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Startups

  • Five SA biotech companies to watch in 2018 [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. Starting a biotech business, like any other startup, is not an easy undertaking. If anything, biotech entrepreneurs appear to face more difficult odds. For example, setting up a simple lab alone can cost more than R5-million. However, despite these barriers to entry, there are a number of SA companies that are doing well, with some even securing customers around the world. Below...

  • Nigerian startups sceptical of state’s sudden interest in ecosystem [Opinion]

    The Nigerian government may have moved to get stakeholders in the country’s tech ecosystem on its side, but those in the ecosystem remain sceptical. It follows a tour last month by the vice president Yemi Osinbajo of Lagos's tech ecosystem, which was described by several experts in the sector as geared towards garnering the support of the sector for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking re-election next year. Just months after it secured its latest funding of $325 000 investment from the GSMA, Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s digital agricultural platform, was among the Nigerian tech startups that the vice president visited while in Lagos. He also visited Paystack, Andela,...

  • With corporates you gotta have patience of saint – Sensor Networks founder [Q&A]

    Startups must have the patience of a saint when doing business with corporates. So, says Sensor Networks founder Mark Allewell, whose Cape Town startup last week announced that it had secured another round of funding, of R13-million from various local funders. His company is currently working with five insurance companies to roll out its Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. "From my experience, sometimes it’s good to be brutally honest with corporate people that you deal with, as they are people as well and if the relationship can’t take criticism, then it’s not worth having that relationship," adds Allewell (pictured above). And he should know. Before Sensor Networks he'd started and...

  • Fintech startups can win up to $50k with Visa Everywhere Initiative [Sponsored]

    The fintech industry in the Sub-Sahara Africa region is on the brink of a transformative breakthrough and the time is now to tap into the creative and innovative minds of the startup community. Last month (March 2018) the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) launched in the Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) region and Visa is looking for startups that are developing various local fintech solutions. The initiative is a global innovation programme that tasks startups to solve commerce challenges of tomorrow and further enhance their own product propositions and provide visionary solutions for Visa’s vast network of partners. Since it first launched in the US in 2015,...

  • How Seedstars competition helped put these SA startups on the map

    It's been two years since SA startup Giraffe was crowned the 2016 Seedstars World winner, scoring equity investment of an undisclosed amount and putting the company on the radar of local and international investors. Last month the Johannesburg startup, which runs a web platform that matches job seekers with job placements, announced a second round of funding led by Edge Growth. Giraffe CEO Anish Shivdasani told Ventureburn this week that winning the South African leg of the competition generated media interest which culminated in the startup's first round of finance led by Omidyar shortly after winning the SA leg. Read more: Giraffe receives undisclosed seed funding from Omidyar Network Read...

  • Investors biased towards expat founders says American behind Kenya’s M-Shule

    Foreign investors who invest in African startups are biased towards funding expat founders, says a US-born entrepreneur running an edtech startup in Kenya. Claire Mongeau, who is originally from Boston in the US and is the co-founder of M-Shule, reasons that what is behind the bias is that many foreign investors favour entrepreneurs that pitch and hold meetings "like they do". "There is a big challenge when it comes to startups in many places in Africa, that the funding and the investment is very often coming from outside -- from US or European investors -- and I think they have a bias definitely towards those that look and...

  • Startups should tackle real problems, not ‘stupid stuff’ says Michael Jordaan

    South African venture capitalist Michael Jordaan says South African startups should focus on helping solve some of the country's many social and economic problems, rather than develop the "stupid, stupid stuff" that entrepreneurs often pitch him. Speaking last night at an event hosted by the Creative Leadership Collective and held at the Naspers building in Cape Town, the former FNB head said more startups should seek to solve "real problems". The collective is a members-based organisation that aims to facilitate greater innovation capabilities within large corporates. "The wonderful thing about South Africa are these problems you have, because they are all opportunities," said Jordaan. "Instead the stuff I...

  • Startup culture one of the most powerful things one can have – Michael Jordaan

    Startup culture is one of the most powerful things any society can have says SA venture capitalist Michael Jordaan, who adds startups can help solve many of South Africa's challenges. "I hate to say it but the Americans get so many things wrong -- including their president, including gun control and so on -- but what they did get right is how they view startups, how they view failure that that's a good thing and you can learn from that and start over, how corporates will sometimes buy small startups to sometimes get the talent inhouse," says Jordaan. Presenting a talk last...

  • 7 South African healthtech startups to watch in 2018 [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. An increasing demand for accountable care and the digital delivery of health care is driving more startups to develop innovative health care solutions. With the launch of new call for startups on 3 April by accelerator Digital Health Cape Town (see the story here), Ventureburn takes a look at seven promising South African healthtech startups to keep an eye on. Recomed Fresh off a R4.5-million...

  • Was SA startup TechnoVera overlooked for Gauteng pharmacy ATM? [Opinion]

    On 15 March 2018, the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) in South Africa unveiled what they called a "historic ATM pharmacy". The first ATM pharmacy machine was deployed and launched in the Alexandra township of Johannesburg, at the Alexandra Plaza Shopping Centre. Also known as the "Pharmacy Dispensing Unit (PDU)", GDoH went on to state that the PDU is "the first of its kind on the African continent and will reduce congestion in public healthcare facilities". How the PDU works is like a typical cash ATM, but for medication. It allows patients to insert their unique "ATM" cards to start the...