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  • LaunchLab on the hunt for Western Cape’s best startups

    The Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab Business Incubator has kicked off the first leg of its biannual Ideas Programme Pitching Platform for 2016. Participants stand a chance of winning a share of over R150 000 in incubation support services. The platform initially takes the form of a series of events where startups can record their pitches. The recordings are then filtered through a judging round to select finalists to pitch at the final event, which will be hosted at the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab. “This programme is open to all aspiring and practising entrepreneurs from student and non-student communities who...

  • Company Office

    CompareGuru set to simplify financial services for SA consumers

    Launches new site with advanced features and real-time services.  For most time-constrained South Africans, choosing between financial products and service providers is a laborious and challenging task. Despite the increasing access to all sorts of information online, it remains a complex and daunting process to sift through various product offerings, pricing structures, terms and conditions, etc. “This complexity is especially problematic when trying to choose between products and providers in the mobile, banking and insurance spheres, where contracts are often filled with jargon and consumers are understandably wary of hidden fees,” explains Ryan Marx, CEO of CompareGuru, a site which draws...

  • Fundamo Diaries — Keeping faith during dark times [Part 4]

    The following article is part of a series of extracts from South African entrepreneur Hannes Van Rensburg’s upcoming book, "Cash In, Cash Out". The founder and CEO of the fintech company Fundamo, van Rensburg recalls the events that have helped shape the world’s mobile banking industry as we know it as well as those leading up to the company’s exit to Visa for a whopping US$110-million. In this, the final article in the series, van Rensburg recalls the time he was at a Christian outreach programme in 2007, and was forced to decide between two keen investors that would help...

  • Special Podcast #16: Matthew Buckland in conversation with Vinny Lingham

    Earlier this week, Burn Media publisher Matthew Buckland and serial entrepreneur and investor Vinny Lingham joined forces for a fireside chat hosted by the Silicon Cape Initiative. The event, titled "Silicon Cape to Silicon Valley", was wide-ranging, covering everything from the opportunities available to startups in trying economic times and why the Western Cape is home to so many more startups than the rest of South Africa to what Lingham looks for when it comes to investing in a company. If you missed the event, don't worry. We've got your back. Ventureburn was on-hand to record the talk, which you can...

  • Startups in energy, water space could win a spot at African Utility Week

    Water and energy management are two of the biggest issues facing the African continent right now. And in order to solve them, innovators and entrepreneurs need to find ways of disrupting the status quo. In a bid to identify those pioneers, African Utility Week has announced its Innovation Hub, which will give 20 startups and young innovators the chance to show off their projects at the 3-day conference, to be held in Cape Town between 17 and 19 May. “Innovation and entrepreneurship form the lifeblood of any economy and the energy and water sectors need this more than ever”...

  • The 6 biggest obstacles startups face in Africa

    Emerging businesses in Africa overwhelmingly fuel the economy and provide the majority of local jobs. Globalization has presented African entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity to expand their services and offerings worldwide at a scale that has never been available before. However, though globalization provides them with countless opportunities, business owners have several challenges to overcome that are mostly exclusive to Africa. Startups have six main obstacles to overcome: Limited access to financing, weak infrastructure, inconsistent government regulations, globalization, minimal assistance from the government, and cross-border payments. 1. Limited access to financing By far, the most significant obstacle to startups is a lack...

  • MasterCard on the hunt for hot startups from Africa, the Middle East

    Payments giant MasterCard has put out a call for startups to apply for the latest iteration of its Start Path programme. MasterCard StartPath describes itself as a global effort to support innovative early stage startups developing the next generation of commerce solutions. Since 2014, MasterCard says, Start Path has provided more than 60 startups a variety of operational support, mentorship. The 2016 programme, it adds, has been designed to with the knowledge that the right corporate-startup partnership gives startups an accelerated path to scale innovative solutions. It's also looking to intensify its efforts in the Middle East and Africa region...

  • Incubator on the hunt for hot, black-owned startups in the Western Cape

    New Generation Mindset (NGM), a Johannesburg-headquartered enterprise development and social economic development consultancy, has put out a call for black-owned tech startups to join its incubation programme in the Western Cape. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, NGM isn't interested in quick-fix solutions. Instead, it says, you will find "a group of committed individuals dedicated to growing startups and developing sustainable enterprises in South Africa". Read more: The Creative Counsel incubator to support transformation in SA "Whilst funding is key for most start-ups, the group says, "without the necessary business knowledge, support and training, chances of survival...

  • How your ecommerce company can oust Amazon

    Ecommerce is in vogue. According to eMarketer, it will account for almost nine percent of total retail sales by 2018, up from 5.9% in 2014. And by 2019, ecommerce spend is set to surpass US$3 trillion. But with Amazon currently snatching "23% market share of online retail sales," it may seem like a behemoth to beat. Customers go straight to the site for everything from laundry detergent to sports memorabilia. And with thousands of options for each product, Amazon is killing the search game. It was brilliant from the get-go at building reviews, crafting fresh content, and creating SEM-friendly product...

  • Want to make it big in Fintech? London’s the place to be

    London has always been one of the world's major financial centres. It shouldn't be all that surprising then that, as technology's evolved, it's also become a global fintech capital. In fact, more Londoners are employed in the sector than any other city worldwide, standing at 44 000 (1 000 more than New York). London is a major hub for big data. There are an estimated 54 000 big data workers within 25 miles of London, compared to 57 000 for New York City and 98 000 for San Francisco/Silicon Valley. That's according to financing expert and writer Karen Melonie Gould,...

  • Sir Richard Branson to be keynote speaker at Sage Summit 2016

    Brittish entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin brand, Sir Richard Branson, will be a keynote speaker at the Sage Summit 2016 event. It will take place from 25-28 July in Chicago, Illinois. Branson will be talking about his journey from DIY magazine publisher to his success, as well as his current exploits. "We are thrilled to host Sir Richard Branson as our marquee keynote speaker for Sage Summit 2016. This is the largest event for the world’s small businesses and entrepreneurs, and I know they will be inspired and energized by one of the world’s most successful and passionate entrepreneurs," says CEO of Sage Stephen...