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  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [06/08/2018]

    The biggest tech event taking place this week is the Netrepreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions special event organised by Alibaba Business School, Unctad and the Jack Ma Foundation. At the event, which will be held at the Wits Linder Auditorium, Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma is expected to launch the Netrepreneur Prize which aims to support exemplary young internet leaders. August is Women's Month and there are several events dedicated to celebrating women and their leadership. One of these, a learning lunch in honour of Women's Day in Cape Town takes place on 8 August. It will see Mbekani Group founder Judy Dlamini share key insights from...

  • Company Office

    Bookmark Awards 2016 Entry Series: Community

    With the deadline for entries to the prestigious IAB SA Bookmark Awards extended to 30 November, digital marketers have one last opportunity to enter and do battle for the industry’s most coveted awards across eight categories, of which the Community category is one. The Bookmark Awards celebrate the country’s most creative and high-impact digital executions and rewards excellence in digital advertising and publishing work, benchmarked against the highest international standards. “Marketing to online communities is fast becoming one of the most important components of digital marketing,” says Fred Roed, Head of IAB SA’s Agency Council. “Communities provide the opportunity to turn...

  • Jack Ma to attend Unctad, Alibaba Group event on digital economy in Joburg

    Jack Ma, the Alibaba Group founder and UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) special advisor, is set to speak at an event on the digital economy next week Wednesday (8 August) in Johannesburg. The event -- titled Netrepreneurs: The Rise of Africa's Digital Lions -- is jointly organised by Alibaba Business School, Unctad and the Jack Ma Foundation. It will be held at the Linder Auditorium. Those looking to attend the event can register here, or catch the live stream from 1pm Central African Time. At the even Ma, who advises Unctad on youth entrepreneurship and small businesses, is expected to announce the launch of the Jack Ma Africa Netrepreneur...

  • Microsoft funds three African startups to boost rural internet access

    Tech giant Microsoft has, through its Airband Grant Fund, invested an undisclosed amount in three startups to provide internet access and cloud-enabled solutions to underserved African communities. The three startup are: Mesh Power and ColdHubs which hail from Rwanda and Nigeria, respectively, and Agsol -- which is registered in Hong Kong and Australia -- has operations in Kenya. The three were part of eight startups from the US, Africa and Asia that the company announced it had invested in yesterday. In a blog post on Wednesday (1 August), Microsoft head of technology and corporate responsibility Shelley McKinley said the eight startups are helping to...

  • Silicon Cape launches new membership model, strategy

    Cape Town based tech initiative Silicon Cape has launched its new strategic plan, as well as a new membership model. The organisation, which aims to support the Western Cape tech community, launched the new membership model and strategic plan at an event on Monday (30 July) in Cape Town. The new strategy aims to connect stakeholders, amplify stories of the continent's tech innovators, advocate on behalf of the ecosystem, build networks for student entrepreneurs and build connections with other hubs across the continent. Silicon Cape's new membership model offers different paid-for plans, which start at R500 Silicon Cape's new membership model offers different paid-for plans. These...

  • Is Silvertree’s co-entrepreneur model the answer to Silicon Valley?

    What is a co-entrepreneur? A glorified manager or a true entrepreneur? For Silvertree Internet Holdings managing director and co-founder Manuel Koser a co-entrepreneur is any entrepreneur whose business the holding company buys out and then asks to stay on. Koser argued in an article on Ventureburn last month that the Silicon Valley model -- of investing round after round of funds through often minority stakes in a startup before exiting for tens of millions of dollars -- does not work in Africa. The alternative, he believes, is a holding company that buys up significant (usually majority) stakes in startups and turns their founders into what he terms...

  • Lessons from a business sale that didn’t quite go right – Farmcrowdy founder

    His business may have raised a $1-million round from Silicon Valley investors in December last year. But Farmcrowdy founder Onyeka Akumah says he learnt how not to do business when he sold his last business some years ago. Although Akumah (pictured above) won't disclose the name of the startup -- a news aggregator which he founded with a friend in 2012 and subsequently sold to Nigerian newspaper Business Day -- he says it taught him "how not to do business". "We latter sold parts of it. It’s one of the lessons I’ve learnt how not to do business," he says. "We raised...

  • SA drone startup Aerobotics launches bid to take on US market

    SA aerial data-analytics startup Aerobotics has hired a US representative and plans to expand into the US market, with a team from the startup set to embark on a sales visit to the US tomorrow (3 August). It follows the announcement the Cape Town based startup made last month that it had closed a Series-A funding round led by local bank Nedbank for an undisclosed amount (see this earlier story). Aerobotics co-founder James Paterson -- who founded the startup in 2014 with Benji Meltzer -- revealed the developments at a sales demo yesterday at Boshkloof Wine Estate near Stellenbosch. The demo was aimed at presenting the product...

  • Andela’s VP global operations on why Kigali is strategic location for tech hub

    US software training organisation Andela is betting on East Africa as a strategic location from which to recruit and train software developers for top employers around the world. And the organisation's vice president for global operations -- Seni Sulyman -- believes the region has a supply of "amazing" tech talent and potential for growth. "Over the years, Kenya’s Silicon Savannah has had a tremendous impact on the region in terms of developing a strong tech scene that has seen a proliferation of talent and innovative startups," Sulyman told Ventureburn in an email last Wednesday (29 July). Andela's Kigali hub is set to open this December The effects of this...

  • Meet the 2018 #InspiringFiftySA winners

    After months of collecting the stories of South African women at the forefront of some of the biggest impacts in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) sector, the Netherlands Consulate General has announced this year’s #InspiringFiftySA winners. This year marks the second edition of the global initiative which welcomed 276 nominees at the closing of the nomination period on 9 July. In a statement today (1 August) Netherlands Consul General Bonnie Horbach said the judges had a hard time selecting the final 50 based on the high calibre of the nominees. "These groundbreaking women will not only be recognised in South Africa, but will form...

  • ‘Luno making progress to get users’ money back from Malaysian account’ [Updated]

    Just over five months since Malaysia's tax authority took the decision to unfreeze SA bitcoin exchange Luno's Malaysian bank account, the startup says it is making progress in helping customers to get their money back. The tax authority in January froze the startup’s Malaysia bank account with Maybank, after it launched a probe into the cryptocurrency company’s activities in Malaysia. It unfroze the account in February. "We are making progress in Malaysia, but these things take time as you can understand," Vijay Ayyar, who leads the Luno's global countries team told Ventureburn in an email today. "Our immediate priority was to help customers get their money back which is...