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Startups

  • Lagos is perfect backdrop for startups says Google Launchpad Accelerator man

    Lagos, Nigeria provides "the perfect backdrop" for tech startups on Google's Launchpad Accelerator Africa to build, collaborate and accelerate. So, says Folagbade Olatunji-David, the tech company's head of startup success and services for Launchpad Accelerator Africa. Google's first class of 12 startups for its three-month Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme kicked off on Monday last week (19 March). Olatunji-David said Nigeria's thriving startup ecosystem and the country's formidable economy -- one of the largest in Africa -- are what has attracted Google to hosting its first Launchpad Accelerator Africa there. The country has about 90 million internet users, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission, the highest on the...

  • Yoco had month of capital left in bank before we closed deal – Katlego Maphai

    SA fintech startup Yoco was living on the edge in the two years it took to conclude the company's first funding round, says co-founder and CEO Katlego Maphai. In a tell-all session at FuckUp Nights Cape Town -- held in Cape Town on Tuesday evening (20 March) and hosted by Aspiring Black Leaders and Cape Town Office -- Maphai detailed the struggle he and his three co-founders faced before they were able to clinch the startup's first round of funding. The deal, which involved an undisclosed amount in a round led by US-based Quona Capital and Netherlands-based Velocity Capital, was announced in March last year. Read more: Yoco concludes...

  • Q&A: Zuma relative, business consultant now heads Startup Grind Pretoria

    A 34-year-old businessman and business consultant who counts former president Jacob Zuma as his great uncle, now runs Startup Grind Pretoria. Startup Grind is a global movement which hosts regular talks with entrepreneurs. Pretoria is one of 13 cities in South Africa that have chapters. "The question about JZ is one I get just about daily," says Monde Zuma (pictured above with mLab Southern Africa CEO Derrick Kotze), who adds that he is accustomed to call the former president "grandfather". He took over from Guillaume De Smedt in November, when De Smidt (who also ran the Cape Town chapters for some years) moved...

  • How wiGroup founder switched gears to build growth company around people

    Even before a recent shared dinner, wiGroup founder Bevan Ducasse has sought to follow entrepreneur Richard Branson's advice on creating a company where staff can thrive. Ducasse recently met with the Virgin founder in the Cape Winelands town of Franchoek, before later inking a deal which saw the Virgin Group make an undisclosed investment in the Cape Town based mobile software firm. The deal was announced yesterday by wiGroup. Read more: SA fintech wiGroup secures funding from Virgin, Smollan to boost global expansion "He (Branson) took a liking to the company and the technology we're building," said Ducasse. "I was fortunate to have dinner with him," he says. Branson,...

  • Challenges women entrepreneurs face are more visible says ImpactHER founder

    The challenges women entrepreneurs in Africa face when accessing finance -- though not unique to women -- are often more visible in women-led businesses believes Efe Ukala, an investment lawyer and founder of non-profit ImpactHER. These says she says include financial management and putting in place good governance. "Based on my observation while advising on investors transactions arising out of east, west and southern Africa, I believe that these issues are common in most African countries, although cloaked in slightly different colours," says Ukala (pictured above). Her organisation ImpactHER -- which Ukala launched last year -- aims to train African female entrepreneurs scale their businesses and...

  • Here’s how to save your company from looming CIPC deregistration

    The headache of waking up one day only to find out your company does not exist is one that can be easily avoided. Many small business owners might not be aware that the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) -- formerly known as Cipro -- issued a notice on 12 December 2017, via their website stating that certain companies that had failed to submit annual returns to CIPC as is required by the Companies Act would face deregistration next Friday (2 February 2018). This applies all entities registered with the CIPC be they private, external,  incorporated or public companies as well as non-profit...

  • Five things I learnt from Jack Ma and why Africa’s tech future is bright

    Last November I was selected as one of 25 African entrepreneurs to join the eFounders Initiative Entrepreneurship Training Programme. The programme, titled "Shaping Champions for the New Economy", is an initiative by Alibaba founder Jack Ma and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). In the two-week programme the founders and top level executives at Alibaba shared the highlights of their 18-year history, discussing both their successes and failures and what it took to become the biggest retail company in the world. The absolute highlight was a lecture given by Jack Ma. Here are my five key learnings and takeaways and why...

  • 8 Gauteng 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. The 2017 Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey powered by Telkom Futuremakers found that though the Western Cape is still the most popular region in South Africa in which to run a tech startup, it's losing ground to the country's richest province -- Gauteng. In this piece we take a look at eight Gauteng-based startups to keep an eye on in 2018. Pineapple This insurtech startup in August last...

  • GoMetro wants to help firms generate millions from freeing up parking spaces

    Each day thousands of Cape Town commuters edge their way to work in a snake of traffic that winds beneath the slopes of Table Mountain into a crowded city centre. Many will end or begin their daily commute in a parking space for which they, together with their employers can easily pay well over a R1000 a month for. This got GoMetro founder and former civil engineer Justin Coetzee thinking. "Why does it (your car) stand there all day, taking up space and just like ruining the view, killing us with fumes, killing us with unsafe driving. I mean we're addicted to cars," he charges. Coetzee reckons however...

  • Here are the SA fintech startups to watch in 2018 [Opinion]

    Fintech continues to surprise with little to touch the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in 2017.  This will continue in 2018 and I make some predictions based on what we see happening globally and what we see taking place with our members at AlphaCode, a Rand Merchant Investments club for fintech startup entrepreneurs. Bitcoin At the end of 2016 I predicted that 2017 was going to be the year that the world would embrace bitcoin. I thought it would go mainstream but I had no idea how mainstream it would become. We have seen the bitcoin price increase from $1000 at the beginning...