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Venture capital

  • SA drone startup UAV Industries to enter three more countries after $499 000 deal

    Hot on the heels of securing R6.84-million ($499 000) in funding from local investors Glenheim Venture Capital Company, South African drone operator UAV Industries plans to expand into at least three neighbouring countries over the next 18 months. The announcement of the deal was made yesterday by Glenheim Venture Capital Company, but was concluded three months ago. Speaking to Ventureburn today, UAVI Industries chairman Peter Venn said he could not confirm the amount in equity taken by Glenheim, explaining that the figure is based on future deliverables such as turnover and profit. Venn said the drone sector is a "highly regulated" environment and that it would take time...

  • Here are the 15 SA tech startups that have netted $137.7m in 2017 deals

    South African tech startups have concluded deals valued at over $137.7-million so far this year, shows data tracked by Ventureburn. Ventureburn has tracked and reported on 15 deals valued at over $137.7-million to date in 2017 -- including the $123-million acquisition in May of Cape Town startup GetSmarter by US listed company 2U. In all 12 of these deals involved Cape Town based startups, with one each based in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Stellenbosch. If one excludes the GetSmarter deal, 14 tech startups have been able to raise $14.7-million this year (see the below graphic). In a further three deals reported on by Ventureburn the parties did not...

  • Angel investing has seen ‘phenomenal growth’ in Africa says SABAN co-founder

    Angel investing on the African continent has seen "phenomenal growth" in recent years, SA Business Angels Network (SABAN) co-founder Chris Campbell said today. He was speaking to Ventureburn ahead of the fourth annual African Angel Investor Summit (AAIS2017) set to take place on 15 to 17 November at Workshop 17 in Cape Town. Campbell said while he didn't have numbers in front of him to point to, he said he had anecdotally seen "phenomenal growth", with African Business Angels Network (ABAN) membership now at 63 angel groups, up from perhaps fewer than 10 such groups four years ago. He attributed the growth in angel investing on the continent...

  • SA’s slowing economy, political volatility no concern for Swiss angel investors

    South Africa's current political volatility and the slowing economy is no concern for a group of six Swiss angel investors who have contributed to the €150 000 that 10 startups this year have been able to tap through Startupbootcamp Cape Town. Swiss ICT Investor Club (SICTIC) Thomas Duebendorfer and five other investors from the investor club have committed to fund three years of Startupbootcamp Cape Town and invest in 10 early-stage tech startups per year that do business in Africa. For Duebendorfer South Africa is still an attractive investment destination. "Only if it were to affect how foreign investors are treated or regulated in South Africa...

  • SA blockchain startup The Sun Exchange raises $1.6m to help fund planned ICO

    SA blockchain startup The Sun Exchange, which leverages blockchain technology to allow individuals to purchase solar cells in solar projects, has raised $1.6-million from a number of strategic partners to enable it to fund a planned initial coin offering (ICO). The news was revealed this afternoon in a press release to Ventureburn by SA Venture Capital Company, Kalon Venture Partners. In addition to Kalon Venture Partners other investors include: Network Society Ventures (New York City) and three of the world's leading technology accelerators, BoostVC (San Francisco Bay Area), TechStars (Boulder, Colorado) and Powerhouse (Oakland, California). The Sun Exchange will use the funding to run a...

  • SA bitcoin platform Luno closes R120m round led by Balderton Capital

    South African founded bitcoin platform Luno today announced its expansion into 35 new markets across Europe, and a R120-million Series B funding round, led by London-based venture capital firm Balderton Capital. Rand Merchant Investments, through its fintech investment arm, AlphaCode, and existing investors Digital Currency Group also participated in the round. Luno allows users to buy and sell digital currencies. The announcement follows Luno’s R60-million Series A round in 2015, which was led by emerging market tech giant Naspers. While Luno CEO Marcus Swanepoel declined to reveal the exact size of the stake in the company that investors had taken, he said that...

  • Who is Israeli angel investor company behind success of SA’s Zapper?

    In under four years South African mobile payments platform Zapper has grown to operate in 12 markets, employing over 300 people. It sounds like a SA startup success -- but who really owns the Durban-based company? The company, which earlier this month introduced mobile payment starter packs to the market, does not provide information on its website on who its owners are. While a number of media stories have in the past have referred to Zapper Group CEO David de Villiers (pictured above), as the founder of Zapper, the former IT head at Investec bank told Ventureburn that he started the firm in November 2013 with...

  • SA SME Fund is not aimed at venture capital sector, says CEO

    South Africa's R1.5-billion SA SME Fund is not aimed at boosting the country's nascent venture capital (VC) sector, but rather at helping already profitable mid-sized companies to grow and create jobs, says the fund's CEO Quinton Dicks. “It’s not a venture capital fund – it’s not the SA Venture Capital Fund,” said Dicks (pictured above) in a call yesterday with Ventureburn. In the call he revealed that the fund had commenced with screening funding partners and is likely by the end of this year to complete due diligence work on five funds it plans to co-invest with. In a recent interaction with Dicks, tech entrepreneurs voiced their concern...

  • ‘SA Reserve Bank offers no protection for those that take part in ICOs’

    As China's ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) has lead to renewed concerns over the use of cryptocurrencies, South Africa's Reserve Bank says it offers "no recourse or protection" to consumers involved in ICOs. In response to questions from Ventureburn on whether it is concerned on the legality of ICOs following their banning in China and move to regulate them in the US, the Reserve Bank said in a statement to Ventureburn that it has taken note of regulatory developments surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs). "In South Africa, cryptocurrencies are not guaranteed by the SARB (SA Reserve Bank), hence offer no recourse or...

  • SA VC firm Knife Capital expands to UK in deal with former rugby star Bob Skinstad

    Venture capital (VC) firm Knife Capital has expanded into London after introducing UK-based Draper-Gain Investments as a strategic investor. It follows Knife Capital's management buyout last week from JSE-listed African Dawn Capital. The London office will accelerate the international growth of companies within Knife Capital’s investment portfolio. Draper-Gain is a family office with significant global resources including existing investments in South Africa. The transaction was facilitated by entrepreneur and angel investor Bob Skinstad (pictured above, right) who is Knife Capital’s partner in KNF Ventures, a SA Revenue Services (Sars) Section 12J VC company. South African 12J schemes were created to promote early stage capital...