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Startups

  • New approach needed for SME finance that looks at data not outdated processes

    Small business growth is being hindered by a lack of access to finance as entrepreneurs struggle with antiquated bank assessments that rely too heavily on outdated manual processes and criteria. In the 2016 National Small Business Survey business owners revealed that lack of funding or insufficient cash flow was the number one obstacle holding back their growth. Of those surveyed, 25% had applied for some form of finance in the past 12 months, typically for growth, working capital, or equipment finance. Is this perhaps why in a recent study only one percent of SMEs that started with fewer than five employees were found to have...

  • How WooThemes built an over $30m business using a remote work team

    It sounds hard to believe, but Adriaan Pienaar, Magnus Jepson, and Mark Forrester -- the founders of WordPress plugin maker Woo Themes -- only met for the first time face-to-face 16 months after registering their business. "We hadn't even spoken on the phone in that time," recalls Forrester, who met Jepson and Pienaar online in 2007, while based in London. Pienaar was living in Cape Town and Jepson, in Stavanger, Norway at the time. After registering the business in 2008, the three would later base the startup in Cape Town. They grew WooThemes to 55 staff members across 20 countries by...

  • Tired of corporate job South African cruises with fellow digital nomads

    After 20 years in the corporate world Samantha Wolhuter quit her job as a creative director. The first thing she did was take a cruise with digital nomads. "I was tired of going to work every day to a job I didn’t particularly enjoy for a company I didn’t believe in," says Wolhunter. After searching online for information about digital nomads she happened upon Nomad Cruise, a company that organises cruise trips for remote workers and entrepreneurs. She applied right away. While she was accepted to go on a December trip she was not ready to take the plunge and so she waited. "I got an email in...

  • Small Business Corporation regime takes sting out of tax on those early profits

    Tax season is open - and the SA Revenue Service (Sars) is on a mission this year. Fiscal budgets are under immense pressure. South Africa's political and economic circumstances has seen an exodus of both tax payers and taxable assets. Many wealth management firms make a living purely from helping high net worth individuals move their income-generating assets abroad. It means that tax paying entities operating in South Africa will be under more scrutiny this year than ever before. The 2017 tax season for individuals opened at the beginning of this month. The company provisional tax deadline follows close behind it. As business owner,...

  • TIA-backed startups have two weeks left to apply for Young Enterprise Initiative

    Young South African entrepreneurs who have received support or funding from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) have two weeks left to apply for the Young Enterprise Initiative South Africa (YEI South Africa) 2017 programme. Applications close on 7 August. The programme, held by the French Embassy in South Africa and TIA aims to provide four South African startups with an opportunity to develop and grow in France. To be eligible for support applicants have to have companies that are at the early-revenue or pre-commercialisation stage that have been funded by TIA or that have participated in one of the agency's programmes. In an announcement last week on the French Embassy...

  • Grotech rebranding as Kalon Venture Partners to avoid marketplace confusion

    South African Section 12J venture capital (VC) company Grotech has rebranded as Kalon Venture Partners. Kalon CEO Clive Butkow said the rebranding was to avoid being seen as associated with another Section 12J VC company, Grovest. "The confusion in the marketplace was that we were an offshoot of Grovest and that's where the initial idea for a rebrand came from," explained Butkow. This, he added, was partly driven by Malcom Segal being chairman of both companies. In addition Butkow is a non-executive director of Grovest. He said Segal will continue to chair Kalon. Another factor driving the rebrand was that when the company was...

  • Innovator taps over R220 000 in support from CSIR grassroots programme

    Nkosana Madi has been able to tap over R220 000 in training and support from a Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) programme that aims to help innovators from townships and rural areas. Madi (pictured above), who is from KwaThema near Springs in Gauteng, has developed a motorised bike, the Fla'va. He says the CSIR, through its Grassroots Innovators Programme, is helping to fund an auto-CAD and design-modelling course he is undertaking. Since July last year the CSIR has also provided him with an engineer to advise him on the kinds of tools he should use to manufacture the bike and has...

  • South Korea seeks to diversify its startup scene with its latest accelerator GAPS

    The South Korean government has opened applications for 30 foreign startups to join its new Global Accelerator Program for Startups (GAPS). The application deadline is 31 July. The 1o-month programme will run from this September to June next year and shortlisted startups will each get a grant of $26 000. Applicants will be assessed on how marketable and scalable their business models are as well as on their team’s makeup. Winning startups will also be provided with office space, equipment and material. The programme will also assist participants in getting startup visas and additional mentorship on how to run a business in Korea. GAPS is...

  • LinkdPro completes projects worth R2.5m on its freelance marketplace

    Members who have used LinkdPro, a South African digital platform for consultants looking for contract and project-based work, have completed projects worth more than R2.5-million in the almost year since its launch, says co-founder and CEO Scelo Makhathini. “We are seeing a growing demand for industry sector experts and management consultants as investment and private equity firms look to these professionals to help assess investment opportunities and up-scale or create value-add teams on-demand,” Makhathini (pictured above, left) told Ventureburn. Makhathini, who refers to the platform as the "Uber for consulting”, added that since the platform's launch in August last year the site's 600 members have generated a combined revenue in...

  • 6 drone startups in South Africa to look out for [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. In this piece we take a look at some interesting startups involved in developing drones and drone software solutions. Aerobotics Aerobotics was started in 2014 by Benji Meltzer (pictured above, left) and James Paterson. Using artificial intelligence (AI), Aerobotics deploys drones to help farmers in South Africa, Australia and the UK to collect data and to detect leaks and determine whether crops are receiving too little...