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Startup news

  • TIA-backed startups have two weeks left to apply for Young Enterprise Initiative

    Young South African entrepreneurs who have received support or funding from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) have two weeks left to apply for the Young Enterprise Initiative South Africa (YEI South Africa) 2017 programme. Applications close on 7 August. The programme, held by the French Embassy in South Africa and TIA aims to provide four South African startups with an opportunity to develop and grow in France. To be eligible for support applicants have to have companies that are at the early-revenue or pre-commercialisation stage that have been funded by TIA or that have participated in one of the agency's programmes. In an announcement last week on the French Embassy...

  • Grotech rebranding as Kalon Venture Partners to avoid marketplace confusion

    South African Section 12J venture capital (VC) company Grotech has rebranded as Kalon Venture Partners. Kalon CEO Clive Butkow said the rebranding was to avoid being seen as associated with another Section 12J VC company, Grovest. "The confusion in the marketplace was that we were an offshoot of Grovest and that's where the initial idea for a rebrand came from," explained Butkow. This, he added, was partly driven by Malcom Segal being chairman of both companies. In addition Butkow is a non-executive director of Grovest. He said Segal will continue to chair Kalon. Another factor driving the rebrand was that when the company was...

  • SA, Ghanaian startup shortlisted for Swiss-based Kickstart Accelerator

    South African startup Libryo and Ghanaian startup Farmerline have been selected for Swiss-based Kickstart Accelerator’s second cohort of 30 startups which hail from around the world. The announcement was made by Kickstart Accelerator on Wednesday. Libryo, a legal platform which enables organisations to understand their legal obligations, and Farmerline, an information service for small-scale farmers in Africa, will take part in the 11-week programme in Zurich from 4 September to 17 November. The second cohort has been divided into four verticals, namely: fintech, smart cities and robotics and intelligent systems. Adel Raslan, who handles publics relations on behalf of Kickstart, told Ventureburn that 10% of the applications...

  • HeePD to launch coding academy for people living with disabilities

    People with disabilities in Cape Town will be able to access free training in coding, with the expected launch next month of a local coding academy. The Hub Employment Ecosystems for People with Disabilities (HeePD), a commercial enterprise started in February, is working with partners to launch CoD - Ability Academy for People with Disabilities at the Open Design Festival between 13 and 25 August. The academy for people with disabilities will offer training in HTML, Java and C+. HeePD founder Riad Masoet, who has multiple sclerosis, told Ventureburn that HeePD will partner with various coding partners to establish the academy. Masoet did not want to say yet...

  • Innovator taps over R220 000 in support from CSIR grassroots programme

    Nkosana Madi has been able to tap over R220 000 in training and support from a Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) programme that aims to help innovators from townships and rural areas. Madi (pictured above), who is from KwaThema near Springs in Gauteng, has developed a motorised bike, the Fla'va. He says the CSIR, through its Grassroots Innovators Programme, is helping to fund an auto-CAD and design-modelling course he is undertaking. Since July last year the CSIR has also provided him with an engineer to advise him on the kinds of tools he should use to manufacture the bike and has...

  • South Korea seeks to diversify its startup scene with its latest accelerator GAPS

    The South Korean government has opened applications for 30 foreign startups to join its new Global Accelerator Program for Startups (GAPS). The application deadline is 31 July. The 1o-month programme will run from this September to June next year and shortlisted startups will each get a grant of $26 000. Applicants will be assessed on how marketable and scalable their business models are as well as on their team’s makeup. Winning startups will also be provided with office space, equipment and material. The programme will also assist participants in getting startup visas and additional mentorship on how to run a business in Korea. GAPS is...

  • Q&A: Karoo Tech Hub hosting developer handling $1 billion a month in spend

    A tech hub in South Africa's Karoo has already attracted 20 to 30 people since launching nine months ago -- including a team of developers who have developed software that handles transaction of over $1-billion a month for clients. "They (Rubberstamp.io) are managing over a $1-billion of spend each month for companies all over the world," says Karoo Tech Hub founder Priscilla Kennedy, of the team that is building and marketing an innovative software that helps companies control their expenses. Rubberstamp.io is currently managing over $1-billion in spend a month for firms all over the world, says Karoo Tech Hub founder Ventureburn asked Kennedy to tell us more about the tech...

  • ‘Percentage of women in tech sector has declined from 40% of professionals’

    The percentage of women in the local IT sector has declined from a level of 40% of professionals in the 1980s claims Cape Town entrepreneur Lorraine Steyn. A 2014 survey by the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) of 711 IT practitioners revealed that only 21% of ICT jobs are held by women. "If we're cutting out 50% of the population from those career opportunities, well I'm pissed off, I want to see the girls in there," said Steyn, speaking at a Startup Grind event at Workshop 17 in Cape Town last night. Steyn, the CEO of Khanyisa Real Systems (KRS), challenged businesses to be more flexible...

  • SA’s first equity crowdfunding platform to launch later this month

    South Africa's first equity crowdfunding platform will be unveiled by ThundaFund founder Patrick Schofield in a soft launch later this month, Schofield confirmed today. Schofield did not want to comment on the launch of the platform, which is expected to take place in Johannesburg, saying only "at this stage, no comment, treading lightly right now :-)" in an email to Ventureburn. However a source said the soft launch is aimed at creating awareness on the platform to those in the media and to startups in search of equity finance. The platform is expected to initially list six startups or projects, the source said. South Africa's first equity...

  • These were 10 startups that competed in the SA finals of Seedstars World

    Last month saw a sold out Seedstars South Africa final at the Standard Bank Auditorium in Rosebank, Johannesburg -- with Cape Town startup EMGuidance clinching top spot. The startup, which solves a critical problem for medical professionals by aggregating medical content from regional experts in one app, beat off nine other startups. The company will now go on to represent South Africa at the Seedstars Global Summit in April next year, and will have an opportunity to compete for $500 000 in investment capital, participation in the Africa Regional Summit and a global network in over 80 countries around the world. Read more: Meet...