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  • Tanzanian mobile money startup Nala wins $10k at Ecobank Fintech Challenge

    Tanzanian mobile money startup Nala has emerged as the winner of the 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge, clinching $10 000. The mobile money application works offline, without an internet connection and provides a unified user experience in which multiple financial services can be connected on one application. Tech site Disrupt Africa reported earlier that the startup secured $50,000 in funding from DFS Lab in April (see today's Disrupt Africa story  for an interview with co-founder Benjamin Fernandes, pictured above, left). The announcement on Friday (7 September) was made following the official prize-giving ceremony at Ecobank’s headquarters in Lome, Togo on 30 August. Virtual Identity (developed by e4) from South Africa,...

  • Company Office

    How to build local brand awareness

    Local search engine optimisation (SEO) has become central to the success of startups in the modern age, as small and independent businesses look to reach a targeted, regional market. This is borne out by the fact 50% of customers who perform a local search on the smartphone visit a physical store within 24 hours, as the power of targeted, local marketing continues to resonate with businesses. With this in mind, it's crucial that your business looks to build brand awareness within the local area before looking to expand nationwide. Here are some steps that you can take to achieve this. Invest in...

  • Half of SA startups in ecosystem support initiatives secure investment – VC4A

    Half of all SA companies that participate in startup and business support programmes end up securing investment. This, while the average investment secured by such companies is almost three times higher for those ventures that receive ecosystem support over those that don't receive support -- a new VC4A study has revealed. The report, which was released yesterday (6 September), features data collected on the VC4A platform from 686 startups registered in or based in South Africa The study was carried out by VC4A with the support of the Mastercard Foundation and Dalberg Advisors. The deep dive sought to establish how the impact of SA's startup ecosystem. The report's...

  • Nigerian fintech Paga raises $10m in round led by Global Innovation Fund

    Nigerian mobile payments company Paga has raised $10-million in a Series-B funding round led by London-based Global Innovation Fund. Impact investors Goodwell Investments, Unreasonable Capital and Omidyar Network, along with Mauritius-based private equity fund Adlevo Capital also participated in the round. US tech publication Tech Crunch reported the deal yesterday (6 September), in an article in which Paga founder and CEO Tayo Oviosu (pictured above, right) said the company is planning to expand into Ethiopia, Mexico and the Philippines. Last month, Paga announced that is had 9-million unique users on its platform Oviosu founded the Lagos-based company in 2009. Paga enables its users to send, receive and pay bills using...

  • SA fintech Yoco raises whopping $16m in Series-B round led by Partech

    In what is arguably one of the biggest venture capital deals announced so far this year in South Africa, SA point of sale payments provider Yoco has raised a massive $16-million (over R245-million as of the rate today) in a Series B funding round led by Silicon Valley-based VC firm Partech. Orange Digital Ventures, FMO (The Dutch Development Bank), Future Growth in addition to Yoco's Series A investors Quona Capital and Velocity Capital also participated in the round. The investment brings the total funding raised by Yoco to R322-million. Yoco CEO Katlego Maphai (pictured above, second from right) did not immediately return calls...

  • Five South African fintech dealmakers your startup should meet

    Fintech is one of the fastest growing startup sectors in the world. A number of SA startups have secured multi-million rand investments of late, including in i-Pay, WiiGroup, Entersekt and Luno. KPMG estimates in a report last year that global investment in fintech companies grew from $19-billion in 2015 to over $31-billion in 2017. While a number of insurance and financial services companies are involved in funding fintech startups -- venture capitalists, accelerator heads and banking heads are also getting stuck in. Ventureburn lists five dealmakers that entrepreneurs in the fintech sector should have a conversation with. Here they are. Clive Butkow Disruptive technology that is 12 months...

  • Four fintech companies selected for R2.5m AlphaCode Accelerate programme

    Fintech accelerator AlphaCode has announced the names of four companies selected to join its recently launched R2.5-million accelerator programme AlphaCode Accelerate. The four companies are Entersekt, Livestock Wealth, Click2Sure and Invoice Worx. The two-year long AlphaCode Accelerate programme, which AlphaCode has partnered on with scale-up accelerator 10X-e, will offer the four companies with mentorship, expert guidance and support services. AlphaCode has partnered with scale-up accelerator 10X-e to provide the R2.5-million AlphaCode Accelerate programme which offers participants mentorship, expert guidance and support services In a statement today (6 September), Rand Merchant Investment Holding investments executive and AlphaCode head Dominique Collett said the four companies will be part of a fully sponsored group of like-minded financial services...

  • Ventures Platform backs healthtech startup MDaaS with $100k investment

    Nigerian venture capital (VC) firm Ventures Platform has invested $100 000 into Lagos-based healthtech startup MDaaS Global. Ventures Platform founder and CEO Kola Aina announced the investment on Tuesday (4 September) in a post on Medium. MDaaS Global was founded in 2016 by CEO Oluwasoga Oni, CFO Genevieve Barnard Oni, supply chain manager Joe McCord and Nigeria country manager Opeyemi Ologun. The healthtech startup wants to build Africa's largest network of low-cost private medical diagnostic and primary care facilities. In the Medium post, Aina said MDaaS Global's first centre -- which the startup built in Ibadan, Nigeria -- had broken even after five months, in addition to growing revenue by...

  • Mercedes-Benz SA courts students, professionals in new innovation challenge

    Automotive giant Mercedes-Benz South Africa in partnership with business incubator LaunchLab has launched the Mercedes-Benz South Africa Ideas Challenge, an innovation initiative aimed at students and young professionals. Launchlab and Mercede-Benz SA aims to invite interested innovators to pitch their ideas around a set of challenges which are tailor-made to advance manufacturing as well as relevant industry topics, as identified by Mercedes-Benz SA. The challenge spans various focus areas which include big data and machine learning for manufacturing, the digitisation of logistics and production, machine learning, and Industry 4.0. The deadline for submissions for the Mercedes-Benz South Africa Ideas Challenge is 28 September In a statement on...

  • Are these the messages Springleap’s Eran Eyal sent to investors for funding?

    Just months before he shut down his former startup Springleap, SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal who faces fraud charges in the US, appears to have sent LinkedIn messages to numerous investors saying the startup is "closing its seed round soon" and asking for investment contributions. A top Cape Town entrepreneur, who asked to remain unnamed, today sent Ventureburn screenshots of two messages he said Eyal (pictured above) had sent to an investor just months before he listed himself on Linkedin as leaving Springleap -- at the beginning of 2016 (see below screenshot of Eyal's LinkedIn profile taken today). A former colleague in Springleap, Trevor Wolfe, last week confirmed to Ventureburn that...

  • Goodwell launches new Africa-focused €20m fund aimed at inclusive economy

    Dutch impact investor Goodwell Investments has announced that it has launched Goodwell IV, a €20-million fund for investments in the inclusive economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. In a statement today (5 September), the impact investor said the launch of the fund "specifically meets" growing demand for impact investments from private investors, family offices and foundations that approached Goodwell Investments following the successful closure of its predecessor fund, Goodwell III, earlier this year. Responding to questions from Ventureburn, Goodwell Investments director for marketing Nico Blaauw said the new fund has "similar specifics" as its previous fund -- Goodwell III. Goodwell IV will invest a minimum ticket size of €250 000...