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Venture capital

  • What Edge Growth looks for when investing in entrepreneurs [Q&A]

    The ability to manage complicated tasks and still stay focused, deep industry experience, a strong work ethic and the ability to take advice from others -- these are some of the key characteristics that funders look for in a tech entrepreneur before investing. So says, Edge Growth's Janice Johnston. Edge Growth invests in high growth small enterprises, and is capitalised using corporate companies' enterprise and supplier development spend under the BEE codes. According to figures provided by Johnston (pictured above), who is Edge Growth's chief executive for the funder's growth equity portfolio, the fund manager currently manages two funds that target...

  • Spartan SME Finance secures R100m from SA SME Fund for R600m fund

    SA small business financier Spartan SME Finance has secured a R100-million investment from The SA SME Fund to anchor its R600-million debt financing fund, with half of the investment or R50-million, to be channelled to black African owned businesses. The funding will be immediately available to Spartan SME Finance to boost its lending to SMEs. The debt fund is expected to finance at least 100 small and medium sized enterprises every year. Earlier this month the SA SME Fund announced that it had committed R110-million to Cape Town based hardware tech incubator Savant, with 50% of this amount earmarked for black...

  • SA startup Aerobotics secures R29m in funding from Paper Plane Ventures

    SA aerial-data analytics startup Aerobotics announced this evening that it has received R29-million ($2-million) from local venture capital (VC) company Paper Plane Ventures in its latest round of funding. Aerobotics' various software products help farmers – by way of a web-based and artificial-intelligence (AI) enabled web platform and app – to scout and find areas of their vineyards of orchards that are underperforming because of pests or other problems. The latest funding follows a $2-million round led by Nedbank in May last year (the deal was announced in July 2018 -- see here) and an R8-million round in 2017 from SA VC 4Di...

  • JustLaundry to use novel way to raise R7.2m on local crowdfunding site

    Johannesburg based crowdfunding platform The People’s Fund today announced that it offering customers the opportunity to own up to 40% of a laundromat company by simply buying credit to use their service. The laundromat JustLaundry currently operates in Gauteng and is looking to expand to the entire country by setting up a franchise in each province. The business is looking for R7.2-million to finance this expansion. It's raising the funding in an innovative way -- by getting customers to purchase credits that they can then use to pay to access the laundromat's laundry delivery services. The platform’s co-founder Luyanda Jafta calls it...

  • SA startup Lula launches R2.5m Uprise.Africa crowdfunding campaign

    SA mobility startup Lüla announced today that it will seek to raise R2.5-million in return for giving up an 8.5% equity stake, through local equity crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa. The campaign will run for 90 days and already 10 investors -- who were alerted ahead of time of the campaign of the equity crowdfunding's database of interested investors -- have contributed R81 000. This is Uprise.Africa's third campaign. While a campaign run last year to raise R3-million to fund the publication of more African literature flopped after the campaign failed to meet its fund-raising target (see this story) -- another to fund Drifter Brewery,...

  • Egyptian trucking marketplace Trella raises $600k in pre-seed round

    Cairo-based trucking marketplace Trella has raised $600 000 in a pre-seed round led by Egyptian venture capital (VC) firm Algebra Ventures. In a statement yesterday (24 February) announcing the investment, Algebra Ventures said other investors including Esther Dyson and Jambu Palaniappan also participated in the round. Trella was founded last year by CEO and former Uber executive Omar Hagrass (pictured above, centre) and CTO Pierre Saad (pictured above, right). Trella was founded last year by CEO Omar Hagrass and CTO Pierre Saad The startup claims its platform -- which connects shippers with carriers -- reduces costs for shippers by improving...

  • Microtraction looking to invest outside Nigeria says partner Dayo Koleowo

    Lagos-based early-stage investment platform Microtraction is looking to do "some non-Nigerian" deals this year, its former principal investment officer and newly appointed partner Dayo Koleowo has revealed. Last year Microtraction -- which was founded in 2017 by Yele Bademosi (who was last month appointed as a director at Binance Labs) -- has so far invested in only Nigerian startups. It's made eight investments to date. The platform ordinarily invests $65 000 in two stages. The first investment is usually about $15 000 in exchange for a 7.5% equity stake. This is followed by an additional $50 000 convertible note at...

  • Sars Section 12J VC companies –  hype versus substance [Opinion]

    There are many legal ways for South African taxpayers to reduce their tax burden, and investing in a SA Revenue Service (Sars) approved Section 12J venture capital company (VCC) is one of them. However, opinions are divided on the hype of a tax break versus the substance of sustainable investment returns. The 101 on Section 12J Section 12J is not an asset class in itself, but rather a provision in the Income Tax Act that was introduced in 2009 to address one of the main challenges to the economic growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) --  access to equity...

  • Kenya’s mSurvey to take on Nigeria after securing follow-on funding from Proparco

    Nairobi-based mobile survey platform mSurvey is looking to expand operations and take on the Nigerian market after the firm's recent announcement that it secured follow-on funding from French development finance institution Proparco. The company’s consumer experience and feedback platform — which uses cloud computing connected directly to mobile network operators — enables businesses and organisations to connect with, and receive structured feedback directly from customers. The firm was founded in 2012 by Kenfield Griffith (pictured above) and CTO Louis Majanja, and in April last year announced it had raised a $3.5-million Series A round led by venture capital firm TLcom Capital (see this story). ...

  • French investor I&P says IPAE 2 fund ‘on track’ after €25-million second closing

    French impact investment group Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) says its new fund is on track to raise between €80-million and €90-million after last week having made a second closing of €25-million. I&P's Afrique Entrepreneurs 2 (IPAE 2) was launched in 2017, aims to invest equity and quasi-equity in between 30 to 40 startups and small businesses in West and Central Africa, East Africa and Madagascar by 2022. In a statement last Tuesday (12 February), I&P said new investors had joined the fund, with the new closing. These include the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries (BIO), the Dutch Good Growth...

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