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  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [09/05/2016]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or scratch up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There are loads of competitions, networking sessions and workshops happening around South Africa and the rest of the continent (namely Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana) that we’ve rounded up to make your life a bit easier. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list, or...

  • 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...

  • Nomanini sees 1 500% transaction growth

    Pan-African payments startup Nomanini revealed on Monday that, over the past 20 months, it has seen 1 500% growth in transactions on its mobile point-of-sale (PoS) platform for informal markets. Founded in 2010, Nomanini has designed a payments platform, which provides merchant aggregators with sophisticated business insights via a cloud-based platform, and merchants and micro-entrepreneurs in informal markets with the means to sell different types of services electronically and create a sustainable income. Having hit one million transactions in August 2014, the company has seen growth of 1 500 percent since then, and recently saw the 16 millionth transaction take place...

  • Regulation is seriously harming investment in SA’s online startups

    Regulating the internet in South Africa could have serious consequences for investment in the country, potentially damaging its prospects for growth. That's according to a new report from investment advisory firm Fifth Era. As the report notes, internet businesses require capital to fuel their growth, and that capital comes both from local in-country investors, as well as from international investors in the form of FDI. Thing is, those investors are almost always put off by ambiguous regulatory environments. That's a stark warning for South Africa, where legislators are trying to introduce a raft of new online regulations, ranging from...

  • Investec backs SA tech entrepreneurs with Seattle trip

    This one should be right up our audience's alley. Investec, along with global entrepreneurial networking organisation E-nnovate, is set to take a group of South African technology entrepreneurs to Seattle, to expose them to that city's world-leading startup ecosystem. This is the first time in the initiative's 1.5 year history that it'll be organising a trip to Seattle, although it previously taken entrepreneurs on global exposure trips to Israel and Silicon Valley. Seattle, USA, located in the Pacific Northwest, is home to 2 000 active tech start-ups, and is ranked in the top ten entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world, along with...

  • Real estate startup Property Fox wants to save you money when selling houses

    There's a new real estate startup hitting the South African market. Property Fox aims to save customers over 80% of traditional estate agent costs by offering a 1.5% commission rate. In a press release sent to Ventureburn, co-founder Ashley James says: "We saw a gap in the market to help people sell their houses for a fraction of the cost, while simultaneously offering more exposure in the market." The company launched in April with co-founder Crispin Inglis. "Our research showed that unreliable home viewings, expenses involved and agent frustrations were among the most common challenges in selling a home," says James. Customers are...

  • Alibaba’s Hong Kong fund throws cash at ‘Uber for vans’ startup GoGoVan

    On-demand logistics startup GogoVan raised a series C funding round, it announced today. The funding amount is undisclosed, but is described as “a decent amount for future business expansion.” The round was led by private equity firm New Horizon Capital and was joined by Singapore Press Holdings, Hotung Investment Holdings, and existing investors. Alibaba’s new US$130 million Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund also participated. “This round of funding is fully committed and our new shareholders are very supportive in our strategy and growth plan,” GoGoVan head of operations Eugene Lee tells Tech in Asia. The startup says these investors will also be providing...

  • 3 bright spots investors can find in South Africa’s dismal economic news

    For nearly a decade, the South African economy took on the role of “Africa’s sick man.” Economic growth nearly stagnated at 1.7% between 2008 and 2015, compared with sub-Saharan Africa’s 4.9%. President Jacob Zuma’s appointment and quick removal of David van Rooyen as finance minister sent the rand, the country’s currency, into a tailspin last year. Calls for Zuma’s impeachment reached a fever pitch after a South African court ruled that he had misappropriated resources for personal home improvements. And as if those political missteps weren’t enough, World Bank data indicate that youth unemployment in South Africa has reached 52.6%. Kenya’s...

  • Turns out private equity is a pretty good bet in South Africa

    If you're at a place in your life where you've got a little money to invest, you'll likely have realised how many options there are out there and how confusing they all are. As it turns out though, you could have done a lot worse than putting your money in private equity. According to the latest RisCura-SAVCA South African Private Equity Performance Report for the fourth quarter of 2015, South African private equity outperformed the South African listed equity market over a ten, five-and three-year period to 31 December 2015. The report, which tracks a representative basket of private equity funds...

  • How a Kenyan health startup is transforming the lives of families — one SMS at a time

    Your children's health is probably the most important thing in the world to you. But how do you know if your child is developing the way they should be? Even in the UK where there's the NHS, innumerable child development internet sites, or a gazillion baby books, it can be a difficult time. But imagine living in rural Kenya, where health clinics might be difficult to access, there's no internet and in some cases you might not even read or write. That's the problem Nominet Trust 2015 winner, Totohealth is solving, and it is solving it very well...

  • Fintech startups, the big players are coming for you

    If you've got a technology startup that plays in the financial space, you need to know something: the big guys are coming for you. In some cases, they may want to buy you, or your technology, out before you have a chance to seriously disrupt them (it's one reason so many banks now sponsor fintech incubator and accelerator programmes). But they're also looking to out innovate you and use their weight of resources to shut you out of the market. And it's not just the banks either. The largest financial technology incumbents are also out to ensure their survival,...