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Startups

  • Should African startups looking to go global consider registering in the US? 

    An increasing number of African startups are incorporating their companies in the US -- to make it easier to scale globally, and in some instances to raise funding from international investors. One such startup is Ghanaian company Syncommerce. Founded in 2014 by CEO Christian Osei-Bonsu, Joel Funu, and Albert Fiati-Kumasenu, the startup's centralised dashboard allows online merchants to sell, track and manage inventory across multiple sales channels, simultaneously. From day one the company has drawn the bulk of its clients from the US. Currently the figure stands at 70% of its merchants. Syncommerce has been able to access markets in Canada, UK and the rest...

  • When you’re a mom running a growing tech startup it’s all about multitasking

    For tech entrepreneur Chantalle ten Napel Wilson being a mom and a business owner comes down to one thing -- a lot of multitasking. Wilson, the founder of online vehicle retailing platform Virtual Drive and a mother of two, recalls how she has often had to conclude business meetings inside her car with a client seated next to her, while rushing to pick up her children from school. But she says most of her clients who find themselves in her car finishing a meeting react only positively. “Most people have said that it’s incredible that you do this,” she says. Says Wilson: “As an investor once told...

  • Let’s do it for ourselves Africa and stop copying overseas tech trends [Opinion]

    I like comparing the startup scene in South Africa to where hip hop was in the country about 10 years ago. Artists trying to imitate what the Americans were doing -- fake American accents, no vernac in their songs and oversized clothes which failed dismally and did not connect with the audience. Fast-forward and now in the forefront with artists like Cassper Nyovest hip hop has become one of the most popular and lucrative genres. It is the biggest driver of urban youth culture purely because they “pivoted” and embraced their SA identity these artists are not only successful with their music but have...

  • What’s the secret ingredient that makes entrepreneurs successful? [Opinion]

    Am I an entrepreneur? It’s the question asked of me the most. It’s the question I thought would be the perfect start to this regular column on entrepreneurship, venture capital and the world of startups – a sector of our economy which is booming. Despite the economic and political challenges we face in the country, our startup scene is a parallel universe of overwhelming optimism, innovation, job creation, creativity and wealth creation. When we were in the midst of downgrades, juxtaposed was the country’s startup sector with positive news of new funds coming online, startups winning funding, and entrepreneurs exiting from...

  • Here’s what it’s like being a woman in SA’s tech startup ecosystem

    Tomorrow (9 August) South Africa will celebrate Women's Day. But what does it mean to be a woman in South Africa's traditionally male-dominated tech startup scene? To celebrate Women's Day, Ventureburn caught up with five women who have founded or are running tech startups in the country to find out what it's like being a woman in this country's tech scene and what hurdles women face when entering the tech sector. The five -- iMed Tech CEO Nneile Nkholise, Piehole.TV founder Priscilla Kennedy, Wala CEO Tricia Martinez, Momsays founder Shaney Vijendranath and Jumpin Rides co-founder Pauline du Paty -- also share advice for fellow...

  • Lessons from a business sale that didn’t quite go right – Farmcrowdy founder

    His business may have raised a $1-million round from Silicon Valley investors in December last year. But Farmcrowdy founder Onyeka Akumah says he learnt how not to do business when he sold his last business some years ago. Although Akumah (pictured above) won't disclose the name of the startup -- a news aggregator which he founded with a friend in 2012 and subsequently sold to Nigerian newspaper Business Day -- he says it taught him "how not to do business". "We latter sold parts of it. It’s one of the lessons I’ve learnt how not to do business," he says. "We raised...

  • ‘AlphaCode in drive to create pipeline of fintechs to invest in’ [Q&A]

    Joburg based fintech accelerator AlphaCode aims to create a pipeline of fintech firms in which Rand Merchant Bank -- which runs the programme -- can invest in and grow, says the programme's head Dominique Collett. Since it was established in 2015 AlphaCode has assisted 15 black-owned businesses through its AlphaCode Incubate programme with support as well as R13-million in funding. On Monday (30 July) AlphaCode launched a new call for applications for the programme. Read more: AlphaCode calls on black-owned fintech startups to apply to programme Collett (pictured above) tells Ventureburn more about how AlphaCode came about, how businesses can apply to the Incubate programme and what the main challenges...

  • Expat founders: So where are all the African entrepreneurs? [Opinion]

    I get utterly distraught every time I open a new TechCrunch article of a startup with a Swahili name disrupting a certain sphere of Africa only to find a foreigner founder and director. In a good case scenario, there will be one or two "local" founders on the list but that’s not as common. Do not get me wrong, I have nothing against "foreigner" founders. I, however, have a very big problem with its normalisation as a catalyst for running a successful startup in Africa. I went to engineering school where we graduated in the hundreds from the different departments. Where...

  • Hitting the high road – what it takes to join Grindstone accelerator [Q&A]

    What do you perceive as success? Is owning a lifestyle business sufficient for you? Are you prepared to make changes to your business? These are some key questions that tech entrepreneurs looking to sign up to the Grindstone Accelerator programme should ask themselves before they apply, says Knife Capital co-managing partner Andrea Bohmert (pictured above). The Cape Town based venture capital (VC) firm last week launched a call for its fourth edition of the year-long programme – which aims to assist high-growth South Africa tech startups to scale up. Applications on close on 31 August. The call was launched in partnership with management consultancy Thinkroom. Read more: Knife Capital launches fourth edition of Grindstone Accelerator programme Knife Capital launched...

  • SA entrepreneurs detail the software they use to run their tech start up

    Jira, Google Suite for Business, Ruby on Rails and fathomhq. These are just some of the software programs that SA tech entrepreneurs are using to set up their startup. Ventureburn spoke to founders from eight SA tech startups to find out what software programs each used to launch their startup -- why they opted for the programs they opted for and on whose recommendation they took these up and how much these cost their startup to run. Stuart Murless (Feastfox) Stuart Murless, the co-founder of Cape Town eating-out app Feastfox, says he relies heavily on Google Suite for Business for everything from email to storage to video calls to...