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  • Startup Funding: Not Always Straightforward

    As with many things in life, there's the good, the creative, and the downright weird. Startup funding is no exception, as the following examples prove. Gamble BloomNation is an online flower marketplace, founded by CEO Farbod Shoraka and his team after trying of seeing only bland design online. David Daneshgar and Gregg Weisstein, friends and co-founders of Sharoka's, discussed the question of money. It was then that they realised the had access to a unique source of startup funding:  Daneshgar, who had won a number of events at the 2008 World Series of Poker. Returning to the game, he was able to...

  • Company Office

    Peach Payments and Callpay announce EFT system partnership

    Peach Payments, a leading and one of Africa's fastest growing payment service providers and Callpay, an innovative provider of secure payment solutions announce collaboration to provide automated Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) as well as secure telephonic payment acceptance solutions. The innovative products will enable millions of South Africans to make instant and secure payments when shopping online or during payment processes over the phone and via call centres. Through this exciting collaboration announced at the 3rd eCommerce Africa Conference, customers will now be able to pay online using their cheque, savings or credit card accounts. Merchants that sign up through...

  • GroTech looks to raise additional R38-million for funding

    VC firm GroTech is looking to raise an additional R38-million in funding. This comes after the company received R62-million in its last round. GroTech invests in companies using technological innovations to disrupt industries such as banking, insurance, health, and media among others. "The investment pipeline is healthy. Since the close of the first round of capital raising which closed on 29 February 2016, GroTech has reviewed in excess of 170 business plans. To date we have made one investment and are currently evaluating another three, one of which is at term sheet stage," says CEO of GroTech Clive Butkow in a...

  • Five tech startups chosen for Dutch #cocreate2ACCELERATE challenge

    Five SA tech startups have been selected as part of the #cocreate2ACCELERATE challenge, an initiative created by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, all of the participants will be partnered with a Dutch entrepreneur in order to "exchange ideas and innovations for a sustainable future." For example, video game startup RetroEpic will be partnered with Esther Jacobs, who has given more than 1000 keynotes, helped over 50 entrepreneurs write books, and has been knighted by the Dutch Queen, among other things. The four companies are video game startup Sea Monster; application builder, Polymorph; app specialist, &Innovation; agriculture...

  • Siyavula, the edtech startup enabling learners through feature phones [updated]

    Update: Facts and quotes have been amended. Our apologies to Mark Horner and Siyavula for the errors. Education has been preached about as the way to a better life, "get good grades, go to a good school, then off to a better university where you'll get a degree and make lots of money". In our country, it's especially hard to follow that path. According to the 2014 education statistics, 28.3% of learners who passed their matric exam only qualified for a Bachelor's programme, 31.3% qualified for a Diploma programme and 16.1% qualified for a Higher Certificate programme. These stats prove why more...

  • Knowledge Base Africa launches bootcamp for entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe

    SME development organisation Knowledge Base Africa (KBA) is launching a bootcamp for entrepreneurs in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 2 to 4 September. The bootcamp will consist of 200 entrepreneurs who will be taught skills and given business toolkits to use with their startup. After which, 50 participants will be selected for a 12-month incubation programme hosted by KBA. According to the CEO of KBA Agnes Chikukwa-Hove: "While the SME sector is crucial to Africa’s growth, currently contributing more than 45% to employment and 33% to GDP, a large proportion of new businesses fail. This is often due to funding challenges, but also – and sometimes...

  • Nigerian business directory VConnect receives upgrades for engagement

    Nigeria's largest search engine, VConnect, has received a facelift, making it easier to find local businesses in the country. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the website lists over 1.2-million businesses in Nigeria. It allows businesses to list all their information, operating times, as well as images. In turn, customers can rate these companies. "Our goal is to provide complete information that helps users to find and connect with businesses that are right for them. VConnect isn't just a business search engine; it's a discovery and engagement platform," says the founder and general manager of VConnect, Deepankar Rustagi, in a press...

  • Ghana is next destination for Seedstars World [update]

    The next leg of international pitching event, Seedstars World, is heading to Accra, Ghana, on its way to the finals in Switzerland. This round takes place with the support of local ambassador Impact Hub. "Impact Hub Accra is at the centre of an exciting and growing startup ecosystem in Ghana, we offer a wide range of opportunities for dynamic startups to grow and scale, such opportunities includes global partnership with organisations such as Seedstars," said community manager at Impact Hub Accra, Victor Ofoegbu, in a press release to Ventureburn. Startups wanting to participate will need to be less than two years old, raised...

  • The leap into entrepreneurship: how and when women should make it

    I recently attended a Geek Girl Dinner, which raised, again, the extraordinary challenges of talking about women and entrepreneurship without getting sucked into a black and white discussion about how it 'should' be done. The topic for the evening was 'The Leap towards Entrepreneurship', with the panel made up of Aisha Pandor (co-founder of SweepSouth), Jess Mouneimne (founder of Jam Media), Richard Bezuidenhout (founder of e-magination) and Nwabisa Mayema (co-founder of nnfinity). It was an animated discussion with lots of differing opinions, all handled with grace and humour, about how important passion is, the nature of sacrifice when starting a business,...

  • Radio 702, Cape Talk, Sage One 2016 Small Business Awards nominations now open

    Nominations are now open for the 2016 Small Business Awards, held by Radio 702, Cape Talk, and Sage One. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the prize pot, sponsored by Sage One and worth R1-million, will be split between the overall winners and runners-up in Gauteng and the Western Cape. The winners in each region will receive an advertising package of R250 000 on 702/Cape Talk. From Sage, they’ll receive a laptop with free access to their Accounting and Payroll software as well as a training course or seminar of their choice and a year’s worth of software support. The runners-up...

  • A startup wants to solve India’s farmer problems with data and tech

    My family has owned a farm for years and we’ve always made our money growing and selling vegetables, but things have been changing. To sustain ourselves, we now need to sell to people in cities – customers whose faces we’ve never seen and are only talked about by the men who arrive once a week in big trucks to sift through our vegetables and throw half of them away. Some give us reasons – the eggplants we grow aren’t worth anything because they’re not popular this year, or less lumpy potatoes have become the fad – how would we know...