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Venture capital

  • Cryptocurrencies won’t see adoption like credit cards did – Hannes Van Rensburg

    It's a been a torrid week for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, following China's decision on Monday to ban all initial coin offerings. Now former South African entrepreneur Hannes van Rensburg has entered the fray by questioning the sustainability of cryptocurrencies for wider use by consumers. Van Rensburg in 2011 sold his payments platform Fundamo to Visa six years ago for $110-million. Speaking at a StartupGrind Cape Town event at the Cape Town Stadium last night, he said cryptocurrrencies that utilise the blockchain won't see the same kind of adoption as credit or debit cards because of the impracticalities of settling payments on the blockchain. “The way that cryptocurrency has...

  • SA SME Fund is not aimed at venture capital sector, says CEO

    South Africa's R1.5-billion SA SME Fund is not aimed at boosting the country's nascent venture capital (VC) sector, but rather at helping already profitable mid-sized companies to grow and create jobs, says the fund's CEO Quinton Dicks. “It’s not a venture capital fund – it’s not the SA Venture Capital Fund,” said Dicks (pictured above) in a call yesterday with Ventureburn. In the call he revealed that the fund had commenced with screening funding partners and is likely by the end of this year to complete due diligence work on five funds it plans to co-invest with. In a recent interaction with Dicks, tech entrepreneurs voiced their concern...

  • ‘SA Reserve Bank offers no protection for those that take part in ICOs’

    As China's ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) has lead to renewed concerns over the use of cryptocurrencies, South Africa's Reserve Bank says it offers "no recourse or protection" to consumers involved in ICOs. In response to questions from Ventureburn on whether it is concerned on the legality of ICOs following their banning in China and move to regulate them in the US, the Reserve Bank said in a statement to Ventureburn that it has taken note of regulatory developments surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs). "In South Africa, cryptocurrencies are not guaranteed by the SARB (SA Reserve Bank), hence offer no recourse or...

  • SA startup ProsperiProp delays ICO following China’s ban on token offerings

    South African startup ProsperiProp has delayed by one week its PROPX initial coin offerings (ICO) -- which it planned to run on Friday, 8 September -- following China's decision to ban ICOs in China and the US's moves last month to begin regulating ICOs. The ICO, which will be aimed largely at international investors looking to invest in international property and will use a cryptocurrency created by the company called “PROPX”, will now be run next week Friday (15 September). 'Based on this current market volatility, we have decided to allow the storm to pass before launching our ICO' It follows an announcement last month by ProsperiProp founder and...

  • SA VC firm Knife Capital expands to UK in deal with former rugby star Bob Skinstad

    Venture capital (VC) firm Knife Capital has expanded into London after introducing UK-based Draper-Gain Investments as a strategic investor. It follows Knife Capital's management buyout last week from JSE-listed African Dawn Capital. The London office will accelerate the international growth of companies within Knife Capital’s investment portfolio. Draper-Gain is a family office with significant global resources including existing investments in South Africa. The transaction was facilitated by entrepreneur and angel investor Bob Skinstad (pictured above, right) who is Knife Capital’s partner in KNF Ventures, a SA Revenue Services (Sars) Section 12J VC company. South African 12J schemes were created to promote early stage capital...

  • Crackdown on ICOs only a temporary setback believes Bitcoin Foundation head

    China’s announcement today that it has banned all initial coin offerings (ICOs) might be “unexpected”, says Bitcoin Foundation executive director Llew Claasen but is only a temporary setback for startups looking to raise capital through ICOs he adds. He said the decision by Chinese authorities to ban ICOs rather than to regulate them as the US is moving to do, is simply another way to "deal with it” and that going forward regulators are likely to gain a clearer understanding on what can and cannot be done. He added however that it would be “very unfortunate” for startups in need of early-stage venture capital (VC) finance...

  • SA lending platform Prodigy Finance chose London for ‘pro-business regulation’

    Cape Town founder of multi-million dollar lending platform Prodigy Finance Cameron Stevens says the "pro-business" regulation of the UK's Financial Conduct Authority was key in his decision 10 years ago to set up his platform in London 10 years ago. Through the platform Prodigy Finance lends to students globally via an Irish Stock Exchange listed bond. Last month the company announced a R3.19-billion fundraise from venture capital firm Index Ventures, with participation from Balderton Capital and AlphaCode and a global investment bank. South Africa has yet to develop regulation on peer-to-peer lending or equity crowdfunding, while the UK has of late been praised for crafting rules that are fair and balanced. Read more: SA founder of Fintech platform...

  • Former Rocket Internet man tells how he cloned firms, from Cape Town to Bangkok

    Cape Town born Tauriq Brown always wanted to be an international businessman. He may claim to be an entrepreneur. But the 28-year-old former Rocket Internet employee is just one of the hundreds employed by massive venture-builder companies to clone and run companies for them. As a venture builder, Brown (pictured middle, above) has been involved in starting and running at least five ventures, on behalf of venture-builder companies Rocket Internet and Mountain Partners, which is headquartered in Switzerland. This has taken him to Nigeria, Vietnam and now to Thailand, where he is employed as managing director for 15-year old Thai lingerie company Kyra Mode. Yet he admits he still draws a...

  • SA startup Pineapple secures R5.2m to take on short-term insurance market

    SA insurtech startup Pineapple has secured R5.2-million in seed funding from Lireas Holdings, the strategic investment arm of Hannover-Re Group Africa, in return for a 25% stake in the business. The startup, which is based in Johannesburg, made the announcement yesterday to Ventureburn. The funding will help the company to bring their innovative insurance offering to market by funding marketing, development and staff costs. Pineapple co-founder and former actuarial science graduate Matthew Elan Smith, 24 (pictured above right, with co-founders developer Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube, 26 and accountant Marnus van Heerden, 26) said he and his fellow co-founders are in the process of signing...

  • SA eating out app Feastfox nets $175 000 from Silicon Valley investors

    Cape Town eating-out app Feastfox today announced that it had successfully closed an angel fundraising round, raising $175,000 (R2.3 million) primarily from Silicon Valley-based angels and venture-capital (VC) firms. A mobile startup out of Stanford University -- with a presence in Silicon Valley, Cape Town and Budapest -- Feastfox claims to allow diners to “book now, eat now”. The funding is from angels and VCs including Co-Creation Capital, Dorm Room Fund and top angel investors such as Larry Kubal, founder and managing partner of Labrador Ventures, a seed stage-focused Silicon Valley venture fund with more than $200-million under management. Feastfox co-founder, Cape Town local, Stuart Murless (pictured above)...