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Venture capital

  • Kenyan B2B ecommerce platform Sokowatch raises $2m in seed funding

    Nairobi based B2B ecommerce platform Sokowatch has reportedly raised $2-million in a seed round led by Africa-focused early stage venture firm 4Dx Ventures. The investment was first reported by US tech publication TechCrunch yesterday (26 July). Four other venture capital firms: Lynett Capital, Golden Palm Investments, Outlierz Ventures and Village Global were reportedly involved in the round. We are pleased to announce our investment in @Sokowatch. Through #Sokowatch, we establish a platform for multinational companies to partner with informal retailers and satisfy the demands of the African consumer. We wish the #Sokowatch team success. https://t.co/ncYn8OWlRc — Golden Palm VC (@GoldenPalmVC) July 26, 2018 Sokowatch -- which was founded in 2013 by CEO Daniel Yu and COO Josh Middleman -- enables...

  • Kenyan fintech Tulaa closes $627k seed round led by AHL Ventures Partners

    Nairobi-based fintech platform Tulaa has closed a $627 000 seed round led by Canadian impact investor AHL Venture Partners. Tulaa, which was founded by CEO Hillary Miller-Wise in July last year, provides smallholder farmers in Kenya with access to inputs, credit and markets. The startup announced the investment yesterday in a statement on LinkedIn. The seed funding will be used to bankroll Tulaa's expansion in Kenya. In addition the capital will also finance the further development of the startup's tech platform which leverages mobile technology and artificial intelligence to enable farmers to purchase inputs on credit and to market their crops efficiently at harvest time. Tulaa provides small holder...

  • Silicon Valley VC model doesn’t work in Africa, argues Silvertree Holdings man

    The Silicon Valley venture capital (VC) model doesn’t work in Africa and other emerging markets, argues Manuel Koser, the managing director and co-founder of Silvertree Internet Holdings. The funder likes to refer to itself as a "investment growth partner" holding stakes for a longer period in those it invests in than your traditional seven to eight years that most VC funds do. The fund counts Pricecheck.co.za, CompareGuru.co.za, Petheaven.co.za, Faithful-to-nature.co.za, Cybercellar.com, aumax.co, Ucook.co.za and CarZar.co.za among its investments. Koser's latest remarks -- made in an emailed article to Ventureburn -- follow those made in November last year by co-founder Paul Cook. Cook at the time charged...

  • SA fintech JUMO secures first two commitments in new funding round

    SA fintech JUMO has secured equity funding from French development agency Proparco and Finnish development finance company Finnfund -- the first commitments to a new funding round, the startup's founder Andrew Watkins-Ball revealed yesterday. The startup’s platform helps facilitates digital financial services such as credit and savings in emerging markets. The Finnish development took part in a A$24-million debt facility last year (see this earlier story). In a call from London yesterday, Watkins-Ball told Ventureburn that the commitments from Proparco and Finnfund were secured six weeks ago. He declined to reveal the value of the funding, but said each of the organisations have taken a single-digit equity in return for the funding. He said...

  • SA startup Aerobotics secures funding round from Nedbank VC fund [Updated]

    Local corporate and investment bank Nedbank has invested an undisclosed amount in Cape Town based aerial data-analytics startup Aerobotics. The bank was the lead investor in a Series-A round in which several other investors also took part, including a number from Silicon Valley. Among those that took part in the round (see below note at the foot of the story for the remaining list of investors) were online investment marketplace AgFunder and Silicon Valley investor Joe Caruso. Cape Town based venture capital 4Di Capital, which together with the Savannah Fund last year provided seed funding of R8-million to the startup, also took part in the round. Earlier today online business publication Moneyweb...

  • Here’s how startups that assist African women can tap $250k in funding

    Think you startup has the potential to "dramatically improve" the lives of women and girls in Africa? Then you could stand a chance to tap $250 000 in funding from US-impact investor Gray Matters Capital's GMC coLABS early-stage investment portfolio. The portfolio -- which invests up to $250 000 per company in revenue share investments -- issued a statement on Wednesday (11 July) that it is looking to fund six new enterprises every six months. GMC coLABS has two upcoming investment cycles that African social entrepreneurs can apply to. The deadlines for these are 15 September and 15 December. Earlier this week, Gray...

  • DEMO Ventures reveals five countries its new $100m fund for startups will target

    Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. These are the five countries that a new $100-million fund -- to be launched in October by DEMO Ventures -- will focus on, revealed the fund's incoming CEO Tania Ngima yesterday. DEMO Ventures is the investment arm of DEMO Africa, an initiative which runs pitching competitions and aims to serve as a launchpad for innovative African tech. In an email yesterday (11 July) Ngima (pictured above) told Ventureburn that the fund -- which was registered in Kenya in November last year -- will invest in early-stage tech startups across various verticals. These include consumer web and mobile, renewable energy, and...

  • US impact investor invests $250k in Ghanaian startup Redbird Health Tech

    US impact investor Gray Matters Capital has invested up "to $250 000" in Ghanaian medical diagnostics startup Redbird Health Tech. Gray Matters Capital announced the investment -- which was conducted through its GMC coLABS portfolio -- in a statement today (11 July). In a phone call with Ventureburn today (11 July) the startup's co-founder Andrew Quao said he could not disclose the details around how much had been invested, citing an agreement with Gray Matters Capital. He however said the investment "was in the range" of the $250 000 investment ticket sizes that the GMC coLABS usually invests in startups. Ghananian startup Redbird Health Tech...

  • SA web platform Virtual Actuary turns down bid from major insurance firm

    Things are hotting up for SA web platform Virtual Actuary, which allows actuaries to collaborate on projects without the need for expensive offices. The startup last week turned down an investment bid from a major local insurance company. Speaking to Ventureburn today, the platform's co-founder Adi Kaimowitz declined to name the interested insurance company, but said that the firm wanted to take a 65% to 70% stake in his company which he said didn't make sense to the founders. He added however that the parties did not discuss a selling price. Despite turning the bid down on Friday (6 July), Kaimowitz said he has opted to "keep the door...

  • Weetracker African VC report raises questions on definition of tech startups

    Did the first half of 2018 really see African startups net over $168-million in 118 disclosed deals, as a new report claims? The African startups and VC ecosystem report released this week by tech blog Weetracker includes a $47-million deal involving a 14-year-old Kenyan telecommunications company, Cellulant. In addition, the report counts data from several other deals to companies which one could hardly consider to be startups -- such as nine-year old mobile insights firm Terragon Group, eight-year old software company Africa's Talking and seven-year solar power company M-Kopa. Or can one? 'Mentality of innovating on existing ideas' WeeTracker Media founder and CEO Rishabh Lawania maintains these deals and others, should be included in calculating deal flow to African...