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  • Three Kenyan teams in running for $500k blockhain EOS Global Hackathon prize [Updated]

    UPDATE: Block.one on Friday (7 December) awarded $500 000 to the final winner of its blockchain hackathon, GeneOS. GeneOS is a blockchain-enabled data ownership, marketplace, and secure computing platform for genomic big data. The team is based in London, Italy, the US and Hong Kong. Three Kenyan teams are part of the 19 finalists competing for the $500 000 top prize at Block.one's EOS Global Hackathon grand finale in Cape Town today (7 December). The hackathon is aimed at developing blockchain solutions. Block.one, the publisher of the EOSIO blockchain protocol, kicked of the grand finale of its EOS Global Hackathon series in Cape Town on...

  • Company Office

    SA founder of Fintech platform Prodigy Finance announces over R3bn fundraise

    International fintech platform Prodigy Finance, which has developed the world’s first borderless credit model, today (21 August 2017) announced a R3.19-billion fundraise. The amount includes a R532-million Series-C equity round led by venture capital firm Index Ventures, with participation from Balderton Capital and AlphaCode; and a R2.66-billion debt facility led by a global investment bank. The company, which has 126 staff across offices in London, Cape Town, and New York, offers loans to postgraduate students accepted into business, engineering, law and public policy degrees at the world’s top universities, such as Harvard, Oxford, INSEAD and the University of Cape Town. Since it was established in 2007, the company has provided more...

  • Four Savant backed startups secure TIA seed grants totalling over R2.5m

    Four startups incubated at Cape Town based hardware tech incubator Savant have secured seed grants totalling over R2.5-million from the incubator's seed fund partner -- the government's Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). Savant CEO Nick Allen (pictured above) yesterday (6 December) told Ventureburn that the four -- ATTRI Orthopaedics, Energy Shift, Jonga and Global Energy -- received seed grants worth R580 000, R649 000, R654 000 and 641 000, respectively. He said the first tranche of the funding would be transferred to the startups between either yesterday and today (7 December). Cape Town based ATTRI Orthopaedics develops lightweight, state-of-the-art metallic implants that replace skeletal structures damaged from bone...

  • SA startup Pineapple to take on US market with Hartford InsurTech Hub

    Just months after winning a place in the prestigious Google Launchpad Africa accelerator, Joburg based insurtech Pineapple has been accepted into the US based Hartford InsurTech Hub. The accelerator, which is funded by Startupbootcamp (affiliated with SBC Afritech in Cape Town) and has been running since last year, unveiled its 2019 cohort of startups last week, in an announcement carried on US publication Insurance Journal. According to the announcement, the 10 teams were selected from more than 230 applications and will relocate to Hartford, Connecticut in the US for the three-month programme which starts in February next year. Teams will get support in the form of mentorship...

  • Here’s how SA startups can legally create an offshore company

    If you're a South African setting up an offshore company needn't be a headache. In this, my second article on how to build international business structures (see the first here), I will explain what your international company structure looks like, from an SA perspective. An international group owned by South Africans will look different to a SA company based in South Africa. This is because South African’s have specific restrictions placed on them by exchange control. This article explains why the structure will look different, and how it can achieve the desired end result anyway. As a starting point, here is the typical startup company: Offshore firm...

  • SA’s Snapt on track for 1000% revenue growth after landing $3m investment

    Two years after raising $1-million in funding, SA tech company Snapt this week landed $3-million from three local investors -- Nedbank, Sanari Capital and Convergence Partners (which took part in the earlier round) -- and is on track to record a 1000% increase in revenue this financial year. The company, which was founded in 2012 by Dave Blakey (pictured above) and Douglas Cherry, did not disclose the size of the equity stake that the investors have taken in the company. Snapt provides applications delivery controller solutions which help websites and apps with load balancing, as well as web acceleration and security which enable business-critical websites to stay online and...

  • IFC announces firms selected for The Next 100 African Startups Initiative

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank, has announced the winners of  The Next 100 African Startup Initiative that will attend the Africa 2018 Forum tomorrow (7 December) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The Next 100 African Startup Initiative -- which the IFC runs in co-operation with the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC) -- aims to provide up-and-coming small businesses with funding and advice. In a statement today (6 December), the IFC said more than 500 startups from 35 African countries applied to be part of the programme. The selected firms are from 25 countries and operate across more than 12 sectors...

  • What investors should look for in a Section 12J VC company [Opinion]

    In recent years the SA government identified small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) as a major contributor to future economic growth. One of the main challenges to the economic growth of SMEs is access to equity finance. To assist these sectors in terms of equity finance, in 2009, the SA government (through the SA Revenue Services or Sars) implemented a tax incentive for investors in these enterprises through a Venture Capital Company (VCC) regime known as Section 12J. For investors with a higher risk appetite, or who have maxed out their retirement annuity, pension fund and tax free savings account contributions, a Section...

  • How corporates are jumping to work with tech startups [Opinion]

    I’ll never forget a conversation I had with the CEO of a listed corporation about how his company could engage with the world of startups. His reply, from the far end of his long, glossy boardroom table, was that he didn’t want some “dagga-smoking Capetonian in slipslops” in his company. It was a joke of course, but he was sort-of-serious too. Corporates, who are watching the startup story unfold before their eyes, know that these agile, innovative little companies may be their future collaborators or competitors. Corporates also know that startups can be very useful to them. Large companies, because of their...

  • Cape Town firms dominate Heavy Chef’s list of SA’s most exciting startups of 2018

    Five Cape Town based firms have been selected as Heavy Chef's "SA's Top 5 Most Exciting Startups 2018" from over 1600 entries from around the country. The five are fintech Lifecheq, healthtech LifeQ, lingerie and swimwear startup Thursdays, aerial analytics firm Aerobotics and machine learning specialists DataProphet. The list, which the events and media company started last year, aims to celebrate innovation and leadership in the SA tech community. Last year SweepSouth, Wala, Zoona, Jumo and Yoco topped the list. Over 1600 entries were submitted for Heavy Chef's SA’s Top Most Exciting Startups 2018 Speaking at an event last night (4 December) at Workshop 17 in Cape Town, Heavy...

  • Nigeria’s Itanna accelerator startups secured eight partnerships says head

    Four Nigerian tech startups have secured eight agreements to partner with Nigerian corporates following the conclusion of the inaugural cohort of Lagos-based accelerator Itanna, the accelerator's director Tomi Otudeko has revealed. The accelerator was launched by Nigerian conglomerate Honeywell Group in August, with the four -- Accounteer, KoloPay, Tradebuza and PowerCube -- forming the inaugural cohort. Otudeko (pictured above, third from right), who is also the head of sustainability and innovation for Honeywell Group, was responding to questions from Ventureburn, yesterday (4 December) four days after the accelerator concluded its inaugural four-month programme with a demo day in Lagos. The demo day, which was held at Itanna's Enterprise Factory...