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Startup news

  • Nigerian financial services comparison site TopCheck scores over $1M

    Nigerian financial comparison startup TopCheck has announced an investment of 1-million Euros (around US$1.1-million). The website will enable Nigerians to compare and buy insurances online. It also plans on adding a range of other financial services within the near future. Company founder Thomas Pilar elaborated in a recent press release sent to Ventureburn: With TopCheck, African consumers can finally enjoy the security and convenience of buying financial services online. We bring transparency to a market that traditionally suffers from inefficiency. Our customers can compare prices and save money. TopCheck was founded by an international team of entrepreneurs who have worked at renowned companies...

  • Content-discovery startup Jottr raises over $1M, officially launches iOS app

    South African startup Jottr set out to big make waves in Silicon Valley. Backed by a hefty amount of seed investment, the company's artificial intelligence technology has been hailed a game-changer in content discovery on the web. Since we met up with the founders in April, the trio (who then also met each other for the first time in real life) managed to successfully raise more than US$1-million in June, with an additional US$100 000 credit received from Amazon Web Services. The investment was secured through various family funds based in Malta, the UK and the Netherlands, among some others angels. The company has also officially launched its iOS app....

  • On-demand delivery startup Picup starts focusing on business deliveries

    On-demand delivery service Picup has launched a new offering that enables businesses to collect and deliver documents and parcels in under 90 minutes -- a fraction of the time it takes for traditional courier service. The WeChat Africa-backed startup stresses that if the Picup Business delivery isn’t completed within 90 minutes the full fare is credited to the client. Available on your smartphone via WeChat and the web, Picup launched in May this year. The delivery startup is inspired by an Uber-like business model with a distributed team of drivers who choose to accept pick-up or delivery requests. The revenue split is 70% for...

  • Swiss medical company Roche to purchase Kapa Biosystems, bolster medical strength

    Today, Swiss-based medical-tech company Roche announced its acquisition of Kapa Biosystems -- a biotech startup based in Massachusetts, US with a development and manufacturing facility in Cape Town, South Africa. According to co-founder and chief scientific officer of Kapa Biosystems, Paul McEwa, "Joining Roche provides us access to their broad product portfolio, global reach and clinical expertise that will accelerate our strategy of offering comprehensive NGS workflow solutions to more laboratories around the world." The deal went through with an undisclosed purchase amount and is subject to customary closing conditions. Kapa Biosystems is a provider of genomic tools in the life science...

  • Micro-internship startup Mintor wins #PitchVinny pitching competition

    Micro-internship startup Mintor walked away as winner of the Silicon Cape pitching competition #PitchVinny. The event, which was held in Cape Town on Monday, saw three startups pitching to renowned South African angel investor and serial entrepreneur Vinny Lingham. Mintor co-founder Leànne Viviers described her startup as an online platform that connected students with internships or -- as she described it -- micro-internships. "Micro-internships enable businesses to access low-risk and affordable skills," Viviers told Lingham in front of an audience of a few dozen industry enthusiasts. "There’s a unique opportunity to address the skills gap," she added. To date, Mintor has facilitated a total of 10 "mintorships"....

  • SA comparison site Click n Compare sets up shop in Nigeria, Kenya

    South Africa-based comparison website Click n Compare has expanded to Nigeria and Kenya. This comes after achieving strong month-on-month growth of 40% in its home country. It's also expanding its advisory board with impressive additions from Nigeria-based iROKO and Ringier. Click n Compare is an online platform that lists various services, such as insurance, mobile, broadband and banking. Customers can easily navigate and compare different plans and prices that suit their specific needs. The co-founder and CEO of the company, Ryan Marx, added in a press release: Click n Compare's unique value proposition is the fact that we have positioned ourselves directly...

  • Vinny Lingham, Llew Claasen make it easier for SA startups to give out equity

    As the recent Ventureburn Startup Survey revealed, South African startups have a real problem when it comes to retaining employees. To a large degree, that's because the salaries at startups simply aren't large enough. And while the norm in other markets is to give out equity, just eight percent of South African startups do so. In a bid to change that, industry veterans Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen have launched the Newtown Employee Share Trust to manage Employee Share Ownership Programmes (ESOPs) for South African startups. Read more: Some private equity negotiating tips for women working for a startup ESOPs...

  • On-demand delivery startup WumDrop takes home 2015 MTN App of the Year Award

    Last night, major South African telecom MTN announced the winners of the annual App of the Year Awards. Ranging from big business to lean startups, winners in a number of categories were recognised, including the prestigious Business App of the Year Award. Some local apps that shone at the annual competition include WumDrop, Vula Mobile, EskomSePush and M4JAM. The judging panel consisted of industry experts Jonathan Hoehler, Kobus Ehlers, Liron Segev, Nafisa Akabor, Tanya Kovarsky, and Andile Khumalo. WumDrop, an application allowing users to summon a courier at R12 per kilometer, took home the award for the Best Enterprise App & Best Overall App of 2015....

  • BitX, Zazoo deal enables people to spend Bitcoin via virtual cards

    Bitcoin exchange startup BitX has signed an exclusive deal with Zazoo, enabling people to spend cryptocurrency online using virtual card system VCpay. Part of JSE-listed Net1, Zazoo is responsible for a range of product offerings including mobile banking, third-party payments, cryptography and smart card technologies. One of Zazoo's products is VCpay, which enables customers to create a new virtual prepaid MasterCard number for every purchase they make. This is said to help secure their identities and accounts from fraud. In a press release, CEO of BitX Marcus Swanepoel said: “The gap between the speculative trade in digital currency and users’ ability to...

  • M4JAM acquires digital research company Pondering Panda to fuel African expansion

    South African micro-jobbing startup M4JAM (Money for Jam) had a good first year. The Stellenbosch-based company lured high-profile talents such as Brett StClair from Google South Africa into its den, which was quickly followed up by investment from media giants Naspers and Tencent through WeChat Africa. This has been accompanied by impressive user growth. Now, adding muscle to its African expansion plans, M4JAM has acquired digital market research company Pondering Panda. Founded in 2011 and also operating from Stellenbosch, Pondering Panda has over the years established itself as a reputable research brand and, leveraging popular digital channels such as Mxit and...

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