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  • 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...

  • Company Office

    treadFEST 2017 – five stages with New Hero, Grimehouse, Opposite the Other

    treadFEST 2017 presents five stages with a mix of music genres: Grimehouse, New Hero and Opposite the Other are just three among a host of bands and DJs in the pipeline. Welcome to the filthy side of South African Drumstep: Grimehouse. His tracks are played by some of the biggest artists in the world, including the Beatport Studios Live and a compilation for one of the world’s biggest record labels "MAD DECENT". But this is just the beginning for the filth monster! Grimehouse’s tracks are racking up thousands and thousands of plays every month on his Soundcloud page and he tries to give...

  • 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...

  • Kenyan logistics startup Bwala Africa Group secures over $200k in funding

    Nairobi-based last-mile logistics startup Bwala Africa Group has secured a loan of 24-million Kenyan Shillings ($238 000) from Kenyan bank CFC Stanbic. The startup, which launched earlier this year in January and claims to have recorded over 6000 deliveries in Nairobi, will use the capital to purchase eight new trucks from Isuzu East Africa. In a statement yesterday (4 September), Bwala Africa Group founder and CEO Kennedy Nyabwala said the startup has entered into "major partnerships" with some of Kenya's top retail stores. Bwala Africa Group, which was founded nine months ago, has also launched its own escrow payment service called BwalaPay "The partners include Copia,...

  • Nigerian ISP startup Tizeti closes $3m Series A round led by 4DX Ventures

    Lagos-based ISP startup Tizeti, and its Wifi.com.ng service, has closed a $3-million Series-A round led by 4DX Ventures. Tizeti builds and operates solar-powered towers while also providing residences, businesses, events and conferences with unlimited high-speed broadband internet access. The startup claims that since it graduated from Y Combinator's Winter 2017 cohort, it has installed over 7000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Nigeria and that it has 150 000 users. In a statement today (5 September), the startup revealed that Y Combinator Continuity, Lynett Capital, Social Capital, Western Technology Investment, Friále and Golden Palm Investments also participated in the round. As part of the investment, 4DX managing partner and...

  • Springleap’s Eran Eyal removed as CEO of Shopin and replaced with interim head [Updated]

    UPDATE: Shopin co-founders Jeremy Harkness and Divakar Rayapaty appear to have taken control of the company, after removing SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal as CEO and replacing him with an interim head. "Please have confidence that we have not stopped working and we will continue to forge ahead to bring the Shopin product to the market," Harkness and Rayapaty said in a statement released today, on 5 September (see here). Shopin, the US startup founded by SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal who faces fraud charges in the US, has removed the former Springleap founder from his position as CEO of the US company and replaced...

  • Konza City headquarters expected to be completed by December says agency head

    The headquarters for Kenya’s Konza Techno City is just months from completion, Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) CEO Eng John Tanui revealed yesterday. Critics in Kenya have regularly bemoaned the initiative -- which is expected to cost $14.5-billion, take 10 to 20 years to be fully operational and has been dubbed “Silicon Savannah” -- as slow to get off the ground. In an email Tanui told Ventureburn that construction on the nine-storey headquarters is 90% complete and is expected to be completed by December. The building will host the agency's staff and provide office space for anchor tenants, investors and the innovation community. Construction of Konza City's nine-storey...

  • These are the nine Senegalese startups set to pitch at Seedstars Dakar

    Seedstars World, a leading startup competition for emerging markets, has announced the nine Senegalese startups that will pitch later this week at this year’s Seedstars Dakar pitch event. The pitch event, which will be held on Friday (7 September), will see nine of Senegal’s best seed-stage startups compete to represent the country at the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland. In addition, the winning startup will be in the running for $1-million in equity investments. A jury panel comprised of Brightmore Capital managing partner Ndeye Thiaw, Byfilling CEO Diallo Mohamed, Jumia Travel Senegal CEO Mamadou Marème Diop, Kinaya Lab founder Laïssa Mouen, and Seedstars East Africa associate Fany Dauchez will select the winners. Seedstars World...

  • Three African startups make it into Katapult Accelerator’s third cohort

    Oslo-based Katapult Accelerator has selected three African startups from Kenya, Egypt and Tunisia to join its third cohort, comprised of 12 startups from around the world. The three are Kenyan banking solution FinAccess, Egyptian edtech PraxiLabs and Tunisian tech talent accelerator Think.iT. In a statement last week Katapult Accelerator managing partner and co-founder Haakon Brunell (pictured above, left) said the 12 startups had been selected from among 1500 companies from 107 countries. The three African startups, along with the rest of the cohort, will each receive a $150 000 equity investment from the Katapult Accelerator Fund Brunnel explained that the accelerator provides participants with "an environment...

  • AfricArena signs up AFD subsidiary Proparco as strategic partner, sponsor

    Tech startup conference AfricArena has signed up Proparco -- a development finance institution partly owned by the French Development Agency (AFD) -- as a strategic partner and sponsor. In a statement announcing the partnership last week, Proparco regional head for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Siby Diabira said the institution's interest in the African startup ecosystem "reached a new level" this year with the creation of a division committed to investing in innovative, impactful and scalable startups alongside investments in venture capital (VC) funds. AfricArena 2018 is set to take place on 15 and 16 November in Cape Town "We believe that...