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  • Is state VC funding becoming the name of the game?

    The Indian government this week launched a much awaited venture capital (VC) fund. Dubbed the India Aspiration Fund, the 20 billion rupee fund (US$306-million) will operate as a fund-of-funds administered by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi). Life Insurance, India's biggest insurance company, will be a co-investor in the fund, which will then invest in private sector VC funds. Sidbi will put in one rupee for every two rupees that each respective VC fund plan to invest. Israeli model Like this, India hopes to imitate the success of Israel’s Yozma programme, in which the state invested in VC funds before...

  • Payroll company PaySpace receives prestigious Frost & Sullivan award

    Cloud-based payroll and human capital management company PaySpace has been awarded the prestigious Frost & Sullivan 2015 South African Product Leadership of the Year Award for Enterprise Resource Planning Systems. Established by Bruce, Warren, Clyde van Wyk and George Karageorgiades (pictured above) in 2000, PaySpace offers low-cost, cloud-based payroll and human capital management (HCM) enterprise software. Frost & Sullivan has awarded PaySpace for its impressive growth achieved over the years. The payroll software has increased its usage from 18 countries in 2011 to 37 countries in 2014. Read more: Study: fewer than half of SA’s SMEs use cloud services Fadzai Deda, Frost &...

  • Content-discovery startup Jottr raises over $1M, officially launches iOS app

    South African startup Jottr set out to big make waves in Silicon Valley. Backed by a hefty amount of seed investment, the company's artificial intelligence technology has been hailed a game-changer in content discovery on the web. Since we met up with the founders in April, the trio (who then also met each other for the first time in real life) managed to successfully raise more than US$1-million in June, with an additional US$100 000 credit received from Amazon Web Services. The investment was secured through various family funds based in Malta, the UK and the Netherlands, among some others angels. The company has also officially launched its iOS app....

  • On-demand delivery startup Picup starts focusing on business deliveries

    On-demand delivery service Picup has launched a new offering that enables businesses to collect and deliver documents and parcels in under 90 minutes -- a fraction of the time it takes for traditional courier service. The WeChat Africa-backed startup stresses that if the Picup Business delivery isn’t completed within 90 minutes the full fare is credited to the client. Available on your smartphone via WeChat and the web, Picup launched in May this year. The delivery startup is inspired by an Uber-like business model with a distributed team of drivers who choose to accept pick-up or delivery requests. The revenue split is 70% for...

  • 3 African countries that show investment promise as global tech hubs

    Over the past decade, countries such as South Africa, Kenya, and Seychelles have emerged as Africa’s tech hubs. Kenya is increasingly touted as the Silicon Savannah, owing its position to technologies like M-Pesa and Ushahidi being exported worldwide. Chances are that Kenya and South Africa will hold onto their leads in the African tech industry in the near future. However, with the growing focus on mainstreaming information and communications technology, Africa is creating new tech hubs that are worthy of consideration by investors. Rwanda Rwanda recently ranked fourth in networked readiness in Africa, behind only Mauritius, South Africa, and Morocco — all considered more developed economies. This ranking is of little surprise; Rwanda has an ambitious blueprint for developing ICT. The...

  • 10 small business commandments for every entrepreneur

    In a world of Instagram experiences, hashtagged vacations and overwhelmingly social moments, sometimes people know the glory but not the insane story behind your perfect photos. During my recent years of growth as an entrepreneur, I’ve found that the journey to success isn’t like Google maps, with turn-by-turn directions. There are nails in the road, dead ends and confusion. I’ve learned a number of lessons -- some of which were ugly, all of which were important for my growth. I started my business through a series of unfortunate events; it was almost an accident. I began my career with a...

  • Entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid to code: here’s why

    Many entrepreneurs are afraid of code. They see coding as magic — something that requires a degree in computer science to even begin to understand. Some think they’re not smart enough or mathematical enough to learn to code, so they decide it’s easier to hire a developer or find a technical co-founder — all because they’re too afraid (or think they’re too busy) to learn. Even entrepreneurs who express an interest in coding have a hard time figuring out where and how to start. Coding boot camps are often prohibitively expensive — they can cost more than US$10 000...

  • Swiss medical company Roche to purchase Kapa Biosystems, bolster medical strength

    Today, Swiss-based medical-tech company Roche announced its acquisition of Kapa Biosystems -- a biotech startup based in Massachusetts, US with a development and manufacturing facility in Cape Town, South Africa. According to co-founder and chief scientific officer of Kapa Biosystems, Paul McEwa, "Joining Roche provides us access to their broad product portfolio, global reach and clinical expertise that will accelerate our strategy of offering comprehensive NGS workflow solutions to more laboratories around the world." The deal went through with an undisclosed purchase amount and is subject to customary closing conditions. Kapa Biosystems is a provider of genomic tools in the life science...

  • Q&A: How Kaymu is helping thousands of Nigerian SMEs move to the cloud

    Ecommerce is a big deal in Nigeria. Several SMEs are considering it as an option to reach bigger markets without expanding their office space. But the complexity of the technology behind running an efficient ecommerce platform, in addition to the high cost of marketing, make ecommerce a future pain for SMEs. But Kaymu, an online marketplace, makes it possible for SMEs to realise their ambitions. Over 40 000 SMEs in various parts of the country are already on the platform, and thousands are joining each week. I caught up with Evangeline Wiles, who's the MD of Kaymu Nigeria, recently at the...

  • Does your personality type fit that of an entrepreneur?

    According to a survey conducted by a California-based personality and career assessments company, Truity Psychometrics, found that extraverts are more likely to become entrepreneurs. The four main deciding factors of the survey included extraversion (E) vs. introversion (I); sensing (S) vs intuition (N); thinking (T) vs feeling (F); judging (J) vs perceiving (P), as well as a second set of basic questions, such as income, age, and gender. Out of the 25 759 respondents, only around half completed the survey. From that the numbers were whittled down to those over 18 and who had answered the salary question. This left the...