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  • ‘AlphaCode in drive to create pipeline of fintechs to invest in’ [Q&A]

    Joburg based fintech accelerator AlphaCode aims to create a pipeline of fintech firms in which Rand Merchant Bank -- which runs the programme -- can invest in and grow, says the programme's head Dominique Collett. Since it was established in 2015 AlphaCode has assisted 15 black-owned businesses through its AlphaCode Incubate programme with support as well as R13-million in funding. On Monday (30 July) AlphaCode launched a new call for applications for the programme. Read more: AlphaCode calls on black-owned fintech startups to apply to programme Collett (pictured above) tells Ventureburn more about how AlphaCode came about, how businesses can apply to the Incubate programme and what the main challenges...

  • Company Office

    Three things to consider when looking to save on the costs of transferring pensions

    Let’s face facts -- there’s scarcely been a worse time than now, to accumulate wealth. After all, not only has real wage growth stalled across multiple industries, but inflation peaked at a little under 3% during the latter stages of last years. This has sent household savings plunging to record lows, while there’s no indication as to when the economic climate will improve. With this in mind, it’s important that you strive to maximise your pension funds for the longer term. This will mean reducing the cost of managing your funds, particularly in instances where you want to transfer numerous plans into...

  • $175k in cash prizes up for grabs in 2018 Nokia Open Innovation Challenge

    Innovative startups with best-in-class products and solutions within the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) domain stand to win a share of $175 000 in cash prizes in the Nokia Open Innovation Challenge. Applications for the challenge -- which is operated by global industrial research organisation Nokia Bell Labs in partnership with US-based venture capital firm NGP Capital -- close on 6 September. The top three startups will receive $100 000, $50 000, and $25 000 for placing first, second and third, respectively. The first place finalist of the Nokia Open Innovation Challenge will receive a $100 000 cash prize Selected startups stand to benefit...

  • Cape Town’s IT sector more than double that of Lagos, Nairobi combined – report

    A new report has found that the greater Cape Town area, including Stellenbosch, employs more than double the number of people that Lagos and Nairobi do combined -- with 450 to 550 entrepreneurial companies employing between 40 000 to 50 000 people in the city. In comparison, the Lagos and Nairobi tech sectors employs 9000 and 7000 people respectively -- while a promising three percent of Cape companies have reached scale (over 100 employees), comparable to Nairobi’s one percent and two percent in Lagos. The report, commissioned by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), Wesgro, and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation -- with the...

  • ICOs may have frizzled but SA startups are closer to meeting targeted raises

    With the steady fall in the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum since the beginning of this year fewer local startups may be opting to run an initial coin offering (ICO). Yet it seems SA startups are getting more successful at running ICOs -- at least if reaching their targeted raise is anything to go by. While startups last year struggled to raise more than four percent of the capital they sought to raise through ICOs, SA startup Gron Digital claims to have already allocated 84% or over 50.4 million of its 60 million GRO tokens. The startup aims to -- through its blockchain platform -- become an industry standard in making...

  • Investec out to fund fintech startups through global investment platform

    SA bank and asset management group Investec currently looking to invest in three or four early-stage SA fintech startups, Investec Emerging Companies spokesperson Akash Maharaj has confirmed. Earlier this month, the bank invested an undisclosed amount in Retail Engage's Bonsella loyalty and rewards programme. Responding yesterday (30 July) to an email from Ventureburn, Maharaj (pictured above) would not disclose the details of the equity investment deal. He however stated that this was the first deal for the Investec Emerging Companies mandate -- which forms part of Investec Private Capital and was launched in July last year -- and aims to invest in "innovative, early-stage companies with high growth potential". 'Investec Emerging Companies...

  • Expat founders: So where are all the African entrepreneurs? [Opinion]

    I get utterly distraught every time I open a new TechCrunch article of a startup with a Swahili name disrupting a certain sphere of Africa only to find a foreigner founder and director. In a good case scenario, there will be one or two "local" founders on the list but that’s not as common. Do not get me wrong, I have nothing against "foreigner" founders. I, however, have a very big problem with its normalisation as a catalyst for running a successful startup in Africa. I went to engineering school where we graduated in the hundreds from the different departments. Where...

  • AlphaCode calls on black-owned fintech startups to apply to programme

    Fintech incubator AlphaCode is on the hunt for black-owned fintech startups, as well as innovators with ideas that could change the face of financial services to apply to join its AlphaCode Incubate programme. The Joburg-based organisation provides incubation, accelerations and investment vehicle for financial services businesses. The first round of applications for the programme -- which seeks to identify and reward high potential, innovative entrepreneurs in order to boost the development of fintech and financial services in South Africa -- closes on 31 August. In a statement today (30 July), AlphaCode, which is backed by Rand Merchant Holdings (RMI) stated that it will invite 16...

  • Hitting the high road – what it takes to join Grindstone accelerator [Q&A]

    What do you perceive as success? Is owning a lifestyle business sufficient for you? Are you prepared to make changes to your business? These are some key questions that tech entrepreneurs looking to sign up to the Grindstone Accelerator programme should ask themselves before they apply, says Knife Capital co-managing partner Andrea Bohmert (pictured above). The Cape Town based venture capital (VC) firm last week launched a call for its fourth edition of the year-long programme – which aims to assist high-growth South Africa tech startups to scale up. Applications on close on 31 August. The call was launched in partnership with management consultancy Thinkroom. Read more: Knife Capital launches fourth edition of Grindstone Accelerator programme Knife Capital launched...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [30/07/2018]

    As July draws to an end, the Department of Higher Education and Training is hosting the first of its nationwide Student Entrepreneurship Week events at Wits University in Johannesburg. The initiative, which kicks off today (30 July), encourages the youth to explore entrepreneurship rather than relying on formal employment. MEST Africa will explore crowdfunding tomorrow (31 July) in Cape Town with Catherine Du Ploy and Justene Josias. If you're in Zambia, you'll want to listen to ALU Education's Tolu Agunbiade as she talks about the ups and downs of starting and growing an African startup. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights...

  • Expat founders have it easier than locals says Danish founder of Rwandan startup

    Do expat tech founders that set up startups in Africa have it easier than their local counterparts when running their business? Expat and entrepreneur Olivia Zank, the co-founder of Rwandan factoring firm BeneFactors, believes they do. Zank, who is Danish and whose startup last week came out tops at the Seedstars Kigali pitching competition, believes its definitely easier in some ways, but harder in others. She started the company last year with Jani Moliis (who is Finnish) after working as a policy advisor to Rwanda's Minister of Trade and Industry in 2016 and 2017. "We have easier access to external funding and more exposure to lean startup methods....