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Venture capital

  • 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...

  • Startups be pitchin’: here’s what happened at Sparkup Live 2015

    Another year, another Sparkup Live event. After 100 applications were vetted, five finalists were chosen to pitch in front of an audience of investors. From travel to tyres, the pitchers held their own as they faced Angel investors Ernst Hertzog from Action Hero Ventures, Groupon SA co-founder Wayne Gosling, and Paul Rutherford who's from MIH Internet. The three dragons investors all got first dibs at the pitchers' brains and equity shares, with the audience encouraged to throw swathes of cash whenever they felt confident. Organiser of the event Tracy Gander told Ventureburn last month that the live investment scenario is a...

  • These 21 green startups from SA, Kenya have been made investment-ready

    The Green Pioneer Accelerator focused on early stage enterprises contributing innovative solutions to environmental issues such as climate change, energy insecurity, loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems. Over the past four months Impact Amplifier, GrowthAfrica, VC4Africa and Hivos offered the Green Pioneer Accelerator programme to selected businesses, taking them from ‘market proof’ to ‘ready for investment’. Twenty one committed entrepreneurs were selected for the programme in Kenya and South Africa. Interested investors and others can request to attend the Green Pioneer Accelerator Venture Forums in Nairobi (9 June) and Cape Town (11 June). See an overview of all the companies...

  • Art of the Deal: 6 steps to closing that next investment

    The world is ablaze with high-growth startups that are making headlines and raising millions. With the world economy in the state that it is, governments and private sector role players all know that global growth will need to be driven by young companies that find new ways of solving problems through innovation and technology. Private investors have also caught on, with the amount of angel and venture investors that are snapping up high potential companies increasing. Locally, heavyweights like Michael Jordaan and Vinny Lingham are paving the way and peaking interest in investment in successful local startups. Are you scouting for...

  • Latin America’s VC space: big opportunity or illusion?

    After four years riding the roller coaster ups and downs of running an internet startup in Latin America, I feel that I have paid my duties in the race of chasing the Latin American dream. There are hard facts that any entrepreneur in pursuit of this sort of dream should be well aware of before jumping in. If you look at a continent and you see no more than ten big hitters, you need to be a little suspicious. This lack of a sprawling scene of tech leaders could be the result of many different things, such as immaturity of...

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