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  • MFS Africa secures follow-on funding, bringing Series-B round to $14m

    Johannesburg-based fintech company MFS Africa has closed a Series-B funding round led by China-based VC firm LUN Partners Group. The raise is an extension round to a $4.5-million round the company closed earlier this year, and brings the total round of funding to $14-million (see this earlier story). The mobile payments services provider's current shareholder Goodwell Investments -- an Amsterdam-based investment firm -- also participated in the extension round, as did ShoreCap III, an LP managed by US-based Equator Capital Partners and UK-based FSD Africa. MFS Africa was founded in 2009 by Dare Okoudjou (pictured above). In April Okoudjou declined to disclose to Ventureburn the equity stake that was offered up in return for...

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    Mama Money makes FICA simple: take a photo and a selfie

    The South African-based fintech startup that offers the cheapest cross border money transfer rates into key African countries and now into India, has introduced the easiest online registration process using its app – taking a photo and a selfie. This is a first in South Africa and is approved by the Financial Intelligence Centre and the SA Reserve Bank. Mama Money co-founder, Raphael Grojnowski (pictured above, right), explains: “To register, you simply download the Mama Money Family App from the Google Play store, enter you contact details, take a photo of your passport or ID and a selfie holding the document. This is...

  • Here’s who won at the SA finals of the Southern Africa Startup Awards

    The Southern Africa Startup Awards last week Wednesday (24 October), in partnership with Startup Grind Johannesburg, announced the 15 winners of the SA finals which make up the Southern Africa Startup Awards. The awards are part of the Global Startup Awards. The finalists were announced at an event held at the rooftop bar Bird House in Johannesburg. In all 75 finalists were shortlisted across 15 categories with the eventual winners selected through public voting and an adjudication process. The 15 winners will represent South Africa at the regional grand finale of the Southern Africa Startup Awards which will take place on 21...

  • Meet the 11 startups that will pitch at Seedstars Douala

    Seedstars World, one of the largest startup competitions for emerging markets, has announced the 11 startups that will pitch at Seedstars Douala this Friday (2 November). The startup that comes out tops at the pitch event, which will be held at tech hub ActivSpaces, will win an all-inclusive trip to attend the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland in April next year, where the startup stands to win up to $1-million in equity investment. In addition, the winning startup will also represent Cameroon at the Seedstars Africa Regional Summit which will take place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 13 December. As part of an agreement with Seedstars, Ventureburn readers...

  • Nigeria’s Microtraction announces investment into Lagos-based fintech Riby

    Nigerian investment platform Microtraction has announced its seventh deal, with an undisclosed investment in Lagos-based fintech Riby. Microtraction's principal investment officer Dayo Koleowo made the announcement on the investment platform's Medium profile yesterday (29 October). Riby's smart finance management platform provides co-operatives, company groups, associations and financial development institutions with tools that help them manage their members savings and contributions, lending and investments. The startup was founded in 2016 by CEO Salami Abolore (pictured above). Riby was founded in 2016 by CEO Salami Abolore Although Microtraction did not reveal the terms of the deal, the platform states on its website that it ordinarily invests $65 000 in two stages....

  • Bank Zero to begin beta testing in the first quarter of 2019

    Venture capitalist and former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan's new app-based Bank Zero plans to begin beta testing in the first quarter of 2019, before launching to the public in mid-2019, the bank said in a statement today. The bank has begun alpha testing, with CEO Yatin Narsai calling it "a major achievement", and adding that most institutions invest "billions" just to get here. A small team at Bank Zero is currently conducting the testing, which involves: Using the banking app with its integration to the new core banking platform. Full end-to-end testing of the customer experience from "on-boarding" through to actual transacting. Perfecting the integrated business, security and...

  • Collaborative medicine platform Rema wins Seedstars Abidjan 2018

    Healthtech startup Réseau d'Échange entre Médecins d'Afrique (Rema) has been selected as the winner of this year's Seedstars Abidjan pitch event. The pitch was held last Friday (26 October). Rema's collaborative medicine service enables doctors in Africa, through the Rema app, to collaborate — in real-time — to make better decisions. The startup was founded in January by CEO Sedric Degbo (pictured above). The startup is based in Cotonou in Benin. A jury panel comprised of Seedstars World's associate for business development in Francophone Africa Fanny Dauchez, Interaction founder Clyde Vacher, AfricInvest senior manager Cheikh-Souleymane Diallo, African Development Bank chief entrepreneurship and SME development...

  • Local venture capitalist blames Silicon Valley for over valuation of SA startups

    Over valuations are becoming increasingly prevalent among early-stage entrepreneurs in South Africa and Silicon Valley is to blame. So, says venture capitalist Clive Butkow of Kalon Venture Partners, who -- when asked last week by Ventureburn on what drives over valuations of local startups -- blamed the unrealistic perceptions on local startup founders who spend too much time in Silicon Valley where venture capitalists are quick to throw out large valuations without writing out a cheque. "Often we do find the entrepreneurs coming back to reality and revising down their ask," he said, adding that over valuations are also driven by founders who raise smaller amounts from...

  • Enter the 2018 Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey and win! [Updated]

    UPDATE: SA startups have until midnight this Monday, 5 November, to enter. In addition, Ventureburn has now added two new prizes to encourage startups to enter -- a brand new iPhone X valued at over R21 000 and two cases of venture capitalist Michael Jordaan's Montegray wine, a 2015 Syrah worth over R2000. Ventureburn, in partnership with Telkom Futuremakers and analytics company Qurio, is proud to announce the launch of the 2018 Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey. Following the success of both its 2015 and 2017 tech startup surveys, Ventureburn will again uncover the nuts and bolts of the SA tech startup sector, seeking to discover among other things: What...

  • Global venture capitalist Kamran Elahian to keynote Angel Fair Africa in Maputo

    Iranian-American serial entrepreneur and global venture capitalist Kamran Elahian is set to present the keynote speech for the sixth edition of Angel Fair Africa, which takes place on 29 and 30 November in Maputo, Mozambique. Elahian, who is the co-founder and chairman of international early-stage tech venture capital Global Catalyst Partners, has been involved in founding over 10 hi-tech companies, including software firm CAE Systems which was acquired in 1981 by Tektronix for $75-million. Angel Fair Africa aims to brings together accelerators, incubators, emerging businesses and investors from across the continent. Since the first edition of the conference in Johannesburg in 2013, Angel Fair Africa claims it has helped catalyse...

  • Faced with a small VC scene, Ugandan founders dig deep to bootstrap startups

    For Ugandan entrepreneur Brian Matsiko, raising funding for his fresh food delivery platform has been far from easy. It's taken him six years to raise the capital to start the business. "Sometimes, I had to walk long distance every morning and evening to save on transport and save money for the idea I believed in," says Matsiko (pictured above, far left) who leaned on friends and relatives to tap the funding he needed to get his business going. He started saving money for his startup Bringo Fresh, while still at university, putting away about 50 000 Ugandan Shillings ($13) a month. Then in 2014 when...

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