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  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [26/03/2018]

    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...

  • Company Office

    AlphaCode makes fourth investment, in Luno an international bitcoin platform

    South African bitcoin trading platform Luno today (19 September 2017) announced its expansion into 35 new markets across Europe, and the conclusion of a R120-million Series B funding round, led by London-based Balderton Capital, one of Europe’s leading venture capital firms. Rand Merchant Investments, through its fintech investment arm, AlphaCode, and existing investors Digital Currency Group also participated in the round. This follows Luno’s R60m Series A round, which was led by emerging market tech giant Naspers. To date, AlphaCode has invested in Prodigy Finance (August 2017), Entersekt (June 2017) and Merchant Capital (June 2016). Luno is one of the world’s most popular Bitcoin platforms, making it easy for people to buy, sell and learn about digital...

  • How Knife Capital once turned down JoJo Tanks because VC ‘didn’t see use case’

    With Cape Town in the grip of its worst drought in living memory JoJo Tanks has been catapulted into an overnight success story, and can barely keep up with demand. But the SA company was once turned down by one of the country's top venture capital (VC) firms, Knife Capital. Since its inception in 2010 Knife Capital has invested in some big names such as CSense (which exited to General Electric just a few months ago) and recently concluded a $110-million exit of Fundamo to Visa. But along the way the VC company has also made mistakes -- turning down big names that have gone...

  • Jozi Angels made 15 investments worth R6m in last 3 years – Abu Cassim

    Over the past three years, angel investor network Jozi Angels has made 15 investments totaling over R6-million says its founder and director Abu Cassim, who believes angel investing is picking up in South Africa. The Johannesburg-based network of 18 angel investors was informally started around 2015 and incorporated in 2017. "We’re coming off a low base," said Cassim (pictured above) in an email, adding that angel investing is still "a relatively new concept" in South Africa, with not many people familiar with what’s required or involved. "But activity is picking up with respect to both interest and number of deals," he added. Jozi...

  • Could this asset management startup be SA’s next ‘quant’ powerhouse?

    A Financial Times article published on Tuesday (20 March) describes interest in quantitative investing (quant investing) -- the use of powerful computers and artificial intelligence (AI) to search markets and big data sets for patterns that can be used by trading algorithms -- as one of the biggest trends in the money management industry. The article states that last year Larry Fink, the CEO of US asset manager BlackRock fired seven under-performing fund managers and moved the money they were managing to a "computer-powered" investment division called Systematic Active Equities (SAE). This division now reportedly outperforms the other more conventional stock...

  • SITA, Wits, Tshimologong Precinct launch $10k travel innovation award

    UK-based SITA Air Transport Community Foundation has partnered with Wits University and the Tshimologong Precinct to launch a $10 000 travel innovation award. The challenge? What information, tools or technology will first-time air travellers in Africa need to make their journeys easy, successful and enjoyable? The team that comes up with the best solution will be awarded with the SITA Air Transport Community Foundation Innovation Award and will receive a $10 000 cash prize. Drop-in session The innovation challenge is open to Wits students and active members of the Tshimologong Precinct. Each team -- comprising of between two and five members -- needs to submit...

  • Yoco had month of capital left in bank before we closed deal – Katlego Maphai

    SA fintech startup Yoco was living on the edge in the two years it took to conclude the company's first funding round, says co-founder and CEO Katlego Maphai. In a tell-all session at FuckUp Nights Cape Town -- held in Cape Town on Tuesday evening (20 March) and hosted by Aspiring Black Leaders and Cape Town Office -- Maphai detailed the struggle he and his three co-founders faced before they were able to clinch the startup's first round of funding. The deal, which involved an undisclosed amount in a round led by US-based Quona Capital and Netherlands-based Velocity Capital, was announced in March last year. Read more: Yoco concludes...

  • Here are the finalists of the Next Einstein Forum’s Ci2i Innovation Competition

    The Next Einstein Forum's (NEF) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung has announced the top 16 finalists of the Ci2i Innovation Competition. NEF -- an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences -- made the announcement in a statement on Tuesday (20 March) noting that the winners will be announced on 28 March at the closing ceremony of NEF's 2018 Global Gathering in Kigali, Rwanda. The second edition of the competition will see the finalists -- a mixture of scientists and entrepreneurs -- compete across three categories, namely data science and deep tech, personalised health and climate smart innovations. Thierry Zomahoun, president...

  • DataProphet secures ‘multi-million dollar’ funding from Knife Capital

    Cape Town-based machine learning startup DataProphet has secured a "multi-million dollar" funding round from venture capital firm Knife Capital. Speaking with Ventureburn, DataProphet co-founder and MD Frans Cronje (pictured above) said the startup had been in discussion with Knife Capital about the deal since the second half of last year. He would not disclose the exact amount of the deal. DataProphet employs machine learning to aid companies in developing products and solutions, with a particular focus on the manufacturing sector. Prior to this deal, the startup, which was founded in 2014 by Cronje and Daniel Schwartzkopff, had previously raised funding from private investment...

  • Startup scene ‘absolutely exploded’ after Silicon Cape launch – Justin Stanford

    Silicon Cape must continue to help trying to promote and grow Cape Town's tech startup community and to represent the idea of startups in South Africa and the community, and act in its best interests in whatever way it can, says venture capitalist Justin Stanford. Stanford (pictured above) founded Silicon Cape in 2009 together with tech entrepreneur Vinny Lingham to represent the city's growing tech startup scene. He claims after the two launched the organisation the city's tech scene "absolutely exploded" This week the organisation's chairperson Sumarie Roodt told Ventureburn that the organisation will be carrying out a review of its strategy. It follows the...

  • BitPesa launches in Ghana, extending presence in West Africa

    Nairobi-based digital payments startup BitPesa has launched in Ghana, enabling Ghanaians to settle global payments in their local currency, the Cedi. In a press release, the fintech company stated that its services will allow Ghanaians to make Ghanaian cedi payments that will settle in more than 10 currencies including Nigerian nairas, South Africa rands and Ugandan shillings. In the same statement, BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello (pictured above) said the company is "constantly looking for ways to promote intra-African trade". BitPesa will enable Ghanaians to make global payments using the Ghanaian Cedi "Ghanaians should be allowed to make global payments using their own currency and we are excited to facilitate...

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