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  • Rating the world: is Bugscore the most enterprising startup ever?

    Bugscore has a compelling premise: rate any person, product or business in the world. Investors are biting. The score almost anything startup headquartered in the UK, launched in March of this year, and following a US$330 000 seed round is already valued at US$2-million. Bugscore, currently in beta, is sort of what Jotly could have been if Firespotter Labs took its "rate everything" -- and we do mean everything -- app seriously. Unlike Jotly however, Bugscore won't allow you to issue inane rate things for that mountain ridge outside your window or the individual ice cubes in your glass of...

  • Company Office

    SA founder of Fintech platform Prodigy Finance announces over R3bn fundraise

    International fintech platform Prodigy Finance, which has developed the world’s first borderless credit model, today (21 August 2017) announced a R3.19-billion fundraise. The amount includes a R532-million Series-C equity round led by venture capital firm Index Ventures, with participation from Balderton Capital and AlphaCode; and a R2.66-billion debt facility led by a global investment bank. The company, which has 126 staff across offices in London, Cape Town, and New York, offers loans to postgraduate students accepted into business, engineering, law and public policy degrees at the world’s top universities, such as Harvard, Oxford, INSEAD and the University of Cape Town. Since it was established in 2007, the company has provided more...

  • FNB announces search for ‘next great innovator’

    Reckon you've got the next great innocation up your sleeve? Then South African banking giant FNB wants to hear from you. The bank, which last year claimed the title of world's most innovative bank at the BAI Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards, today announced the launch of the “Ideas Can Help” competition. The competition brief, says FNB, is to be creative, be original, while making a real difference to communities in South Africa. The winner will receive R 500 000 to develop their idea plus a one year Business Development Programme / Incubation from the Vumela Enterprise Development Fund....

  • Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi drives into Nigeria with global expansion

    Latin American taxi app today Easy Taxi announced its global expansion in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The company recently received an additional funding of US$10-million from Rocket Internet and African Internet Holding, which is helping fast track its growth strategy. The service works very much like Uber or similar cab services like Hailio. Download the Easy Taxi app, available for iOS, Android and the new BlackBerry devices, confirm your pickup point and order your cab. Users then receive confirmation of the name, photo and car model/plate of your driver, and will be able to follow the vehicle’s...

  • Wits University to conclude MIT tech entrepreneur incubation programme

    As we reported last month, the Johannesburg Centre of Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University is responsible for TechinBraam -- a new tech hub that focuses on innovation in the area. Now, the JCSE has been responsible for hosting an entrepreneurship training programme that was presented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and funded internationally by Google. The programme comes from a multidisciplinary group of MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives that focuses on encouraging tech development for emerging markets. Known as MIT AITI, this initiative involves a six week long incubator programme and included more than thirty engineering...

  • Venture Talk: Bootstrapping vs funding [Part One]

    Ventureburn's monthly panel show, Venture Talk, is out with its second edition, all about the pros and cons of bootstrapping versus getting funding. Guests Nic Haralambous, the founder of Nic Socks and Motribe (which exited to Mxit) and Emma Kaye, the founder of Bozza and formerly Triggerfish Studios (Khumba), chat to Mich Atagana about their entrepreneurial journeys and the various types of funding they used/received to start their diverse companies. Whether its bootstrapping, VC, Angel, or client funding, this candid talk gives insights into Haralambous and Kaye's funding experiences, and how the African tech scene tends to value the...

  • 4 things I wish I’d known about business 15 years ago

    Today I thought I’d jot down some of my learnings from the past 15 or so years of running smallish to biggish businesses. I sincerely believe that many of these are lessons you can only learn from experience -- and that if you have your own business you probably have to make these mistakes yourself before you can learn them. But nonetheless I’d characterise these as: the things I’d wish I’d known 15 years ago. 1. Medium is beautiful Good businesses grow. They have to for two key reasons: first, they have to keep pace with the increasing costs (and thus...

  • Exclusive: Could Thoopid be the Rovio of Africa with upcoming Snailboy game?

    High-quality games are not something you readily associate with Africa or South Africa's gaming scene. Sure there are a lot of gamers, and they all love to play high-quality titles, but it's a young and small scene on the development side. A startup based in Cape Town, Thoopid, is out to change all of that with its upcoming mobile game Snailboy, a game so beautifully animated, brimming with life and character, we'd go so far as to call it the Angry Birds of Africa, not least because Snailboy controls similarly to Angry Birds' 'catapult' mechanic. Snailboy is a simple enough concept:...

  • SEACOM goes social: plans community outreach programmes in Africa

    Cable and communications company, SEACOM is today celebrating the anniversary of its commercial launch by committing itself to community outreach programmes across the African continent. Going by the tagline "Building the African Internet," the company is mainly known for launching Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the eastern and southern coastlines in 2009. This year's initiatives revolve mainly around ICT and social development. Community projects across Africa are being carried out in an effort to further the company's social investment programme in the name of Foundation Day. In South Africa, the company will focus its efforts on Tembisa High...

  • China-Axlr8r partnership gives Tech Trailblazers Asian-Pacific Cup extra zing

    Tech Trailblazers has announced a new partnership with China-Axlr8r, China's "first mentorship-driven seed-funding startup program," giving added value to Chinese startups who enter the Tech Trailblazers Asian-Pacific Cup. The Tech Trailblazers Awards is a global online community that recognises and rewards the top IT startups from around the world in categories such as big data, cloud, mobile, networking, security, storage, sustainable IT and virtualisation technology, but also has the Emerging Markets Trailblazers and Regional Trailblazers Cups which are regional awards. The new partnership will see China-Axlr8r offer the winner of the Asian-Pacific Trailblazers Cup a free place in its 2014...

  • If we don’t get investment for our startup, what do we do?

    It often happens that entrepreneurs ask that question when attending events and meetings. They want a quick, accurate and succinct answer so they can move forward with their dreams. Unfortunately, it all starts with the advertising presented to us by the mass media where the major 'icons' of the entrepreneurial market (Facebook, AirBnB, Twitter, etc.) are characterised as the starting point, raising millions of dollars in investment rounds. In my experience, working for five years on our enterprise elMejorTrato, I made a mistake looking for investors and lost a few months, when in fact the focus and effort should have been...