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Venture capital

  • How to land seed funding

    There's a very slim chance you know who Steve Schlafman is, but you've probably heard of Turntable.fm, the fleeting viral interactive music sharing service that raised US$7-million, before pivoting to focus on live, interactive music performances as Turntable Live. Schlafman was VP of Business Development at StickyBits, a QR code startup which eventually became Turntable.fm Since then, Schlafman has turned to investing. First joining Lerer Ventures and then RRE Ventures, an early stage investor in New York City with investments in startups like BuzzFeed, Kik, MakerBot and Bitly. While at Lerer, Schlafman focused on seed stage work, and now overlooks Series A...

  • Unwrapping the mysteries of SA’s venture metrics landscape [Infographic]

    With additional reporting by Mich Atagana South Africa's startup landscape is an industry wrapped in mysteries and enigmas. It's a world of near facts and almost could be truths, especially when it comes to funding. The average entrepreneur is not a 21-year-old University dropout. Also not all of them are men, yes women start companies too. In a survey conducted by Knife Capital, around 337 entrepreneurs shed some light on this cloak and dagger industry and provided some interesting insights about venture seeking entrepreneurs and what they think their business is worth, how the founders met as well their risk...

  • Michael Jordaan’s MonteGray Capital makes first VC bets and it’s all about tech

    Last year when former FNB head Michael Jordaan joined South African instant messaging service Mxit as chairman, we heard that his new aspirations were to learn more about innovation and investing in startups. Soon after, Jordaan launched his first VC firm, MonteGray Capital. Today, news came about that the first companies getting a cash injection from MonteGrey include interesting tech companies such as Multisource, Bright Black and Execmobile. Jordaan has mentioned before that he's interested in "disruptive technologies that will change the world in the next 10 years," and all three companies mentioned above focus on using disruptive tech...

  • A win for social startups: Malaysia’s Joota secures $700K funding round

    Joot Ventures Sdn Bhd, the company that developed Joota, a social content network, today announced that it has secured a total of USD 700K funding from two investment sources -- US$500K from Interactive E Solutions JLT of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and, US$200K from an undisclosed individual angel investor. The new cash infusion will boost the startup's finance product development and support its global marketing moves. The news shows that social startups still manage to attract investment, at least in Malaysia. Overall, social ventures appear to have lost some sheen in recent times. Prior to the latest funding rounds Joota managed...

  • 5 insights into the investor-startup exchange: attitude, horizons, awareness

    Startups get a lot of attention from the industry. Simple as that. They are the sexier, jazzier, more vulnerable babies that the media gets excited about, and investors want to nurture. However what happens to startups when they grow up? When they perhaps graduate from an incubation or acceleration programme and need to walk on their own? They still have a lot of growing up to do, yet there is an expectation that they should be fully-functional companies at that point. That expectation is ingrained into the industry, so much so, that even the entrepreneurs themselves start to believe...

  • VC4Africa offers African entrepreneurs coaching, investor introductions

    Getting access to Africa's investor network has potentially gotten a whole easier with Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa) and its initiative called Cohorts. The month long (or longer) accelerator programme gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to receive coaching, as well as access and personal introductions to the VC4Africa investor network - potentially Africa's largest network of SME investors - to aid the raising of funds. In what VC4Africa calls a "new opportunity for Africa's most promising entrepreneurs to raise capital" the Cohorts are divided by month. There was the June Cohort (which will still give coaching up to September), but...

  • Sharks, sorcery and speculation: what lies beneath most startup valuations

    In 1954 one of Hollywood’s greatest artistic geniuses, Walt Disney, had a fantasy. Disney dreamed of building a giant amusement park unlike anything that existed in America. His chosen site was on 160 acres of farmland in Anaheim, an area southwest of Los Angeles settled by German immigrants. The problem was how to find financing for his project. His brother Roy Disney didn’t support the idea and the banks scoffed at Disney’s projection of a million visitors a year going through the turnstiles of the Magic Kingdom. William Paley and David Sarnoff both turned him down because they imagined a...

  • Knife Capital Grindstone programme will take you out of your comfort-zone

    Cape Town based fund manager Knife Capital's new accelerator programme Grindstone, aimed at post-revenue startups, will help managers cultivate a growth strategy to scale their business and ultimately attract further investment, by taking CEOs out of their comfort zone. Grindstone describes itself as a part-business accelerator, part-investor and part-advisor . It is the first programme of its kind in South Africa by focusing on post-revenue startups rather than pre-revenue, but what really sets it apart is its idea to focus a CEO's attention to areas outside of their core expertise, giving them access to new management skills and support structures....

  • Every VC company is a media company

    The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and Cambridge Associates recently released a study showing that VC funds returned an average of 7.4% annually over a 10 year period. For early stage funding it was just 6.4%. This compares to 8.5% for the S&P 500. The VCs of Silicon Valley have an unshakeable belief in their investment skills, despite the study's Big Data showing they can't outperform a grandmother investing in an S&P Index fund. It's easy to see how "smart money" VCs end up with dumb money returns, when they herd into the same types of me-too startups and ruin the...

  • Why South Africa needs patient ‘co-opetition’ between venture investors

    A couple of weeks ago Ventureburn asked Marc Herson of mobile social network 2go, what the South African startup tech ecosystem needed, especially its Venture Capital ecosystem. This ecosystem is quite young but it's a very active one and people are getting excited about Africa. In last few months we have explored a lot on South Africa's tech ecosystem as well some funding dilemmas that the country's startups face. Herson, a former VC partner at Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa, gave us the following response about what South Africa needs to have a healthy tech ecosystem. -- Editor ...

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