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Startups

  • OfferZen wants to be the curated marketplace for SA’s top devs, top companies

    It's not easy finding the job you deserve in South Africa, especially if you're a talented developer exposed to what's on offer in, say, Silicon Valley. This might change as curated jobs marketplace OfferZen sets out to help top developers find the best jobs the South African tech industry has to offer. In 2014, two South African brothers Malan and Philip Joubert traveled to Silicon Valley where they pitched their startup Journey Apps to various venture capitalists. The entrepreneurs, who are also behind startup incubator FireID, wanted to know how difficult it was for a South African tech company to...

  • From banks to microlenders, Fincheck wants to help you find the best loans

    Financial service comparison websites have been around for a while in South Africa with the likes of Hippo, Click n Compare and many more, assisting people with probably one of the most stressful undertakings out there. Now, two young entrepreneurs are trying to help South Africans with a more in-depth finance comparison website, called Fincheck, which helps people find loan options. Slated as an independent comparisons website, Fincheck focuses on comparing complex verticals of the financial sector in a more simplistic manner. Its offerings look at finance plans for personal, payday, and student loans, debt consolidation, and credit cards. The company place...

  • Q&A with AzarGen Biotechnologies on $3.1m funding round

    Starting 2016 with a bang, VC4Africa-listed venture AzarGen Biotechnologies closes US$3.1-million in Series B funding. VC4A had a chance to speak with Dr. Mauritz Venter to learn more about their progress and plans for the future. VC4Africa: Can you highlight the origins of the company and its inspiration? Mauritz Venter: AzarGen was started by four aspiring life science entrepreneurs with a diverse set of skills, interests and passions as post-graduate students at Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Plant Biotechnology. Throughout our years at university the team had a keen interest in the business aspects of science and in the beginning of 2003...

  • Deep VR is the startup bridging videography and virtual reality

    Virtual reality (VR) startups are rare companies, even with the technology gaining more traction. Deep VR is one such company -- specialising in 3D and 2D 360 degree video production -- that came together while in a pinch. Founded and self-funded by Ulrico Grech-Cumbo and Telmo dos Reis, in October 2015, the South African-based company started off as something of a necessity. Its sister company, Ambrosia Brand Experience Agency over-sold itself on a project. The client required a jazz club to be filmed in 360 degrees, but the agency didn't know how to achieve this. Fortunately, the pair stepped up to the...

  • Primecart’s bold attempt to dominate ecommerce in Nigeria through Shoprite

    During the festive period, public holidays, and those notable days that are not recognised in Nigeria's calendar, people often troop en masse to quite a number of places, with one of these being Shoprite. But not every Nigerian waits until the holidays to visit Shoprite – as a matter of fact, a sizeable proportion of the corporate demographic in Nigeria relies on Shoprite for their daily living. "I spend more than 60% of my monthly earnings on Shoprite," said Dayo, an Abuja-based Nigerian high-earning medical professional. There are more people like Dayo whose daily lives revolve around Shoprite; from the food...

  • Ex-Kalahari.com CEO Gary Novitzkas on Juniva, the health ecommerce store

    Former CEO of Kalarhai.com, Gary Novitzkas, shows that niche ecommerce stores may still be the way to go for entrepreneurs. His store, Juniva, is based about the popularity of vitamins, supplements, and detoxing in contemporary society. In a press release sent to Ventureburn, Novitzkas says he felt there was a shortage of quality, unbiased information about vitamins. This lead to talks around a solution around this problem, which evolved into an ecommerce store. The usage of an online platform, as opposed to brick and mortar, allows for a far greater reach. Novitzkas previously held the position of Kalahari.com's CEO from December 2010...

  • Nigerian-founded social networking startup Tutlub is creating an online Muslim family

    These days, it’s really hard being a Muslim in Nigeria and elsewhere since no matter what you do, you have to answer questions on terrorism and your religion. This could be the reason why some Muslims are quiet on social media on this subject and other critical topics. The silence is so strong that many are beginning to assume that social media is haram (sin) in Islam. But Yusuf Hassan, founder and CEO of Tutlub disagrees. Hassan might just have found a way to create fruitful and open online dialogue. “Islamic scholars and Imams’ position on social media is that...

  • Leadhome is the latest startup keen to change real estate in South Africa

    Real estate startup Leadhome thinks South African real estate is stagnant and believes it has what it takes to shake it up with a melange of traditional and innovative services. Launched late November, the company was founded by long-time friends Marcél du Toit (pictured left) and Harry Hattingh (pictured right). The pair met in 2001 when they were studying undergraduate degrees at the University of Stellenbosch and have been friends ever since. Du Toit was previously the vice president in Corporate Finance and M&A at Deutsche Bank, and Harry Hattingh was a founding member of In2Assets Gauteng. The initial idea came from Hattingh while...

  • Storage space is no longer a viable business model for file storage startups

    As one of the most competitive cloud micro-markets, file storage SaaS has grown considerably over the last few years. In 2015, venture capitalists recognised startups in this field as lucrative investments, so it’s unsurprising that the number of companies aiming to meet the demand for cheap storage space keeps growing. However, most of them are bound to fail mainly due to the inability to compete against giants such as Microsoft, Google and Dropbox. This is particularly the case with startups that based their business models on storage space offering, which has long stopped being a true differentiator. With Google’s...

  • This inspiring entrepreneur proves startups can be born from anywhere [correction]

    Correction: this article originally stated that Kanayo Okwuraiwe was let go from his previous employer Ad Dynamo. We have since updated the article to reflect that Okwuraiwe left Ad Dynamo on a mutually agreed basis. Kanayo Okwuraiwe is an entrepreneur that has been through an incredible amount of hardship over the last few years. Even with these problems, he sees disaster as a blessing rather than a curse and shows us that entrepreneurs can come from anywhere, regardless of circumstance, or personal loss. A taxi lies overturned on a Lagos highway. Moments ago, its tire burst, sending the vehicle skidding along the road and...