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Startups

  • Tech platforms can help us stay connected to our humanity [Opinion]

    One of the biggest fears around technology is that it robs us of human interactions. While that might not always feel like the worst thing (as anyone who’s used an app to order fast food after a big night out will attest), there’s a growing sense that tech is making us more isolated and lonely. It’s an easy conclusion to draw, especially if you look around at a restaurant and see how many families are hunched over their individual screens, with no one engaging in conversation. What this sentiment ignores, however, is the role technology can play in bringing people together,...

  • Why we invested in Augmentors game – Llew Claasen, Vinny Lingham [Updated]

    Assembling a team with the right skills has been a key challenge in the development of the Augmentors game, which claims to be the world’s first augmented reality blockchain-based mobile game, says Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur and investor Vinny Lingham. The game is set to launch this quarter, following a soft launch in August. "From an investment perspective, we have to make sure that we have the best team working on every project, so it was integral that we took our time to put together the dynamite team we have today," said Lingham, who together with Newtown Partners managing partner Llew Claasen is a key investor in the game. Augmentors initially pitched...

  • Springleap case shows how unrelenting growth has poisoned tech [Opinion]

    In late August, it emerged that the New York Attorney General had charged SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal with fraud. While CEO of design crowdsourcing site Springleap, the attorney general's charges allege that Eyal defrauded investors of more than $600 000. People close to Eyal were shocked at the allegations, but if they prove true then this incident is just the latest in a string which point to a wider problem in the tech space. For the longest time, big tech companies and the wider startup ecosystems around them have focused, almost unrelentingly, on growth. With growth, the wider public was promised would...

  • Meet Smart Lab, Tanzania’s latest accelerator and innovation lab

    Earlier this year, Smart Codes CEO and founder Edwin Bruno realised that there was something missing in Tanzania's startup ecosystem -- an accelerator that supported innovative university tech entrepreneurs and linked them with corporates. "I saw a gap in the market for a different kind of lab in Tanzania that puts entrepreneurs at the forefront of corporates and gives educational institutions the support they need to grow the next generation of business superstars straight out of the lecture hall," said Bruno. The entrepreneur, who was one of Forbes Africa's 30 under 30 in 2016, said he believed in the idea so much...

  • Will growth of property tech signal the death of the estate agent?

    Property tech is hotting up. But does the rise of online real-estate platforms mean the death of the cornerstone of the sector -- estate agents? Earlier this month online estate agency PropertyFox announced that it had acquired fellow Cape Town based property platform Steeple for an undisclosed sum. It follows the announcement last month by Pam Golding Properties that it had acquired low commission agency Eazi.com. The rise of property tech in South Africa follows the sector's growth in the US. In April US tech publication Techcrunch reported that real estate platform Zillow had launched a new strategy of buying and selling homes directly to users. This, while online real-estate company Opendoor claimed in June to be valued at...

  • SA’s startup ecosystem offers a positive vision of country’s future [Opinion]

    South Africa’s startup ecosystem is robust and growing, but our entrepreneurs and investors need to develop a truly global mindset to take advantage of a globalising world. Two recent startup studies on the country’s entrepreneurial and investment sector, released just this month, backs up the hype with research and hard figures, pointing to a booming startup sector. A report from the Netherlands-based startup research company VC4A, notes that the South African startup ecosystem is one of the most “robust and developed on the continent”, with strengths that include significant consumer and business markets, sophisticated entrepreneurial talent, and a strong corporate sector. It...

  • Here’s what you need to know about Kenya’s tech startup ecosystem

    Are you a venture capitalist or an angel investor looking to invest in a company? Are you an entrepreneur looking for capital or other opportunities? Are you an aspiring startup owner looking for assistance? Well, you have come to the right place. Ventureburn presents the 2018 guide to Kenya’s startup scene. Things are hotting up in Kenya. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Kenyan government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) to host the 2020 edition of the NEF Global Gathering in Nairobi. During an event last month in Johannesburg, Alibaba Group founder and...

  • It’s time for tech female founders to embrace the African century [Opinion]

    We have transitioned from the African Renaissance narrative a few years ago to believing Africa is rising out of the ass heap of despair, to more recent chatter about lions on the move and scaling gazelles. We can keep creating slogans, be our own hype beasts or we can actually roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty as we clean up our own mess, grab this Industry 4.0 revolution by the lapel and turn this into the African Century, for real. Yes, the scabs from wounds inflicted by our colonisers and the architects of apartheid are a constant reminder...

  • What liability do company, startup directors face in cyberspace?

    Cyber risks are evolving on a near daily basis posing countless threats to companies, and accordingly, directors need to stay abreast of legal developments to protect themselves and their companies in their fiduciary duties. The outline of such duties, in broad terms, is contained in legislation, common law and in the King IV Report on Corporate Governance for South Africa. Furthermore, duties which may not have been relevant to a director ten years ago may now have become relevant due to the development of technology and the associated risks. The law South African law prescribes duties that directors of companies must abide when...

  • With Brexit looming, should startups still consider UK registration to go global?

    For decades now startups that registered in the UK stood the chance of reaching 500 million consumers across Europe. But with the uncertainty around Brexit, the UK's pending withdrawal from the EU, should African startups looking to scale globally consider moving their businesses to the UK? Dylan Thomas, the director for technology, entrepreneurship and advanced manufacturing in the UK's Department for International Trade told Ventureburn in a meeting on Monday (10 September) in Cape Town, that Brexit will change only the country's political and not its economic relationship with the EU. "From an economic point of view, certainly, the UK government's ambition is to have...