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Venture capital

  • SA accelerator boasts startup success, R65m in revenue generated

    Adding weight to its belief that business growth can be engineered, South African VC firm Knife Capital has just revealed "explosive" results of its second Grindstone accelerator programme. On average, the 12 participating companies collectively grew revenue by R65-million while creating more jobs. The programme follows an already impressive Grindstone 2014 which climaxed in the acquisition of radar startup iKubu by Garmin. Grindstone 2015 had a tough act to follow, no doubt. "The success of our first programme meant that we've now set a precedent for ourselves, and we didn't want to be a once-off hit," said Andrea Bӧhmert of Knife...

  • Investors’ roadshow to showcase African talent, adventures

    German and Mauritian-based investors' roadshow Invnture is launching its first trip this coming March, showcasing startups and adventures that South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe have to offer. Filled with pitches as well as cultural activities, the roadshow is meant to change the way investors think about companies by giving them an "on-the-ground" experience. The roadtrip will introduce investors to over 25 investment-hungry startups, that range from tech, tourism, agriculture and the mining industry. It will be targeting companies valued between US$50 000 and US$500 000. For a price tag of €7 800 (nearly US$8 500), participants will also be treated to a...

  • 7 key lessons I’ve learnt about raising capital from VCs [Part 1]

    The following is an adapted version of a talk done by Clive Butkow from Grovest at the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Butkow boasts 28 years of management consulting experience at Accenture. Currently non-executive director of Grovest, he is also supporting and mentoring technology businesses, assisting them in driving growth. I want to share with you what I have experienced from sitting on both sides of the table on how you increase your chances of raising capital for your business. One of the most frequent questions I get as a mentor to entrepreneurs...

  • Report: over $185m invested in Africa’s tech startups in 2015

    Tech startups in Africa raised an estimated total of over US$185-million in 2015, according to a recent report. The report, titled African Tech Startups Funding Report 2015 by startup news site Disrupt Africa, polled hundreds of startups, investors, hubs and other ecosystem players over the course of two months. It found that 125 tech startups secured a total of US$185 785 500 during the course of 2015. To little surprise, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya made up the bulk of the overall figure. In South Africa, 45 startups raised funding, 36% of the overall total. An estimated 24% of deal value was...

  • VC to pump $10m into South African, African startups [update]

    Update: This article has been updated to include additional commentary from PriceCheck founder and CEO Kevin Tucker. Cape Town-based venture capital firm Silvertree Internet Holdings has announced a US$10-million investment destined for South African and African startups in 2016. The pan-African tech investment firm and incubator seemed to have had good year in 2015, claiming that it recorded 330% growth per annum revenue for its startups. The firm has invested in startups like Faithful to Nature, Click n Compare, WineCo and more recently We Are Monsters and PriceCheck. Silvertree together with entrepreneur Kevin Tucker acquired the popular price-comparison website, PriceCheck, from global media giant Naspers...

  • The year of mobile? 9 of Africa’s most exciting startup investments of 2015

    If you ever doubted the significance of mobile innovations in Africa, then this year's developments are likely change your mind once and for all. Not only has 2015 been a good year for investments in startups across the continent (the most we've seen in South Africa thus far), millions of dollars are flowing towards mobile innovations. From micro-jobbing platforms to peer-to-peer payment solutions, more and more investors are growing confident in the potential of the many interesting mobile solutions Africa has to offer. But apart from smartphone applications, companies like M-Kopa and Off Grid Electric are fast growing in popularity....

  • Kenya’s mobile customer care platform Ongair rakes in funding [updated]

    The Hong Kong-founded venture capital firm and accelerator, Nest, has invested an undisclosed amount into Kenya's mobile customer care platform Ongair. With hundreds of clients around the world, the one-year-old startup is now looking to expand its services into China. Ongair is behind a web-based dashboard that enables businesses to engage with their customers on instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram and WeChat. "Our goal is to help businesses serve customers and we’ll use the additional resources to support growth, expand strategically into Asian markets and deliver great product to delight our customers around the world," says Trevor Kimenye, CEO...

  • 4 tips startups need to keep in mind when raising first round funding

    Being a startup founder can be downright challenging. Whether it is developing a sound business plan, building a team, or acquiring customers, you will be dealing with a sheer number of hurdles. Moreover, if you’re not backed by an elite accelerator, getting your startup off the ground can be an uphill battle. Raising money for your company requires you to think strategically. Failure to take care of this aspect can lead you in the "valley of death" -- a term used in the startup circles representing the failure experienced in acquiring venture capital for a startup. In fact, according to Josh...

  • Grotech: this new fund aims to pump R100m into disruptive SA tech

    The South African tech scene saw some pretty big exits in 2015, including radar startup iKubu's January sale to Garmin and WooThemes' exit to WordPress for an estimated R300-million. And with those exits comes increased investor appetite. The latest player aiming to get its hands on a slice of the tech pie is Grotech, a newly established fund from VC company Grovest, which is looking to raise as much as R100-million to invest an average of R5-million to R10-million in high-impact South African tech startups. Read more: 3 ways investors can navigate Africa’s mobile markets Headquartered in Johannesburg, the fund...

  • Most startup founders fear the tech industry is in a bubble, survey finds

    Over the past two years there's been a lot of talk regarding "unicorns", or startups carrying US$1-billion valuations. While the buzzword still makes for catchy headlines, skeptics fear that there is a bubble developing within the tech industry. This belief has been reiterated in a new report by US-based First Round Capital, which surveyed 500 VC-backed startup founders. The majority (73%) believe that we are, in fact, in a bubble or witnessing over-speculation of the tech industry. Specifically, industries such as wearables and bitcoin are believed to be overhyped, while autonomous vehicles and mobile are underhyped. Prospects for the VC industry overall don't...