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  • The year of mobile? 9 of Africa’s most exciting startup investments of 2015

    If you ever doubted the significance of mobile innovations in Africa, then this year's developments are likely change your mind once and for all. Not only has 2015 been a good year for investments in startups across the continent (the most we've seen in South Africa thus far), millions of dollars are flowing towards mobile innovations. From micro-jobbing platforms to peer-to-peer payment solutions, more and more investors are growing confident in the potential of the many interesting mobile solutions Africa has to offer. But apart from smartphone applications, companies like M-Kopa and Off Grid Electric are fast growing in popularity....

  • Company Office

    How to find a strong mentor to guide you to business success

    Why every entrepreneur needs multiple mentors… While the challenges of being an entrepreneur have been well-documented, reports often fail to describe the feelings of self-doubt, loneliness and isolation that tend to plague aspiring entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. No amount of angel funding, slick technology or strategic business consulting can really assuage the feelings of doubt that accompany starting a brave new enterprise. Yet this is where strong mentorship can play a critical role – and in fact can prove to be far more valuable than landing an investment deal or angel fund backing. Mentors can keep tired...

  • This inspiring entrepreneur proves startups can be born from anywhere [correction]

    Correction: this article originally stated that Kanayo Okwuraiwe was let go from his previous employer Ad Dynamo. We have since updated the article to reflect that Okwuraiwe left Ad Dynamo on a mutually agreed basis. Kanayo Okwuraiwe is an entrepreneur that has been through an incredible amount of hardship over the last few years. Even with these problems, he sees disaster as a blessing rather than a curse and shows us that entrepreneurs can come from anywhere, regardless of circumstance, or personal loss. A taxi lies overturned on a Lagos highway. Moments ago, its tire burst, sending the vehicle skidding along the road and...

  • Nitestay’s attempt to stand out in Nigeria’s highly competitive hotel booking space

    Even though ecommerce giants Jumia and Konga are still Nigeria’s foremost startup companies, attention is gradually being extended to other sectors as 2015 saw the launch of quite a number of well-equipped startups emerge in non-retail sectors. A sector that saw surge in the number of new companies is the online hotel booking space which used to be dominated by the likes of Mark Essien’s Hotels.ng and Rocket Internet-backed Jovago. But that’s not all. There is also Hotelnownow, SlimTrader also secured US$1-million to grow its online booking platform and several similar services are expected to be rolled out in the...

  • Ventureburn’s top 5 tech startups in South Africa of 2015

    There's no doubt that 2015 has been an exciting year for South African innovation. Out of the hundreds of companies building exciting new products and services, five stand out for their innovative solutions, impact, and sustainability as businesses. "Its been a great year for startup South Africa, which started on a high with the January sale of Stellenbosch-based iKubu to Nasdaq-listed Garmin and has ended with the recently announced sale of Kapa BioSystems," echoes Vuyisa Qabaka from Abaphumeleli Business Consultants, who assisted with nominations. Other judges Ventureburn consulted with include CEO of Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative Ian Merrington, Knife Capital's...

  • Banking on ecommerce growth in SA — Q&A with The Foschini Group’s Brent Curry

    Even though South Africa's ecommerce sector is estimated to estimated to make up only one percent of the total market for consumer goods, we've over the last few years seen many players bank on this figure to grow. Investors are confident to say the least. To give you an idea of how determined stakeholders are hundreds of millions of dollars have been pumped into online-only stores like Takealot, while traditional retailers are forced to restructure their entire business models in order to stay relevant. At the same time the latter group is constantly trying to perfect the omni-channel experience, where...

  • Ventureburn’s 2015 top 10 podcasts that you have to listen to

    One of the exciting things at Ventureburn in 2015 was visiting startups in their offices -- be they shared spaces, artsy dens or a cluttered mess. Apart from capturing images of these liars of innovation, we sat down with some of the most intriguing startup founders and spoke to them about their ventures and the industry they operate in. As you sit at home during these December holidays, contemplating quitting your job and starting a business, these podcasts can offer much needed personal stories from startups founders. 1. Special Podcast #1: Jacques Coetzee chats with Mark Forrester from WooThemes Earlier this year...

  • What you need to know about growing your marketplace

    If you’re a new startup, or contemplating starting out, odds are you are thinking of creating something as a “two-sided platform.” That is, a platform-based business where you connect service givers to customers -- think Practo or Redbus. Now, if you’re starting out, you’re probably thinking, but how do I overcome our daily challenges to get there? The question gets all the more relevant in India now, as 2016 is going to see some major cold feet from investors. That means no more easy money, and no more “if I’m a startup, someone will fund me” assurances. Only those with solid...

  • The rise of African startups is a business opportunity, not a threat

    We are in the middle of a tech startup frenzy, with research suggesting that South Africa alone is home to more than 5 000 tech startups. Rather than just seeing this rise of new potential competitors as a threat, enterprises should take the opportunity to transform themselves, work and learn together -- and bottle some of that entrepreneurial spirit. Last year, a report on tech startups published in The Economist, likened the sudden growth in digital startups to “an entrepreneurial explosion”. The report explored the fact that “digital startups are bubbling up in an astonishing variety of services and products,...

  • Kenyan startup OkHi raises $75k from Garage Capital in latest round

    Location-based addressing app OkHi has raised US$750 000 in funding. The local and international investors include the likes of Silicon Valley-based Garage Capital, and former Google CFO Patrick Pichette among others. The startup previously raised funding in early 2015 from angel investors to the tune of US$325 000 and a further US$100 000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As reported by TechCabal, OhKi co-founder and CEO Timbo Drayson is pleased with this new round. We couldn’t be more excited about the investors who we have on board, not only do they help validate the opportunity ahead of us, but...

  • Padi is Nigeria’s new hyper-local delivery service

    Nigerian internet company Iconway has launched Padi, described as a hyper-local delivery service. It allows people to order products from neighbourhood stores and have them delivered to their doorstep within just 90 minutes. Nigeria's ecommerce space is growing fast, with online retailers like Jumia, Konga and Kaymu all trying to get a slice of the pie. But instead of connecting Nigerians with online retailers, Padi wants to connect offline stores with customers. Iconway is described as an African consumer internet company with interests in mobile, media, commerce and advertising platforms. Some of its products include Nigerian Monitor, KokoFeed, Stargist and PricePadi. Read...