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  • SA incubator Savant in process of raising funding for 11 tech companies [Q&A]

    Cape Town tech incubator Savant is busy raising funding for four of the 16 technology related companies in its portfolio -- while pursuing second-round funding for another nine, the incubator's CEO Nick Allen has confirmed. "Getting this next round of funding, usually for companies that are still generally pre-revenue, is our biggest challenge. We are also undertaking due diligence on a further three companies," Allen told Ventureburn last month. Savant has assisted 12 companies in the accelerator's portfolio to source either seed or startup funding. Among the companies Savant has worked with are medtech firm Leatt, food innovation company Formfoods, battery management company Balancell and medical device Smartblade. "We hold stakes in another two companies that...

  • Company Office

    Slide app, SA's own version of Venmo, aims to boost person-to-person payments

    South Africa has just got its own version of Venmo, one of the US’s most successful payment platforms owned by PayPal that processes $25-billion in person-to-person payments annually. The Slide app is founded by three young South Africans who recently returned from living in the US -- Irshad Kathrada, Terence Goldberg and Alon Stern. The three have developed the app to change the way South Africans pay each other. Kathrada, worked for JP Morgan in Johannesburg, London and New York; Terence Goldberg, worked in Toronto and San Francisco; and Alon Stern moved to the US from South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship where he worked at...

  • AppsAfrica opens entries for 2018 Innovation Awards

    Tech portal and advisory service AppsAfrica.com has opened entries for the 2018 AppsAfrica Innovation Awards set to be held on 12 November in Cape Town. Applications close 7 September, with finalists set to be announced on 8 October. The annual awards now in their fourth year, are open to startups and corporates which have launched services in at least one market in Africa, aim to celebrate the mobile and tech innovation on the continent. In addition, gaining global publicity, industry recognition and the opportunity to network with about 300 industry peers, this year's winners will also be invited to Africa Tech...

  • Sometimes startup just hits right market at right time – Angelhub man [Q&A]

    The difference between a well performing and poorly performing investment often comes down to three things, says Angelhub Ventures lead partner Brett Commaille. For Commaille these are: the stage a product is in, the maturity of the business itself and the readiness of the market to adopt the product or service a startup is offering. But he admits "sometimes a business just hits the right market and the right time and takes off". The difference between a well and a poor performing investment often comes down to three things, says Angelhub Ventures lead partner Brett Commaille How then is his Angelhub Ventures portfolio...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [4/06/2018]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or brush up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list, or next week’s, please let us know in the comments below or send us an email. Not all of the events are free and some will require booking in advance. Please click on the event names to find out...

  • All you need to know about AfricArena’s current open innovation challenges

    AfricArena, the international African startup and investor conference, currently has six challenges that entrepreneurs from across the continent can apply to. Two close this week. So, you better hurry, if you want to apply. Last month AfricArena entered into a partnership with French tech conference VivaTech. The agreement has culminated in the two partnering to run a joint challenge for African startups which will see the top three finalists pitch at the Cape Town summit. Specifics of that challenge have as yet been released. In the meantime, entrepreneurs can apply to the following six challenges which AfricArena has already released details on. Here...

  • ‘Playing patient investor, Omidyar has not made many exits from $1.3bn portfolio’ [Updated]

    Philanthropic impact investor Omidyar Network has invested close to $1.3-billion* in non-profit and for-profit ventures globally since it was founded in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. But an investment principal at the fund confesses that the funder's "patient" approach to funding means it has made few exits so far. "We are early-stage, impact investors and, because we have only one funder, our capital is patient. "So when we look at investments, the total value creation of a company for us is comprised of financial returns, social impact, and its effect on the sector as a whole," Ameya Upadhyay, an investment principal at the...

  • ‘$1.1m funding will help Piggybank.ng to capitalise on opportunities’

    Automated savings platform Piggybank.ng's latest round of $1.1-million seed funding will allow the Nigerian startup to "expand and capitalise on the many opportunities that the market presents", says co-founder Joshua Chibueze. Chibueze (pictured above far right, with co-founders Somto Ifezue left, and Odunayo Eweniyi, middle) was commenting on the deal in a press release yesterday (31 May). The $1.1-million investment was led by LeadPath Nigeria co-founder Olumide Soyombo. Two venture capital firms, Village Capital and Ventures Platform, also participated in the round. It follows the $50 000 seed funding that the startup, which targets low-income Nigerian millennials and was founded in 2016, received in May last year from...

  • African universities not connected to ecosystem as they should be [Q&A]

    Earlier this month 90 innovation hubs from across the continent endorsed the African Innovation Policy Manifesto in Kigali, Rwanda. The declaration covered seven key areas including education. The manifesto called on African governments to recognise that education is "the most critical factor to accelerating innovation, digital and socio-economic transformation". The document further recommends that governments, as part of a three-pronged approach to stimulating research and development R&D and innovation across the continent, invest in R&D, and redesigning curriculum. Read more: 90 innovation hubs endorse the African Innovation Policy Manifesto But, what role should academic institutions play in Africa's digital innovation revolution? The following Q&A is...

  • SA’s ThisIsMe best regtech at 2018 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards

    South African identity verification and due diligence platform ThisIsMe has won the Best RegTech Solution category at the fourth edition of the recently held Benzinga Global Fintech Awards. Cape Town-based ThisIsMe was selected for its work in bringing more trust into transactions through its enhanced due diligence and authentication services. The startup was placed first in the regtech category ahead of Canadian company iComply, and New York-based 8OF9, respectively. The awards, which this year were held on 15 and 16 May in New York, aim to showcase the world's latest fintech innovations and feature tech giants and major banks like Amazon, Facebook as...

  • ‘Facebook $20k grants via NG_Hub to tackle Nigeria’s innovation gap’ [Q&A]

    A lack of financial instruments is holding back innovation in Nigeria, and Facebook aims to address this by providing $20 000 grants to applicants to its new accelerator, a top Facebook official says. Speaking to Ventureburn following the launch last week of Facebook's NG_Hub, Emeka Afigbo, the social network's head of developer programmes, says while Nigeria has no shortage of "smart people", entrepreneurs, students and innovators battle to get funding to allow then to carry out innovative projects. "That is why we are providing equity-free grants as part of the accelerator programme, to actually free people of the burden of having to rush to build things that they...