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  • Innotribe Startup Challenge looks to Africa, Latin America for fintech innovation

    Global provider of secure financial messaging, SWIFT has announced that its innovation arm, Innotribe Startup Challenge, will be expanding its focus to include emerging fintech ecosystems in Africa and Latin America. Innotribe will partner with SWIFT African Regional Conference (ARC) for the second year in a row, and will host a similar SWIFT regional event for Latin America. As part of the programme, Innotribe will organise business-specific challenges. They will also bring together SWIFT member institutions, internal teams, solution providers and hand-picked fintech startups. These teams will explore potential opportunities for select business areas and work on proof of concepts that may...

  • Company Office

    Be good at being wrong… and getting it right quickly

    Even the best entrepreneurs get things wrong from time to time. Launching a business is a learning process, and you are bound to go down dead ends and change direction here and there, says CEO of Nomanini, Vahid Monadjem.  One of our investors, Esther Dyson, has the words “Always make new mistakes!” in her email footer. Being wrong is pretty much unavoidable when you’re doing something new. You have to work with a mixture of facts and assumptions. You don’t have a crystal ball, but you have to take a view. And even if a solution or a strategy is...

  • Bitcoin exchange startup BitX secures funding from Asia’s Venturra Capital

    Emerging market bitcoin exchange startup BitX has just announced an undisclosed round of funding from Southeast Asia's Venturra Capital. Venturra Capital is a US$150-million Southeast Asia-focused venture fund based out of Jakarta. "Venturra is one of those rare funds that doesn’t just talk about adding value, but actually does it, in a consistent, relevant and tangible way," BitX co-founder and CEO, Marcus Swanepoel. "This, combined with their unrivalled expertise and networks in the Southeast Asian market, makes for an exciting partnership that will help solidify our leading position in the region." Werner van Rooyen, who heads up business development at BitX, tells...

  • iRoko, Canal+ to launch Africa’s first French subscription VoD service in ‘multi-million euro’ deal

    French film studio and distributor Canal+ Group has partnered with online film platform iRoko to launch Africa's first French-speaking subscription video on demand (SVoD) service. This is said to be part of a "multi-million euro deal" between the two companies. The service will first launch as an Android-only app with download functionality in the coming months. It will also be optimised to save on data bandwidth costs. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, there are 250 million French-speaking individuals across 23 African countries. This collaboration sees language as the first step to bringing content closer to viewers. All content...

  • African economic slump reveals hot spots ripe for investment

    When the International Monetary Fund slashed sub-Saharan Africa’s growth projections this spring, it seemed that the continent’s brief day in the sun had come to an end. The IMF downgraded the growth forecast from 5.8 percent to 4.5 percent in May and again to 3.8 percent in September. The move came as no surprise, given decreased momentum in major markets such as Nigeria, where growth slowed to a paltry 2.3 percent in the year’s second quarter. The South African economy underwent a 1.3 percent contraction during the same period. This dismal news sparked speculation that a recession was ahead, and...

  • More startups should leverage big data during festive seasons, says FNB

    Big data doesn't just benefit big business. According to head of analytics for FNB Business, Yudhvir Seetharam, more startups are leveraging the power of big data to predict consumer trends and increase profitability during busy holiday seasons. "From a customer demand perspective, businesses often plan ahead by identifying the peak time for sales and the products that customers spend most of their money on," Seetharam says in a recent press release. Read more: What can big data do for small startups? For example, he points out, business owners usually analyse historical data to figure out peak and off-peak times for sales, and use...

  • 5 startups to watch in China in 2016

    It sometimes feels like China’s tech scene is dominated by giant companies. Tencent, Baidu, Xiaomi and the like are behemoth, multi-billion dollar enterprises. It’s easy to forget that five years ago Xiaomi was secretly prepping to launch its first phone. In that spirit, we examined five companies that caught our eye in 2015 – and which might turn some heads in 2016. Dianrong: because China’s small-business lending sector was a complete mess Peer-to-peer lending services exploded in China in 2015 – and no company embodied this trend better than Dianrong. Launched in 2012, the Shanghai-based company focuses on personal and small...

  • Management software startup Kitchen Manager wins Traction Bus

    South Africa's management software company Kitchen Manager just stepped off the Traction Bus as the ultimate mobile startup in Gauteng. Hosted by Startup Edge, Traction Bus set out to find the top mobile startup in Gauteng earlier this year. The purpose of the competition is to connect, expose and celebrate the startup ecosystem participants while giving entrepreneurs an access to resources. Gauteng was Traction Bus' first leg where four hubs were visited and 19 finalists chosen out of nearly 200 applicants. The finalists got the opportunity to travel on the bus, visiting hubs in Gauteng to expose founders to the startup...

  • How B2B startups promote big data for business growth, efficiency

    The relationship between business and big data is growing ever tighter. This sentiment is expected to intensify as adoption becomes more mainstream and as more solutions that transform data into actionable information begin to appear in the market. A survey performed and published by Gartner towards the end of 2014 has demonstrated that 74% of businesses have plans to invest in big data over the following two-year period, a testament to the growing dependency that businesses have on this technology to remain competitive. In fact, we do not really have to wait for solutions to appear in the market right...

  • Most startup founders fear the tech industry is in a bubble, survey finds

    Over the past two years there's been a lot of talk regarding "unicorns", or startups carrying US$1-billion valuations. While the buzzword still makes for catchy headlines, skeptics fear that there is a bubble developing within the tech industry. This belief has been reiterated in a new report by US-based First Round Capital, which surveyed 500 VC-backed startup founders. The majority (73%) believe that we are, in fact, in a bubble or witnessing over-speculation of the tech industry. Specifically, industries such as wearables and bitcoin are believed to be overhyped, while autonomous vehicles and mobile are underhyped. Prospects for the VC industry overall don't...

  • SA mobile shopping app MySideKick announces R4m staged investment

    South African mobile shopping app startup MySideKick has announced it received R4-million from EM Software & Systems' tech fund and accelerator Alchemy-A in a staged investment, meaning the entire amount is not invested upfront. Based in the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab, MySidekick seeks to give users easy access to specials, promotions, sales, products and coupons of some of the country’s major retailers based on your location. Founder and CEO of MySidekick, Leonard Brewer, says "We are very pleased with the investment agreement. It has given us additional resources required for growth and expansion." Alchemy-A provides seed funding to startups and invest in...