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Venture capital

  • From banker to VC: what I’ve learned from SA’s startup space so far

    In 2013, Michael Jordaan stepped down as CEO of FNB after 12 years of working for the financial institution. Jordaan spearheaded an era of change and creativity at FNB, which in 2012 was named the world's most innovative bank. He could've walked into any boardroom in the country and would have been offered a job there and then. Instead, he decided to go into the often-risky, sometimes rewarding world of technology-focused Venture Capital. In the post below, he explains what the past two years have taught him about the nature of South Africa's startup space. I don’t want...

  • Convergence Partners announces $20m investment to stimulate tech in West Africa

    Pan-African investment management firm Convergence Partners has announced an investment of US$20-million for a minority stake in Venture Garden Nigeria (VGN), a tech investment holding company operating in the West African country. VGN is dedicated to support companies that provide innovative, data-driven, end-to-end technology platforms. Its portfolio currently consists of education company EduTech, software developer Splashers Technologies and gifting platform SureGifts, among many others. Read more: SureGifts is Nigeria’s premier gift card startup targeting the corporate world Founded in 2006, Convergence Partners is an investment management firm focused on the telecommunications, media and technology sector in Africa. The firm has played leading roles...

  • African Angel bootcamps to mobilise early-stage investors

    By partnering with a range of prominent industry influencers, the African Business Angel Network hopes to mobilise early-stage investors this year. The initiative is running a series of Angel Investor Bootcamps to be held in some of Africa's most buzzing cities -- Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town. In run-up to one of the continent's largest pan-African startup pitch events, DEMO Africa, the bootcamps will consist of a master-class, expert sessions, the presentation of research material and in-depth case studies. The events are organised by the US State Department, VC4Africa, Intercontinental Trust and the LIONS Africa Partnership. Lagos, Nigeria -- 31 July The master-class will be conducted...

  • Nigerian VC fund 440 announces Deal Weekend Lagos

    This August, Nigeria-focused venture capital fund 440 will host a 24-hour event called Deal Weekend Lagos where startups will compete to receive equity investment of between US$100 000 and US$250 000. The event has so far confirmed the following investors: Kresten Buch of 88mph, Chika Nwobi of L5Lab, Elo Umeh of Twinpine Mobile and Bastian Gotter of iRoko. Buch, who's also the co-Founder of 440, explains that the initiative generally looks to support small teams that lack experience and the network necessary to quickly grow their businesses. He adds: "The selected startups will be at the frontier of the evolving mobile/web industry...

  • Bitcoin startup BitX raises $4m from Naspers

    Emerging market bitcoin exchange startup BitX has just raised a nice fat US$4-million in Series A from PayU -- a subsidiary of media and internet powerhouse Naspers. Existing investor Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group also participated in the round. The fresh capital comes after the startup secured over US$800 000 from a group of international investors late last year. Founded by Marcus Swanepoel, Francois Paul, Carel van Wyk, Pieter Heyns and Timothy Stranex, BitX launched in 2013 with a mission to spread the adoption of digital currency in emerging markets. It's currently headquartered in Singapore with additional offices in Jakarta and...

  • Hong Kong VC firm Nest expands to Nairobi to support continent’s talents

    Hong Kong VC and incubation firm Nest has recently announced its expansion into Africa, connecting local talent with Asian investors abroad. Founded by Simon Squibb in 2010, Nest is described as Hong Kong’s only private, full service startup ecosystem. The firm has also partnered with major Asian banks such as DBS Bank as well as insurance provider AIA Group Limited. Located at Kenya’s popular co-working space, Nairobi Garage, Nest Nairobi is headed up by managing partner Aaron Fu who previously worked as regional digital strategy lead for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank. Fu says in a recent press release that the office...

  • 4 reasons investors should seriously look to Africa for tech

    In recent years, Africa has become a hotbed of technological innovation. The spread of mobile technology has spurred new companies, such as delivery service MamaMikes, which allows dispersed family members to send gifts, and energy provider M-Kopa Solar, which now provides energy to a reported 150 000 homes across East Africa. This shift has transformed Africa’s investment landscape. African developers will continue generating cutting-edge technology in the coming years, and investors who jump on these new opportunities will reap the rewards. Here are four reasons to source your next tech product from Africa: 1. Mobile Tech Boom Smartphone penetration continues to increase as...

  • On the hunt for Holy Grails, Unicorns, VC funding and other fabled creatures

    This article may be a little controversial but it is part of my mission to guide our entrepreneurs to success -- and if we can stop our founders from wasting time doing things that will never bear fruit, then we are doing our job. New venture founders are massively overly focused on VC-sourced funding – which may initially seem appropriate as lack of money is a problem that most startups face at sometime. However, there is undoubtedly a disproportionate amount of time and resource dedicated to seeking VC funding which will remain for most, a holy grail. In the UK there...

  • 5 key steps to getting your startup ready for funding

    It’s the age of the startup. Technology is enabling us to solve more problems at a greater speed than ever before. Solutions to big enough problems often have commercial value -- leading to new enterprises being founded. New companies are formed and funded faster than ever before. Gaining access to the lifeblood of seed capital is critical for any high growth startup. You need to be fast to market with enough resources to develop your product, gain traction and unlock value. But a strong team, good infrastructure and market access all create a burn that cannot be bootstrapped for long. So you...

  • Nigerian accommodation booking site Hotels.ng just raised $1.2m

    Nigerian accommodation booking site Hotels.ng has just raised US$1.2-million in funding from global firms Omidyar Group and EchoVC, TechCabal reports. Founded by Mark Essien in 2012, Hotels.ng today is said to have over 7 000 hotel listings and claims to be the largest online service of its kind in West Africa. While company has been turning profit ever since late 2014, the investment comes at a time when Germany’s Rocket Internet-backed competitor Jovago is hot on its tail, keen to take over the online hotel listing space from East Africa to West Africa and everything in between. Read more: Hotels.ng: solving the...