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Venture capital

  • Leapfrog Ventures’ Takuma Terakubo wants to fund 200 startups by 2020

    Leapfrog Ventures founder and CEO Takuma Terakubo says he aims to invest in 200 African startups by 2020. This follows a report by Japanese publication The Bridge earlier this week that the venture capital firm had invested $50 000 in Kenyan startup Biasharabot. Yesterday (29 August) Digest Africa reported that Leapfrog Ventures is also set to invest $190 000 in three Ugandan startups: Francom, Swipe2pay and Xente. "My first target is 200 startups to invest until end of 2020 and ticket size is basically $30 000 to $50 000, sometimes $100 000," said Terakubo. Leapfrog Ventures and the Rwandan government are working on a sandbox that aims to...

  • CoGrammar to make 200 hires in Cape after new funding, reveals SA founder

    Riaz Moola, the founder of UK and SA-based edtech startup CoGrammar, says his startup will hire 200 employees in Cape Town by the end of next year, after closing a funding round earlier this year. Speaking to Ventureburn yesterday while on a short visit to the city, Moola (pictured above) pointed out that the startup expects to hire 50 of the new hires by March next year when it kicks off a recruitment drive on 10 September. The news comes amid a tech boom in Cape Town, with SA bitcoin exchange Luno currently looking to fill 40 new positions for the company’s Cape Town office. Read...

  • Nigerian payments startup Paystack raises $8m in Series A round led by Stripe

    Nigerian payments startup Paystack has raised $8-million in a Series A funding round led by US payments company Stripe. US tech publication Tech Crunch reported the deal yesterday (28 August), adding that digital payments giant Visa and Chinese internet company Tencent were also involved in the round. Paystack was founded in 2015 by CEO Shola Akinlade and CTO Ezra Olubi. The startup, which has offices in both Lagos and San Francisco, enables Nigerian businesses to accept Mastercard, Visa and Verve cards. Paystack was founded in 2015 by Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi In addition, the startup also supports payments through mobile money transfer services. The...

  • Investors use loophole in VC tax incentive to invest in own companies – Sars

    Investors are using a loophole in a SA venture capital (VC) tax incentive to invest in companies connected to them and benefit from a whopping 125% write-off on their taxable income, the SA Revenue Services (Sars) revealed yesterday. The incentive, which falls under Section 12J of the Income Tax Act and came into effect in 2009, entitles investors that invest in accredited VC companies that then invest in small businesses, to make a tax deduction of 125% in the year that the investment was made. Last week saw an outcry from South Africa’s venture capital (VC) and private equity sector over...

  • Kenyan fintech Lendable secures $450k grant from Dutch development bank FMO

    Nairobi-based fintech Lendable has secured a $450 000 convertible grant from Dutch development bank FMO. In a statement today (23 August) FMO said the grant will provide a "first loss" backstop that is expected to unlock an additional $4.5-million from commercial investors. The convertible grant is being provided by the Dutch government through its MASSIF fund -- which FMO manages. The fund aims to support small businesses, inclusive enterprises, women as well as youth entrepreneurs by financing local financial intermediaries and other institutions that contribute to development. Lendable was founded in 2014 and has offices in Nairobi and New York Lendable was founded...

  • State must close door on those that misuse VC tax incentive [Opinion]

    This week saw an outcry from South Africa's venture capital (VC) and private equity sector over amendments the National Treasury plans to make to the country's VC tax incentive, which falls under Section 12 of the Income Tax Act. The SA Venture Capital Association (Savca) told MPs in Parliament that should the National Treasury go ahead with them as they are at present, the amendments risked making the incentive unviable. The amendments contained in the 2018 Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (see the National Treasury's explanatory guide here) include a number of proposals intended to root out misuse of the incentive by investors. The incentive, which came into effect...

  • Fund head puts lack of women angel investors down to information asymmetry

    A shortage of information around tech startups has made women sceptical of investing in early-stage businesses. So, says IDF Capital CEO Polo Leteka. Leteka -- who runs the Johannesburg based I’M IN tech accelerator -- has invested in several startups through a Section 12J vehicle (which allows investors to get tax incentives if they place amounts in such a fund, which then invests in small businesses). She did not name the 12J. She adds that her experience in investing in tech startups has mainly been developed through the accelerator which sources contributions from corporate investors and then invests these in the startups it works with. She says other than often...

  • BREAKING: Former PPC Cement head announced as new SA SME Fund CEO [Updated]

    Former PPC Cement head Ketso Gordhan was today announced as the new CEO of the SA SME Fund. The announcement that Gordhan will take the helm of the fund -- which has yet to start lending to small businesses two years after it was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he was then deputy president -- was made today in a press release by Discovery on behalf o the SA SME Fund. It follows the resignation in June of Quinton Dicks, after being appointed in January last year. Using commitments by large listed companies, the R1.5-billion fund will put money into private funds that will...

  • It’s confirmed – SA’s first female focused angel fund to launch this year

    In what may be a first for South Africa, the country is set to get its first angel fund focused entirely on women-owned businesses. Alexandra Fraser, one of the organisation's founding members, confirmed that Johannesburg-based Dazzle Angels will start operating later this year. The organisation's founding team is comprised of an all-women team that includes Fraser, who is the founder of Fraser Consulting, JAG Method co-founder Adi Zuk, JAG Group COO Lee Zuk, and Charlotte Luzuka. In a brief phone call earlier today Fraser told Ventureburn that the fund -- which is yet to open applications for investment -- is still in the "early stages" of setting up. She explained that...

  • Fintech platform Mines raises $13m in Series-A round led by The Rise Fund

    US-based fintech Mines -- which was founded by a Nigerian team -- has raised $13-million in a Series-A round led by US impact investor The Rise Fund. The startup announced the funding in a statement last week. The investment will finance talent acquisition, and expansion into Africa, South America, and South East Asia. The deal will see TPG Growth's Yemi Lalude, and Velocity Capital's Willem Willemstein join Mine's board of directors. Velocity Capital, Western Technology Investments, First Ally Capital, X/Seed Capital, NYCA Partners, Persistent Capital, Singularity Investments, Trans Sahara Investments, and the Bank of Industry also participated in the round. Mines plans to use the investment to fund talent acquisition, and expansion into Africa, South America,...