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  • SMEasy saga: founder slams MTN’s claim that deal had no exclusivity clause

    SMEasy founder Darlene Menzies has hit back at MTN's claims that there was no exclusivity clause in a multi-million dollar distribution deal that her startup signed with the telco giant three years ago and that failed to materialise. The exclusivity clause is at the centre of a spat that has turned public, between MTN Group and SMEasy. Last week Menzies said MTN locked her accounting software business SMEasy in a three-year agreement, preventing the company from expanding by distributing its accountancy product to micro firm customers on the rest of the continent (see this story). The deal is set to expire on 1...

  • Company Office

    Welcome to the Matrix: Mastering the art of Scenario Planning

    For entrepreneurs, one of the most frequently cited challenges is the task of having to juggle multiple demands on your time at any given moment. In my view, however, there is a task that is perhaps more taxing – and yet absolutely critical – that entrepreneurs have to tackle every day. It is the task of identifying and planning for multiple possible business scenarios in the midst of an ever-changing market environment. Smart scenario planning, in effect, is something that undoubtedly needs to be built into the fabric of your daily communications with the board, management and your team...

  • GreenTec Capital launches foundation to promote investment in African ventures

    Frankfurt based venture capital (VC) firm GreenTec Capital Partners yesterday announced the launch of the GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation, a non-profit organisation that will promote investment in African entrepreneurship. In a statement yesterday (14 March), GreenTec Capital Partners said the foundation -- which will be led by CEO Thomas Festerling (pictured above, centre) -- will seek to drive the creation of "economic and social-added value". The GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation, the VC explained, will work closely with the continent's entrepreneurship community, public and private institutions, as well as with European and African investors and corporates. The GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation will be...

  • What are the drivers of valuation for your tech startup?

    Raising capital for scaling up? Looking for an early buy-out? Don’t be tempted to simply let your accountant run the numbers; steer clear of one-size-fits-all, online algorithms and don’t use Silicon Valley templates for a SA company. Understanding the drivers of valuation for your tech startup, and optimising your presentation of an investment case with a defendable value will increase your chances of the best possible outcome. A host of factors, such as where you are in your business life-cycle, your type of business, the market forces, your talent assets and the uniqueness of your offering all impact on...

  • Loss making African ecommerce giant Jumia files for NYSE IPO

    African ecommerce giant Jumia has filed with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), despite reporting losses over the past two years. Jumia was founded in 2012 by Frenchmen Jérémy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec. The company made history in 2016 when it got a valuation of just over $1-billion after it raised $326-million from investors who included US investment bank Goldman Sachs, MTN, Rocket Internet and AXA Insurance -- effectively making it Africa’s first unicorn. While the firm on LinkedIn states that it is based in Lagos, in its filing --...

  • The South African trade and the impact on foreign investments [Sponsored]

    This is how South Africa looks like in the eyes of the foreign investor. To increase overseas funding to South African startups and corporations, the South African economy as a whole needs to improve by at least a few notches. With its natural resources, immense size, and entrepreneurial spirit - it is definitely possible. The 2010s have been a volatile decade for the South African economy. It started with a sharp but short recession triggered by the global financial crisis, was followed by a mini-commodities boom, and then a crash in the prices of gold, platinum, and iron ore, three...

  • African startups can tap up to six-digit funding with launch of Ampion Ventures

    Newly launched Berlin-based company builder Ampion Ventures is looking to provide African tech startups with "up to six-digit" funding (in dollars) its founder and CEO Fabian-Carlos Guhl has revealed. Announcing its launch, Ampion Ventures said in a statement on Tuesday (12 March) that it aims to build scalable business models in selected African countries by providing seed capital and strategic expertise support to startups. The company builder said Berlin based Plutos Ventures Holding will provide Ampion Ventures with its first seed financing. Ampion Ventures will focus on the agritech, energy and fintech verticals Responding to Ventureburn questions on Tuesday, Guhl (pictured above)...

  • Two African startups selected for GMC Calibrator edtech accelerator

    Sierra Leone mobile learning platform for financial inclusion Mosabi and Kenyan parenting website Mums Village have been selected for Gray Matters Capital's GMC Calibrator programme. In a statement on Tuesday (12 March), US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital said the two will join seven other startups -- from India and Vietnam -- in the second cohort of the India-based edtech accelerator. Gray Matters Capital launched the GMC Calibrator last year with the intention to make the mobile phone a device to promote "Self Learning to Earning". The accelerator aims to do this by improving user engagement, monetisation and optimisation of mobile learning...

  • AfriLabs Annual Gathering 2019 set for October in Addis Ababa

    The fourth edition of the AfriLabs Annual Gathering will be held between 28 and 30 October in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. AfriLabs -- a Pan-African tech and innovation hub network with over 130 members across 36 countries across the continent -- announced the dates in a statement last week. The AfriLabs Annual Gathering provides tech hubs, entrepreneurs, corporates, investors, academia and developmental agencies an opportunity to network and share knowledge. The AfriLabs Annual Gathering 2019 is themed Connect: Towards an integrated innovation ecosystem Themed "Connect: Towards an integrated innovation ecosystem" , this year's gathering will be co-hosted by AfriLabs members Tech Village, xHub and...

  • Did Polish man accused of defrauding Nigerian investors lie about merger? [Updated]

    So confident was he that a deal to save his startup HotelOga by merging it with an East African entity would go through, that Polish entrepreneur Marek Zmyslowski sent out a press release and pitchdeck announcing the merger -- when it had yet to be concluded. The proposed merger fell through shortly thereafter. Nigerian investors have accused Zmyslowski of fraud (an accusation which he denies) – saying he funnelled company funds into his personal bank account and misled them about the existence of a Polish entity (Hotel Online sp. z.o.o) that housed the startup’s intellectual property (see this story), alongside...

  • Here are the 20 startups selected for the World Bank’s L’Afrique Excelle accelerator

    L'Afrique Excelle, the francophone adaptation of the World Bank's XL Africa tech accelerator, has announced the names of the 20 startups selected to participate in the first such edition of the programme. The World Bank initiative is supported by the Tubaniso Agribusiness and Innovation Center, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and implemented by VC4A, Suguba and SahelInnov. The programme aims to connect francophone startups across the continent with mentors and investors. In addition, as part of the programme, L'Afrique Excelle will assist participants to raise up to $5-million from investors. The L'Afrique Excelle programme will kick off later...

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