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  • Q&A: Lady Bonin founder shares her journey as a female entrepreneur

    With Startup Grind Cape Town set to take place tomorrow (11 May) in celebration of Female Founders Month, we spoke to Jessica Bonin, founder of Lady Bonin's artisanal tea. Bonin, who will speak tomorrow at the event hosted at Workshop 17, spoke to us about her success and struggles as a female entrepreneur, touching on how it was to run a food truck as well as venture into a seemingly niche market. Ventureburn: Tell us about how you got started with a food truck? Jessica Bonin: When I first started the business my greatest challenge was reinventing tea. People had no concept of good quality tea,...

  • Company Office

    Insurtech is transforming a staid South African insurance industry

    One of the hottest trends in South African fintech in 2018 is insurtech -- which has gained momentum over the last two years, says Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode, a club for fintech entrepreneurs powered by Rand Merchant Investment Holdings. "It was initially seen as a major threat by insurance companies, but now insurers are taking a far more proactive approach to seize opportunities in this space and are starting to collaborate with startups. Exciting new models are transforming a staid industry characterised by opaqueness and outdated systems,” says Collett (pictured above). As millennials enter the market with different expectations, the insurance industry is...

  • ‘Silicon Cape event to tackle lack of diversity in tech sector’

    Cape tech group Silicon Cape plans to address the lack of diversity in the Cape tech sector – a sector dominated by white males – at an event in Cape Town later this month. Entrepreneur Antoinette Prophy, who holds the diversity and transformation portfolio on Silicon Cape’s community council and runs business mentoring organisation 88collective, told Ventureburn today that the event – Tech eKasi – would be held on May 31. "Most of the boardrooms that I step into are (dominated by) pale males. It's our responsibility to bring more women into tech," she said. Prophy was speaking today as part of...

  • Cape property startup creates storm with new model that outfoxes competition

    Cape startup Property Fox may have saved South Africans R5-million in estate-agent commissions since launching in April last year, but their disruptive online model is stirring up a storm in the local property market. The company only charges customers 1.5% in sales commission -- significantly lower than the 5% to 7.5% of the selling price that estate agents usually charge. What has irked some agents is that the company allows a buyer and seller can communicate on the positives and negatives of the property before a sale is concluded. "Traditional agents always say to you 'don't let the buyer meet the seller because there's so much...

  • Six Cape startups equipped with HR skills graduate from TenaCiti programme

    A Cape Town HR programme has helped six startups and their respective recruits to improve their human-resource management processes and up their level of professionalism. The second cohort of TenaCiTi , a skills programme run by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) in partnership with #CoCreateSA, an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, has just wrapped up. The cohort was launched in February. Read more: TenaCiTi to enhance junior recruits for small businesses William Hurst, a developer and partner of startup Zero Zero One says programmes such as TenaCiTi should almost be a "requirement" as it "smooths off so many rough edges". "Stuff that people...

  • Sweep South concludes Series-A round with Black Coffee for ‘seven-figure’ sum

    One of SA's biggest music icons DJ Black Coffee has invested in domestic hiring platform SweepSouth during its Series-A funding round. "We connected with him (Black Coffee) through one of our investors and he liked the business model, he liked the growth of the company, he liked what we were trying to accomplish in empowering women and empowering domestic (workers)," said Aisha Pandor in an interview with Ventureburn." The Series-A round was led by international retail solutions company Smollan and also include Draper Darker Flow, Identity Development Fund Managers and CRE venture capital. The startup will use current investments to grow throughout SA, continent While Pandor...

  • New Silicon Cape head pledges to make sector’s ‘old boys’ club’ more inclusive

    Silicon Cape's new managing director says she plans to get the Cape's tech scene -- long tagged as an "old boys' club", with moneyed white males dominating the region's startup ecosystem -- to become more inclusive. "Research I've done and the whispering I've heard is it (Cape) may not be inclusive and may be an old boys' club," Ellen Fischat told Ventureburn. "The fact of the matter is 20 years ago there were no black tech operators so what we see at the moment is a consequence of history," says Fischat, who started her new position yesterday (8 May). Fischat, who is from Port Elizabeth, has been involved in...

  • ‘We tried to partner with investors that gelled with us’ — CarZar on $1.5m deal

    Partnering with investors that complement them has helped SA tech startup and online car buying service CarZar.co.za land $1.5-million in funding from a Sweden-listed investment firm, says CarZar Joint managing director Fernando Pinheiro. Pinheiro announced the deal by Vostok New Ventures, which is also behind Russia's leading online classifieds company Avito, last week. He said the company was approached by several potential investors after opening its Series-A round of funding. He said CarZar was introduced to the investment company through common connections. "We tried to partner with investors that gelled with our business, enabling good synergies working together. Vostok New Ventures proved to be this type of investor....

  • To succeed, help foster tech startups, Brics nations must work from bottom up

    Many have asked if the association between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has any real significance. Will it benefit the economies of member countries and citizens? The short answer is simply that it's still too early to tell. Brics currently operates at two levels. Viewed from the top down, the work of Brics is carried out at an annual summit attended by heads of state, senior ministers and officials. Decisions that have been made at these summits include a proposal for the construction of an optical fibre submarine telecommunications cable system, linking all Brics countries (agreed in India in 2012) and establishing a...

  • Startups score $35 000 in Fincluders Middle East, North Africa challenge

    Three startups have been awarded cash prizes totaling $35,000 at the Fincluders Startup Challenge Amman, organised by seed investment company Oasis 500 and Sanad, a Middle-East and North Africa fund. The competition saw 50 applicants from over 18 countries competing for the top positions and cash prizes. The Amman competition follows the first Fincluders challenge held in Berlin last year. The top position of the Fincluders challenge and a cash prize of $20,000 went to AgroCenta, a startup which provides an online trading hub for farmers and their customers using real-time payments leveraged by mobile-money technologies. In addition to the trading hub, the startup also provides an on-demand...

  • SA startups get ready: Seedstars World applications to open later this month

    Applications to global competition for emerging markets Seedstars World will open to SA startups again when the initiative returns to South Africa later this month. Seedstars World will hold events in Johannesburg on 26 May and in Cape Town on 8 June, with the top applicants to be invited to the finale hosted at the Standard Bank Auditorium in Johannesburg on 29 June. The SA leg of Seedstars World is being held in partnership with Standard Bank and other local partners such as Enel, Microsoft4Afrika, Orange, Merck, TRECC and Deloitte. Other local partners include Entrepreneur Traction, PayU, Seedspace, Simodisa and Startup Grind. To be eligible to apply for the...