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Venture capital

  • VC companies don’t necessarily have to set up a fund to invest – here’s why

    Engaging with investors is often like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. This is the feedback we got from entrepreneurs in the early days of setting up venture capital company HAVAÍC. Often entrepreneurs were told by an investor that they loved their business, but that the investment didn’t fit their investment or fund criteria. The entrepreneurs were seeking to access to funds from investors who demonstrate flexibility in terms of investment criteria and approach to evaluating businesses. Based on these learnings we formed a view that a venture capital (VC) firm which really wanted to make a difference in...

  • 4Di Capital funding was ‘less than R10m’ confirms SA IoT startup Sensor Networks

    Cape based Internet of Things (IoT) platform Sensor Networks has secured funding from South African venture capital (VC) fund 4Di Capital. Sensor Networks founder Mark Allewell (pictured above with his team, fourth from left) announced the deal yesterday. It's the second investment 4Di Capital has this week made public. Read more: SA drone startup Aerobotics secures R8m in funding from 4Di, Savannah Fund  While Allewell declined to say how much funding his two-year old startup has tapped, when pushed by Ventureburn to reveal more details he confirmed that it was "less than R10-million", which included a minority stake in the company by 4Di...

  • More than 30 sign-ups to Uprise.Africa SA’s first equity crowdfunding site

    Over 30 investees and investors have signed up to Uprise.Africa, South Africa’s first equity crowdfunding platform, since its landing page went live on Friday, the platform’s founder Patrick Schofield said today. A soft launch for the platform took place at a panel discussion held by Moneyweb. Schofield, who is also the founder of donations based crowdfunding site ThundaFund.com, told Ventureburn today that the platform is looking to go live in October with six deals. However, he added that this was dependent on the Financial Services Board (FSB) approving the platform’s current structure. The idea is that deals on the platform would first be approved...

  • Grotech rebranding as Kalon Venture Partners to avoid marketplace confusion

    South African Section 12J venture capital (VC) company Grotech has rebranded as Kalon Venture Partners. Kalon CEO Clive Butkow said the rebranding was to avoid being seen as associated with another Section 12J VC company, Grovest. "The confusion in the marketplace was that we were an offshoot of Grovest and that's where the initial idea for a rebrand came from," explained Butkow. This, he added, was partly driven by Malcom Segal being chairman of both companies. In addition Butkow is a non-executive director of Grovest. He said Segal will continue to chair Kalon. Another factor driving the rebrand was that when the company was...

  • SA’s first equity crowdfunding platform to launch later this month

    South Africa's first equity crowdfunding platform will be unveiled by ThundaFund founder Patrick Schofield in a soft launch later this month, Schofield confirmed today. Schofield did not want to comment on the launch of the platform, which is expected to take place in Johannesburg, saying only "at this stage, no comment, treading lightly right now :-)" in an email to Ventureburn. However a source said the soft launch is aimed at creating awareness on the platform to those in the media and to startups in search of equity finance. The platform is expected to initially list six startups or projects, the source said. South Africa's first equity...

  • Kenyan startup M-Shule gets investment from Engineers Without Borders

    Canadian seed-stage investor Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) yesterday announced a cash investment worth $40 000 in Kenyan edtech startup M-Shule. M-Shule is an SMS and web-based learning management platform which makes use of artificial intelligence to design tailored learning experiences. It was designed to handle 144 million primary school students across Sub-Saharan Africa and was launched in January in Nairobi, Kenya by Claire Mongeau. In an email interview with Ventureburn, Mongeau said although they currently operate in Kenya, they intended to expand into East Africa by 2019 and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in subsequent years. "We are excited and thrilled to work...

  • SA might be in recession but opportunities are huge – Alphawave chairman

    While South Africa slipped into a recession in the first quarter of this year, Stellenbosch investor and entrepreneur Frans Meyer says the opportunities for innovative companies locally and abroad are "still huge". Meyer is the group executive chairman of local tech company Alphawave. Meyer, together with Gronum Smith started EMSS in 1994. One of their company's now supplies the receivers that are used on South Africa's Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. In May the parent company EMSS Group changed its name to Alphawave in May. 'The specific opportunities for innovative companies, providing products and services locally, abroad, still huge' Meyer responded to various...

  • Q&A: Focus on creating unicorn for SA is misdirected says Justin Stanford

    Any overt focus by South African ecosystem players on creating the country's first unicorn is a "misdirection of attention" says venture capitalist and founder of 4Di Capital Justin Stanford. With the number of multi-million acquisition deals concluded by South African startups seemingly on the increase of late, Stanford says the country should rather focus on systematically repeatable value creation. 'Focus on headline number of $1-billion valuation is misdirection of attention' It follows the $445-million sale of Kapa Biosystems in 2015 and, more recently, the $123-million GetSmarter deal announced in May. Read more: Are these the 10 all-time biggest exit deals for SA startups? Responding to emailed questions from Ventureburn, Stanford...

  • FSB misses its own crowdfunding deadline

    South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) has missed a June 30 deadline on considering whether to regulate equity crowdfunding or not. A FSB spokesperson in April said the authority had set a date of 30 June by which it planned to rule on whether to craft specific rules or not for equity crowdfunding. It followed the completion of a research report by the FSB on crowdfunding. Read more: South Africa’s FSB to rule on crowdfunding by June 30 However Felicity Mabaso, the FSB's head of department for FAIS Supervision, stressed that the "crowdfunding project" is still a work in progress. "We have scheduled further engagements...

  • Agri-Vie Fund exit from Fairfield sees investors reap over three times in returns

    Investors in the $100-million Agri-Vie Fund I have scored big with the fund today announcing its first exit, from one of South Africa’s most respected dairy companies Fairfield Dairy. A private investment trust linked to the Lang family which founded the diary has agreed to buy Agri-Vie’s stake in the KwaZulu-Natal-based dairy producer. While the fund would not disclosed the sale figure, Agri-Vie co-founder and managing partner Herman Marais said the return on the investment exceeded the fund's objectives -- which is usually to return to investors between 2.5 to 3 times of the invested capital. The fund's initial investment of about $4-million in Fairfield diaries was made in 2009. Marais said...