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Startups

  • 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...

  • New market maps uncover over 50 startups, companies in SA healthtech

    With advances in technology thanks largely to the uptake in smart phones, South Africa's health-care sector is ripe for disruption, says Alex Fraser, head of Fraser Consulting and partnerships. Fraser -- who is also the ecosystem advisor for startup support organisation mLab -- made the comments yesterday in a statement to announce the unveiling of two market maps (see below images) she helped developed for the reHealthAfrica project to help investors, startups and corporates to better understand the opportunities in the local healthtech sector. 'The market maps are designed to give people a quick, broad overview of who else is the space and what they are doing' ReHealthAfrica...

  • Not all tech giants operating in SA offer support tailored to black startups

    "We really got a lot". This is how Thabo Moshoane describes the year of support his startup got from IBM, which included access to two cloud-based services to the value of $140 000. Moshoane -- who co-founded Slyk (pronounced "slick") IT Solutions in 2010 with Tshepo Motiki -- was one of four startups that were part in IBM's Aspiring Entrepreneurs initiative last year. Slyk has so far been able to sign agreements with tech suppliers Dell, Lenovo and HP for their app which tracks the warranty on digital products. Moshoane may have been lucky to tap support from IBM. The US tech giant aims to spend millions over the...

  • Five SA tech startups that are expanding into the rest of Africa [Updated]

    South African tech startups are slowly waking up to the massive untapped market that is the rest of the continent. If data from Ventureburn's 2017 tech startup survey is anything to go by, an increasing percentage of tech startups are looking to Africa to market their new solutions. In all 40% of the 260 SA tech startup founders Ventureburn surveyed in a 2017 tech startup survey listed Africa as their principal market, up from 13% in a 2015 Ventureburn survey which sampled 197 founders. Ventureburn spoke to five SA startups to find out how their expansion to the rest off the continent is going and what some...

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