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Venture capital

  • SA’s first equity crowdfunding platform to launch later this month

    South Africa's first equity crowdfunding platform will be unveiled by ThundaFund founder Patrick Schofield in a soft launch later this month, Schofield confirmed today. Schofield did not want to comment on the launch of the platform, which is expected to take place in Johannesburg, saying only "at this stage, no comment, treading lightly right now :-)" in an email to Ventureburn. However a source said the soft launch is aimed at creating awareness on the platform to those in the media and to startups in search of equity finance. The platform is expected to initially list six startups or projects, the source said. South Africa's first equity...

  • Kenyan startup M-Shule gets investment from Engineers Without Borders

    Canadian seed-stage investor Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) yesterday announced a cash investment worth $40 000 in Kenyan edtech startup M-Shule. M-Shule is an SMS and web-based learning management platform which makes use of artificial intelligence to design tailored learning experiences. It was designed to handle 144 million primary school students across Sub-Saharan Africa and was launched in January in Nairobi, Kenya by Claire Mongeau. In an email interview with Ventureburn, Mongeau said although they currently operate in Kenya, they intended to expand into East Africa by 2019 and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in subsequent years. "We are excited and thrilled to work...

  • SA might be in recession but opportunities are huge – Alphawave chairman

    While South Africa slipped into a recession in the first quarter of this year, Stellenbosch investor and entrepreneur Frans Meyer says the opportunities for innovative companies locally and abroad are "still huge". Meyer is the group executive chairman of local tech company Alphawave. Meyer, together with Gronum Smith started EMSS in 1994. One of their company's now supplies the receivers that are used on South Africa's Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. In May the parent company EMSS Group changed its name to Alphawave in May. 'The specific opportunities for innovative companies, providing products and services locally, abroad, still huge' Meyer responded to various...

  • Q&A: Focus on creating unicorn for SA is misdirected says Justin Stanford

    Any overt focus by South African ecosystem players on creating the country's first unicorn is a "misdirection of attention" says venture capitalist and founder of 4Di Capital Justin Stanford. With the number of multi-million acquisition deals concluded by South African startups seemingly on the increase of late, Stanford says the country should rather focus on systematically repeatable value creation. 'Focus on headline number of $1-billion valuation is misdirection of attention' It follows the $445-million sale of Kapa Biosystems in 2015 and, more recently, the $123-million GetSmarter deal announced in May. Read more: Are these the 10 all-time biggest exit deals for SA startups? Responding to emailed questions from Ventureburn, Stanford...

  • FSB misses its own crowdfunding deadline

    South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) has missed a June 30 deadline on considering whether to regulate equity crowdfunding or not. A FSB spokesperson in April said the authority had set a date of 30 June by which it planned to rule on whether to craft specific rules or not for equity crowdfunding. It followed the completion of a research report by the FSB on crowdfunding. Read more: South Africa’s FSB to rule on crowdfunding by June 30 However Felicity Mabaso, the FSB's head of department for FAIS Supervision, stressed that the "crowdfunding project" is still a work in progress. "We have scheduled further engagements...

  • Agri-Vie Fund exit from Fairfield sees investors reap over three times in returns

    Investors in the $100-million Agri-Vie Fund I have scored big with the fund today announcing its first exit, from one of South Africa’s most respected dairy companies Fairfield Dairy. A private investment trust linked to the Lang family which founded the diary has agreed to buy Agri-Vie’s stake in the KwaZulu-Natal-based dairy producer. While the fund would not disclosed the sale figure, Agri-Vie co-founder and managing partner Herman Marais said the return on the investment exceeded the fund's objectives -- which is usually to return to investors between 2.5 to 3 times of the invested capital. The fund's initial investment of about $4-million in Fairfield diaries was made in 2009. Marais said...

  • Private equity returns up a whopping 123% in 2016 reveals Savca report

    South African private equity capital returns to investors were up 123.2% last year to R18.3-billion -- up from R8.2-billion in 2015, reveals the Savca 2017 Private Equity Industry Survey, released today. Tanya van Lill, CEO of the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (Savca), said between 2015 and last year, trade sales were reported as the most popular exit route in value terms while sales to management were the most popular by volume. “The average proceeds per exit was R176.3-million in 2016, compared to R48.1-million in 2015. Realisations (returns to investors) in 2016 reflected a times money multiple of 2.0, an increase...

  • Drive Revenue gets multi-million rand funding injection from HAVAÍC

    Cape Town tech startup Drive Revenue has landed an undisclosed amount from HAVAÍC, the venture capital (VC) fund announced yesterday. HAVAÍC executive director Grant Rock said in a press release that the funding will be used to help Drive Revenue to roll out its cloud-enabled financial management system for legal practices. Speaking to Ventureburn, Rock said he could not disclose the amount in funding invested in Drive Revenue, saying only that it was "several million" rands and that it was made available from individual investors offshore. Rock said the idea is to help Drive Revenue to secure a round of equity investment later this year. 'We have resellers coming...

  • Grotech fund set to announce first three deals

    Grotech, a venture capital (VC) fund set up under the 12J VC tax incentive, is set to announce its first three investments, said fund manager Clive Butkow speaking to Ventureburn. Butkow (pictured above) said the three three deals are all in technology products developed by existing companies. These are: A tech app for a fast moving consumer goods company. A social-media influencer platform, which already has revenue of about R17-million and employs eight staff. The platform has a presence in the UK and looking to expand to other overseas markets. An existing business involved in booking activities in the travel sector. Butkow expected several jobs to be created...

  • SA SME Fund will commence with due diligence in July says CEO

    The R1.5-billion SA SME Fund will commence with initial fund screening due diligence from next month (July 2017), the fund's CEO Quinton Dicks said today. In April, Dicks told Ventureburn that he plans to finalise the recruitment of his initial five-member team by 1 June before making investments into approved funds. The fund will invest in funds which will then invest in high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises. In response to questions from Ventureburn on whether any funds had been disbursed, Dicks said the initial team members had all been appointed with the final appointment joining on 1 July 2017. "We have not committed to any funds...