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  • 3 ways China’s slowdown yields opportunities for Africa

    Any economic news out of China makes waves in markets around the world, particularly when it’s bad. Last year’s slowdown prompted furrowed brows across the globe. Reports in December 2015 that the People’s Bank of China was using an aggressive expansionary policy to buffer lethargic growth indicated that China’s problems would persist well into the new year. Because China is a leading investor in African markets, many analysts speculated that the shift would negatively impact the continent. The International Monetary Fund even downgraded sub-Saharan Africa’s growth forecast on the basis of China’s circumstances. But Africa won’t suffer over China’s economic situation....

  • 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...

  • Seedstars Africa entrepreneurship summit to kick off in Morocco

    Startup initiative for emerging markets Seedstars World will host its first ever Africa summit in Casablanca, Morocco late this January. Seedstars Africa seeks to connect entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneurship ecosystems from around the continent with the world. The initiative has partnered with Moroccan startup organisation StartupYourLife to bring together 300 startup talents, investors, speakers and mentors from over 20 different countries across Africa and Europe. “We have gathered some of the most experienced, influential and active ecosystem leaders, investors and entrepreneurs from Africa, the Middle East and Europe for a promising three-day event full of learning, inspirational speeches, and key insights...

  • SA decentralised communication startup joins Silicon Valley accelerator

    Port Elizabeth, South African-based startup Tuse by Millbug is joining Silicon Valley's Founders Space accelerator programme. Thulisile Volwana, Sabelo Sibanda and Michael Kyazze are behind Tuse, which is described as an Android app that allows people to "create wireless mesh networks using their WiFi-enabled mobile devices". Users are then able to send texts, transfer data and make phone called to other people in their network, without the need of traditional wireless infrastructure or network coverage. Read more: SA tech company launches Vuya solar powered tablet After traveling to Germany, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Ghana and Nigeria since last year, Sibanda tells Ventureburn that...

  • Kenyan Hellofood users can now order KFC, Ocean Basket online

    Hellofood, the online food ordering and delivery service operated by Foodpanda, has announced that its Kenyan users can now order KFC and Ocean Basket from the service. In a press release, the company says the chains add to over 270 restaurants from which customers can order food across Nairobi and Mombasa on its online marketplace. "With full automation, the restaurant owners are able to monitor orders made, pending, shipped and cancelled through a seller centre portal," the company says, adding that all deliveries are made within an hour. Read more: Hellofood is now Rocket Internet’s fastest expanding venture Duncan Muchangi...

  • UAE property startup pulls in $20m investment round

    UAE-based property portal Bayut has announced the completion of a US$20-million Series C funding round, building on the US$9-million Series B round it secured towards the end of 2015. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the funding comes from the company's existing investors, a fund which focuses on frontier and emerging markets with over US$ 1 billion in assets under management. The investment has gone into Bayut’s parent company Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), formerly Zamzama Property Group, which also controls Pakistani property play Zameen.com. According to Bayut CEO Haider Ali Khan, the funding round will be used...

  • 6 more lessons I have learnt about raising capital from VCs [Part 2]

    The following is an adapted version of a talk done by Clive Butkow from Grovest at the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Butkow boasts 28 years of management consulting experience at Accenture. Currently non-executive director of Grovest, he is also supporting and mentoring technology businesses, assisting them in driving growth. I want to share with you what I have experienced from sitting on both sides of the table on how you can increase your chances of raising capital for your business. In part one, I discussed the myth of insufficient capital in South...

  • What does India’s $1.5bn Action Plan really mean for startups?

    Startups in India can expect a significant boost following the announcement by the country's prime minister Narendra Modi of new support for the sector. But will these really help lift startups? The measures which were announced by Modi at the launch of Start-Up India in Delhi on Saturday. They form part of a government action plan to assist the country's growing number of tech startups, described as firms of less than five years old and with annual sales of up to US$3.6-million. String of measures They include a three-year tax exemption for startups, a three-year exemption from a string of labour and...

  • Former Magento heavyweight boards booming SA fintech startup

    Former VP of Engineering at eBay subsidiary Magento, Ted Pietrzak (pictured right), has joined South African fintech startup Jumo to help develop its ground-breaking system to enable financial inclusion in Africa. The appointment is said to mark the first American platform level CTO to be recruited by an African company. The news also adds weight to the startup's impressive hiring spree, growing its team of seven to over 100 within the last 12 months. Headquartered in Cape Town with an office in Nairobi, Jumo is said to have attracted a concentration of data and technology pioneers from across Africa, including talent from Amazon,...

  • Startups, try doing things that don’t scale [Infographic]

    Startups are often defined as lean businesses that can scale, reaching new markets easily far and wide. While this might be the case, it doesn't mean that all startups should scale in everything they do. In an essay by Y Combinator founder Paul Graham, he argues that startups should focus on doing things that don't scale. According to Graham, startups should, for instance, approach their first customers physically to make a sale happen. Graham recalls how Stripe used to physically set up its service onto other startup founders' computers at the Y Combinator incubator, instead of just blasting out hundreds...

  • How this Accra-based incubator is nurturing entrepreneurs to build pan-African products

    A few months ago, I wrote a piece on the contrasting views of some African tech stakeholders, including Lagos-based CcHub’s Bosun Tijani, on the usefulness of entrepreneurship training programmes in ensuring the success of startups in the various African markets. While there are some who don’t entirely believe in entrepreneurship training, some institutions and incubators do have various programmes for entrepreneurs. Ghana, Accra-based Meltwater School of Entrepreneurship (MEST) is probably the continent’s most revered institution that equips tech entrepreneurs to compete in the pan-African mobile and to scale globally. With numerous success stories in its company profile page, Neal Hansch,...