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  • 500 Startups launches $10m fund for Vietnam

    When 500 Startups founding partner Dave McClure excitably tweeted this week that he was on a flight to Vietnam, we knew something was up. Today, the Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm announced it set up a US$10 million microfund for Vietnam, a country it’s very bullish about. The move wasn’t a surprise though; talks about it surfaced last year. The microfund will aim to make 100 to 150 investments in Vietnamese startups, 500 Startups says on its site. “We believe there are many interesting near-term investment opportunities in B2B and enterprise SaaS, fintech, and ecommerce, but ultimately we are ‘vertical agnostic, returns religious,’” the...

  • 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...

  • Exclusive: Sendr delivers SA’s next big courier startup

    South African-based startup Sendr wants to deliver your packages in a flash. Its on-demand service means parcels can be delivered in an hour. "We're an Uber of parcels, documents and small items. We see ourselves as a personal concierge service," says co-founder and CEO of Sendr, Neo Lekgabo (pictured above centre). Sendr is based around a delivery app. The customer books a collection and the company handles the rest, including insurance for all items that are transported. Where this startup stands out from the rest is its utilisation of a one-time password (OTP) system. In order for any delivery to take place, the...

  • Two new funds to pump $60m+ into African startups

    It looks like 2016 could be a big year for African startup funds. Within the last seven days alone two new new funds, set to pump more than US$60-million into the African startup space, were announced. The funds, announced at the first Africa Business Angel Forum (ABAF) held at the Lansdowne Club in London, are aimed specifically at scaling up African ventures. The first of the funds, worth US$50-million, comes courtesy of Neils Ellegard, Founder of Reewire and Managing Partner of United+, based in the US and Africa. Next up was Ellen van den Broek, Director of Aurorae who...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [07/03/2016]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or scratch up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There are loads of competitions, networking sessions and workshops happening around South Africa and the rest of the continent (namely Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana) that we’ve rounded up to make your life a bit easier. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list, or...

  • Taking your startup global? Here’s how to harness the power of an international network

    It’s one thing having to establish a reputable and trustworthy brand in the country of origin, but doing so on an international level is a daunting task, even for the most adept business owner. Building sustainable business relationships in an international market often proves to be a tricky task, even for those with access to their own private jet and having the luxury to travel abroad every couple of weeks. Howard Blake has found ways to navigate these difficulties and has come out on top, having built a powerhouse international network that supports and believes in his business. A challenging landscape One...

  • SA startup Giraffe bags US$500k Seedstars World grand prize

    South African-based mobile recruitment platform Giraffe took home the US$500 000 investment grand prize at the Seedstars World Summit in Switzerland. "We're really grateful for this award. But we still have a long way to go and a lot of hard work to do before we achieve our mission of helping reducing unemployment in the emerging world and lifting people out of poverty," says founder & head of product at Giraffe, Shafin Anwarsha. Finalists participated in a two-day boot camp where the final 11 contestants were selected. The startups then pitched for the final prize of US$500 000 among other prizes on offer. Giraffe...

  • Net Prophet Sparkup accelerator opens applications for over R1m pitching programme

    The Net Prophet Sparkup accelerator programme is accepting applications for its 2016 event. It will run from 1-4 April with over R1-million in Angel funding up for grabs. Previously named Net Prophet Startup Workshop, the programme is geared towards coaching tech-based and tech-enabled startups to be investor ready. Only 15 qualifying startups will be accepted for the three-day 'intensive' training regime. It will be followed by a live pitching session to angel investors on 4 April. Training will include coaching and one-on-one sessions from various industry experts, among whom will be seasoned business mentor and founder of MentorCamp Canada, Permjot Valia. Read more: Everything you...

  • Vinny Lingham, Matthew Buckland to chat ‘Silicon Cape to Silicon Valley’

    On Monday, 7 March Gyft founder and Dragon Vinny Lingham will join publisher and agency head Matthew Buckland for a fireside chat hosted by the Silicon Cape Initiative. The event, titled "Silicon Cape to Silicon Valley" will cover Lingham's entrepreneurial journey from his days as co-founder of companies such as Clicks2Customers and Yola, to his recent successes in Silicon Valley with the likes of Gyft, which he sold for a reported US$50-million and Civic, his new data protection service, which just raised US$2.75-million. As a co-founder of Silicon Cape who has also made it big in Silicon Valley, Lingham is uniquely...

  • Streamlining processes: how to improve business relations

    The cool thing about streamlining your business is that, well, you can make more money if you do so. You can save yourself time and labor. You can move to a more automated system that allows for growth and you can keep your customers satisfied. All in one fell swoop, as they say. Is this some magic formula that's been kept in a vaulted dungeon somewhere all these years? Is this some basic business principle that's been around forever and is now just been given a fancy, new name? Is this just a way to sell you some software? What if...

  • Japan, you have a unicorn. Mercari’s valuation rises over $1b

    Time to update our list of Japanese unicorns. Mercari, an app for selling second-hand goods, has just raised US$74 million in its series D at a valuation of over US$1 billion. (Hat-tip toTechCrunch.) Since starting in 2013, the company has raised US$110 million. The current round features a whos who of Japan’s investment community with Mitsui & Co., Development Bank of Japan, Japan Co-Invest, Globis Capital Partners, World Innovation Lab, and Global Brain all on board. In just three short years, the app has seen meteoric success. The company’s latest press release notes that it fulfills US$88 million worth of orders...