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  • Innovation and insurance: why a centuries old business is still ripe for innovation [Sponsored]

    Insurance, defined by Wikipedia as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for money, has a long history. Chinese and Babylonian traders practiced forms of insurance as far back as the third and second millennia BC, respectively, but insurance as we know it really dates back to the Great Fire on London in 1666. Despite that long history though, it's also an industry ripe for disruption, with technology playing an increasingly important role across the industry. Health-tracking, smart data analysis, and app-based rewards are all part of the contemporary insurance...

  • Company Office

    Be good at being wrong… and getting it right quickly

    Even the best entrepreneurs get things wrong from time to time. Launching a business is a learning process, and you are bound to go down dead ends and change direction here and there, says CEO of Nomanini, Vahid Monadjem.  One of our investors, Esther Dyson, has the words “Always make new mistakes!” in her email footer. Being wrong is pretty much unavoidable when you’re doing something new. You have to work with a mixture of facts and assumptions. You don’t have a crystal ball, but you have to take a view. And even if a solution or a strategy is...

  • Survey: South Africa’s Venture Capital industry is now worth a massive R2bn

    The South African venture capital (VC) industry now represents almost R2-billion in assets under management, a survey released by Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) found. If you've been following Ventureburn, you would have seen a lot of exciting investments this year, from Silvertree Capital investing over R20-million in the first half of 2015 to radar startup iKubu exiting to Garmin in January and many more. To comprehend what these deals really mean to the local ecosystem, however, requires quantitive research that can shed light on the true value and state of South Africa's VC environment. Read more:...

  • Domestly is SA’s new online marketplace for requesting domestic workers

    The cleaning industry is one of the biggest employers in South Africa with millions of people making a living from cleaning homes and offices. Historically however, the industry has had very little to do with helping cleaners take charge of their lives and futures, and for many, cleaning has become a way to support their families if they are unable to find other employment. Similar to local startup SweepSouth, Domestly (an online marketplace for requesting domestic workers) is changing all that with an exciting new platform that’s giving cleaning professionals the chance to empower themselves by giving them the opportunity...

  • ReMe app wants to revolutionise loyalty programmes in South Africa

    An app that seeks to help businesses build and retain customer loyalty has launched in South Africa. ReMe, as it's called, provides users access to a virtual loyalty card reward system by linking them to an array of retailers and restaurants based on their interests, tastes and brand preferences. Michael Zahariev, the co-founder of ReMe, notes in a recent press release that although the app can be applied to national chains and franchises, it should be particularly attractive to smaller businesses: “Loyalty programmes are expensive to build and implement, particularly programmes which have the goal of large-scale customer engagement," Zahariev adds....

  • Decentralised ledger platform Hyperledger wins SWIFT’s Innotribe Startup Challenge 2015

    SWIFT's Innotribe Startup Challenge 2015, which seeks to recognise some of the world's top businesses in fintech, has finally concluded with a winner. US-based decentralised ledger platform Hyperledger -- which enables the transferring digital assets -- has secured the title of Innotribe Startup Challenge 2015's top fintech company, walking away with US$50 000. Forming part of major financial services conference Sibos in Singapore, the event brought together a total of 20 companies -- 12 early-stage and eight growth-stage companies -- that pitched in front of an audience of industry experts, VCs and representatives from some of the world's leading financial institutions. Read...

  • R300m fund launched to boost green entrepreneurship in SA

    Initiatives encouraging entrepreneurs who address both socio-economic and environmental challenges in South Africa are becoming more common place. The most recent of these is a massive R300-million fund by risk financier Business Partners Limited. Business Partners today announced the launch of its Green Fund, which Business Partners managing director Nazeem Martin explains, seeks to positively impact on the environment and simultaneously create wealth and jobs in the country. The Business Partners Limited Green Fund seeks to develop, grow and invest in sustainable businesses, enabling them to capitalise on opportunities in the green economy -- especially in the clean and green technology,...

  • Investec gets into the fibre game with Vumatel investment

    This is interesting. Ivestec, the specialist bank and asset manager has acquired a minority stake in Vumatel, a disruptive fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) startup. While neither party divulged how much the investment is worth or how much of a stake it gives Investec in Vumatel. The latter did however reveal that it planned to use the investment to up its fibre roll-out rate. “With Investec’s support, Vumatel will be better positioned to accelerate its roll-out to communities across South Africa. This partnership will furthermore assist in speeding up both transformation within the economy and changing the lives of consumers.” says...

  • ARTICLE RETRACTION: Digital All Stars 2015: 13 South African tech entrepreneurs on the rise

    Digital All Stars is a new series of articles on Ventureburn and Memeburn, which recognises and celebrates achievement in a variety of digital fields that includes entrepreneurship, media & marketing, technology innovation, general business and education. Our aim with the Digital All Stars Series on Ventureburn is to celebrate entrepreneurial achievement in South Africa, and the African countries in which Ventureburn is popular in, which includes Kenya and Nigeria. Creating lists to recognise achievement is, in itself, a fraught exercise, so we aim to ensure accuracy by consulting with many experts in the wider industry to ensure that...

  • Why we really need to take South Africa’s informal entrepreneurs more seriously

    South Africa's informal economy is booming. However, the lack of reliable data and realistic policies from government means millions of people are without security and support on the one hand, while potential opportunities are wasted on the other. If trends revealed by Leif Petersen from the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation are to be taken seriously, townships are well on their way to becoming the future of the country's cities and thus its economy. In Cape Town, a city home to about 4 million people for example, 38% of the population live on a minimum earning of R1 600 per month, supporting...

  • Why one financial services giant is actively trying to foster innovation and disruption [Sponsored]

    MMI Holdings is one of South Africa's largest financial services players. Formed out of a merger between Metropolitan and Momentum, two of South Africa's most respected insurance players, the JSE-listed company has a market cap of more than R50-billion and a growing portfolio of brands under its belt. It'd be pretty understandable then if it decided to rest on it laurels. But MMI is profoundly aware of how quickly established players in any market can be disrupted. After all, the companies within its portfolio have a history of being pretty disruptive themselves, driving competition in the in the insurance,...