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Venture capital

  • Microsoft launches angel fund and incubator: Bing Fund

    Could the next Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest emerge from the Bing Fund? Microsoft hopes so. Officially announced late last week, Microsoft's new "angel fund with an incubator program" is "founded by entrepreneurs, sponsored by Bing, and backed by the experience, expertise, and resources of Microsoft." US-based early-stage companies will get an opportunity to work with Microsoft for about four months, and will receive funding through a convertible note (a loan that converts into equity), special access to Microsoft technology, support from Microsoft engineers and marketers, and introductions to investors. Microsoft has official presences in emerging market countries around the world and...

  • FNB Private Clients and AngelHub partnership heats up SA startup scene

    Readers of Ventureburn are probably well aware of AngelHub, the business angel investment group that pools funding, expertise and networks from a range of early stage investors to foster startup growth. AngelHub has recently extended its network by partnering with FNB Private Clients, First National Bank's specialist banking solution that works with wealthy entrepreneurs, business professionals and others to increase their asset values. So basically, FNB Private Clients help make rich people, richer. The...

  • 4 reasons big-time VCs are investing in emerging markets

    With technological advancements in developing nations speeding the growth rate of high impact tech start-ups, many American venture capital firms are now looking further afield to expand their investment portfolios. But what is driving this trend? 1. Lack of local funding There’s certainly no shortage of innovative ideas coming out of emerging market countries. Africa, China, Russia and many others are growing steadily, and are producing an ever-increasing number of tech success stories, many with an extensive global reach. However, the potential for innovation in these countries has been historically hampered by a lack of access to funding, based on an entrenched...

  • Y Combinator: Investors should back the jockey not the horse

    Y Combinator, a leading seed investment incubator, recently announced that it would be accepting startup applications for this years fund from startup founders WITHOUT an idea. Here's how the incubator describes itself on its website: Y Combinator does seed funding for startups. Seed funding is the earliest stage of venture funding. It pays your expenses while you're getting started. Some companies may need no more than seed funding. Others will go through several rounds. There is no right answer. How much funding you need depends on the kind of company you start. It appears that the technology investment market arrived...

  • The hows and the whats — 5 tough questions VCs ask

    Over the past six months I have spoken with a wide variety of people who have shown, in varying degrees, interest in investing in my company. Many of these VCs have specific ways that they conduct a call, interview or meeting. Many of them have lead me down long and wasteful due diligence processes, many have been kind, some have been blunt and harsh but all have been pedantic and specific about the types of questions they ask. I have found that, on the whole, the questions are standard and the steps straight-forward but there are always the tough questions...

  • Why you should network when raising funds for your tech venture

    The value of attending networking events is often hard to quantify, as it takes valuable time, but it is worth the effort especially if you are considering starting your own business; building an innovative product or trying to raise funding. Funders invest in companies and founders they know Although we receive many proposals through our website at the VC firm I'm part of, all of the deals that we have concluded (i.e. invested in) to date, have been sourced through our networks. An essential part of our business is the relationships that we’ve been building and nurturing with various suppliers and...

  • AngelHub: Investors come together to foster startup growth

    You may believe tech creates jobs, you may believe it destroys jobs. Whatever the case, we know that in the tech world we are seeing entrepreneurial activity like never before. It’s not surprising that there is so much written about venture capital and startups in the tech world, and that there are so many incubators popping up Enter AngelHub. Launched in September of last year, AngelHub connects early stage investors with capital seekers....

  • How do VCs get their money? They pitch too

    Every two or three years, VC's gear up to raise money for their next fund. They create a pitch deck, come up with a list of investors actively investing in venture capital funds, make sure they get introductions to them from trusted sources -- or go direct if they already have the relationship, and pitch the investment strategy and how they plan to provide better returns than the industry average. Sound familiar? For established funds with a solid track record (an established team with a specific investment style and realised returns on previous investments) it can be as easy...

  • VC funding is not a blank cheque with no strings attached

    Receiving venture capital (VC) funding is a significant accomplishment for any entrepreneur as it takes months of hard work and negotiation. Some entrepreneurs believe that once they have secured a funding commitment from an investor, they will have carte blanche with the cash and can report back to their investors as and when it suits them. Nothing could be further from reality. A VC will not write you a cheque for the full amount allowing you to spend it as you please. An early-stage funder will typically fund your business in stages. This means is that you will get funding for...

  • Steve Jobs would never succeed in today’s Silicon Valley

    I recently watched a documentary on Steve Jobs called "One Last Thing". It was well done, mixing a fair bit of the good, the bad, and the ugly about the life of the man. There was also a lot of praise for the "marketing genius" of Steve Jobs. Then it struck me: If Steve Jobs were starting out today in Silicon Valley, he would have trouble getting funding because he's a "marketeer" -- not an engineer. Venture capitalists(VC) generally won't fund startups without a tech lead. For example, Mark Suster, a popular VC blogger, writes on his blog "Both Sides of the...