • World Bank launches accelerator programme for African digital startups

    The World Bank has announced the launch of XL Africa, an acceleration programme aimed at supporting 20 top digital startups from Sub-Saharan Africa. XL Africa will run over five months and startups will be put through a tailored curriculum, while receiving mentorship and the chance to attract early-stage capital of between US$250,000 and US$1.5-million. "Digital startups are important drivers of innovation in Africa," said Makhtar Diop, the vice-president for the Africa Region at the World Bank, in a press release. "To scale and spread new technologies and services beyond borders, they need an integrated ecosystem that provides access to regional markets and global finance. "Pan-African initiatives...

  • ‘Computicket’s acquisition of Pretoria startup an opportunity to learn more’

    Computicket's acquisition of local company Entry Ninja is an opportunity to take on new technology and to learn more, says the Pretoria startup's co-founder Frans Jooste. "It's a lot of fun to see your product blowing up," Jooste, 29, told Ventureburn today on Computicket's purchase of the online sporting events portal. "It's like seeing your baby growing up." Computicket on Saturday announced that it has acquired the startup for an undisclosed sum. Neither Jooste or Shoprite Holdings, which owns Computicket, would disclose the amount of the deal. 'It’s a lot of fun to see your product blowing up' Jooste said the startup was...

  • SA downgrade ‘nearly irrelevant’ to startups – Michael Jordaan

    South Africa’s downgrade to junk status earlier this month by two rating agencies may have depressed Michael Jordaan, one of the country's most respected venture capital (VC) investors, but he believes the downgrade is "nearly irrelevant" to startups. "In this tough economic climate it is useful that one of the advantages of startups as opposed to big business is that the macro economics are nearly irrelevant as it is far more important for the startup to first succeed in its narrowly defined micro-market," said Jordaan in an email to Ventureburn. However, in a wide-ranging interview, the former head of First National Bank, now the...

  • Will South African trio’s algorithm be a boon for oil sector?

    Over $300-billion of oil and gas exploration projects have been shelved since the oil price fell from a high of $120 in July 2014 to a low of $25 in early 2015 -- but three South Africans' use of a statistical algorithm promises to cut the cost of finding oil and gas. While unlisted UK company Africa New Energies (ANE) recently became the subject of a bidding war with valuations of hundreds of millions of dollars, analysts remain cautious, with the company yet to discover a single barrel of oil. The company, launched by Stephen Larkin, Brendon Raw and Shakes Motsilili in 2012, uses data collected...

  • Startupbootcamp launches its first African-based programme

    Global accelerator Startupbootcamp has announced the launch of its first African-based programme in Cape Town with the aim of accelerating 10 startups from September. The announcement was made yesterday. The three-month bootcamp, backed by BNP Paribas, the RCS Group and PwC, is open to startups that focus on a number of sectors. These include: blockchain, connected devices, payment solutions, asset management, ecommerce, alternative financing, identity management, data and behavioural analytics, digital connectivity, enabling technologies and integrated supply chains. Ten successful applicants selected for the programme will each be awarded EUR€15,000. Selected participants will also receive free office space, convertible notes, access to...