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Venture capital

  • How MFS Africa made history for African fintechs with $4.5m Chinese-led deal

    Johannesburg-based company MFS Africa made history earlier this month when it became one of the first African fintechs to secure funding from a Chinese-based venture capital (VC) firm. This, after a China-based VC firm LUN Partners Group led a $4.5-million Series B funding round in which the VC invested $2.5-million in the digital payments company. Dutch impact investor Goodwell Investments also participated in the round, investing $1.5-million, while the remaining amount of $500 000 was contributed by a number of angel investors including Mojit Davar, the former CEO of MoneyGram International. MFS Africa CEO says as Chinese interest in African fintech grows, LUN Partners Group will likely...

  • Egyptian startup La Reina raises $1m from Algebra Ventures, 500 Startups

    Egyptian startup La Reina -- an online platform for rental couture -- has closed a $1-million deal in a Series A funding round led by Egypt’s largest venture capital (VC) fund, Algebra Ventures, with participation from the global VC fund 500 Startups. The announcement was made in a press release today. Founded in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab, La Reina claims to be Egypt’s largest couture closet, allowing women to rent their evening and bridal gowns to each other. The startup has hundreds of new evening dresses and bridal gowns. To date, the platform has garnered more than 3.5-million ($200 000) Egyptian Pounds for dress...

  • Fourth time lucky for founder of SkillUp as startup nets Knife Capital funding

    Fourth time lucky. That's probably how Matthew Henshall would describe his current startup -- SkillUp. The Cape Town based edtech company has just received an undisclosed amount in funding from venture capital company Knife Capital. While the announcement was made today, neither Henshall -- a former UCT engineering student -- nor Knife Capital disclosed the details of the investment size or the size equity stake the VC company has taken in SkillUp. The latest funding will help the startup to take on new learners and tutors, leverage partnerships with content providers and scale the business internationally. Yet it took three failed tries to land up with an investment-ready startup,...

  • ‘Investor’s share in Giraffe funding round valued at R10m to R20m’ [Updated]

    SA startup Giraffe announced today that it has closed a second funding round, with a lead investor participating in the round revealing that its own share of the contribution was valued at "between R10-million and R20-million". In a press release today the startup, which runs a web platform that matches job seekers with job placements, said it had closed a second round of equity funding, led by Edge Growth’s Vumela Fund with participation from Omidyar Network, Catapult Trust and the Nando co-founder Robbie Brozin's family office Forever Young Capital. While the startup's founder and CEO Anish Shivdasani would not reveal the details of the deal, when pressed for comment...

  • Savca raises concern over governance issues in Section 12J VC tax incentive

    The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (Savca) has raised concern that governance issues could emerge in some venture capital companies approved by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) for a tax incentive. The VC tax incentive, set up under Section 12J of the Income Tax Act, allows investors who make investments in approved VCs -- that then invest in qualifying small companies -- a tax deduction. While the incentive came into effect in 2009, the number of VCCs approved under the incentive by Sars shot up in recent years following amendments the Treasury made to the incentive to make it more...

  • ‘Tanzania must introduce tax incentives, policy change to spur VC investment’

    Ahead of next month's launch of Tanzania's first angel investors network, a top venture capitalist has called for the government to make a number of changes to encourage venture capital (VC) investments in startups in the East African country. In an email to Ventureburn yesterday Salum Awadh, CEO of Tanzanian financial and investment advisory firm SSC Capital, called on the government to introduce tax incentives, relax part of the country's competition law and to enact changes to the Companies Act to allow for the setting up of limited partnerships to drive VC investments in the country. Awadh's comments come in the wake of the...

  • Venture capitalists welcome Section 12J proposals but call for more changes

    Venture capitalists have welcomed The National Treasury plan's to amend a venture capital tax incentive, but want further amendments to be made. The VC tax incentive falls under Section 12J of the Income Tax Act and has been in place since 2008. The treasury has amended it several times to make it more attractive to high net worth individuals, who can get a tax deduction by investing in approved VC companies (VCCs) that then invest in qualifying small businesses. At present there are 103 such approved entities contained on a list (opens as a PDF) on the SA Revenue Service's (Sars) website. The treasury said in last month’s Budget Review...

  • How Knife Capital once turned down JoJo Tanks because VC ‘didn’t see use case’

    With Cape Town in the grip of its worst drought in living memory JoJo Tanks has been catapulted into an overnight success story, and can barely keep up with demand. But the SA company was once turned down by one of the country's top venture capital (VC) firms, Knife Capital. Since its inception in 2010 Knife Capital has invested in some big names such as CSense (which exited to General Electric just a few months ago) and recently concluded a $110-million exit of Fundamo to Visa. But along the way the VC company has also made mistakes -- turning down big names that have gone...

  • DataProphet secures ‘multi-million dollar’ funding from Knife Capital

    Cape Town-based machine learning startup DataProphet has secured a "multi-million dollar" funding round from venture capital firm Knife Capital. Speaking with Ventureburn, DataProphet co-founder and MD Frans Cronje (pictured above) said the startup had been in discussion with Knife Capital about the deal since the second half of last year. He would not disclose the exact amount of the deal. DataProphet employs machine learning to aid companies in developing products and solutions, with a particular focus on the manufacturing sector. Prior to this deal, the startup, which was founded in 2014 by Cronje and Daniel Schwartzkopff, had previously raised funding from private investment...

  • Savca announces inaugural industry awards in line with 20th anniversary

    The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (Savca) has announced the launch of the inaugural Savca Industry Awards. The annual sector accolades form part of the organisation’s 20th anniversary celebration and will recognise portfolio companies involved the private equity and venture capital sector in the region, Savca said in a press release today. All investee companies that are headquartered in Southern Africa and are currently benefiting from these types of investments, or that have had investors exit within the last 12 months, are eligible for consideration by the judging panel. Judges will comprise business leaders and captains of industry, with the...

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