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  • Canadian AI firm acquires Nigerian chatbot directory service QuickHelp

    Canadian social enterprise firm 1001 Squared Artificial Intelligence has acquired a Nigerian AI-enabled chatbot and SMS-based directory service QuickHelp for an undisclosed amount. QuickHelp was founded in 2015 by seven entrepreneurs: -- Uche Goodness, Kayode Idowu, Olayande Biola, Fayemi David, Peter Laniran, Isaac Falade, and CEO Tosin Odubela. QuickHelp transferred its core technologies and intellectual property rights to 10001 Squared Artificial Intelligence as part of the deal In a post on its website on 21 April, QuickHelp stated: "After sessions of intensive negotiations, the core technologies, intellectual property rights and associated technologies of the AI powered Nigerian Startup, QuickHelp Nigeria, has now been transferred to 1001 Squared Artificial...

  • Company Office

    Designing for emerging markets, the challenges businesses face in Africa

    Emerging markets are full of opportunity for the clever entrepreneur. Across Africa, Asia and South America are countries with millions of underserved consumers. These people may be living on very little, but their basic needs are similar to those of wealthier people in more developed countries. In their paper, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, C.K Prahalad and Stuart L. Hart explain that “low-income markets present a prodigious opportunity for the world’s wealthiest companies to seek their fortunes and bring prosperity to the poor.” This opportunity exists for any company, whether it’s wealthy or not. Designing for emerging markets,...

  • €20m fines could hit African startups that fall foul of new EU data rules

    Tech companies and startups that do business with the EU or EU citizens and fall foul of new data privacy regulation face a maximum fine of up to €20-million or four percent of their annual turnover. The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force on 25 May, aims to protect and empower EU citizens' data privacy and will affect all companies -- including South African and African startups -- that do business with EU citizens. Startups processing personal data of EU citizens -- even if that is being done outside the EU -- will be affected. Included among the provisions of the regulations...

  • Tap wisdom of others and have fun says Michael Jordaan in talk on leadership

    Good leaders are those that are able to tap and best utilise the wisdom of those around them. So, says venture capitalist and former FNB head Michael Jordaan. "The thing I learnt (while heading First National Bank between  2004 and 2013) is that if you can get the wisdom out of the best people in the room, that is quite amazing. "That also puts the conventional wisdom on its head -- that the leader is meant to know everything, that the leader is supposed to know the answer," says Jordaan, who today invests in startups through his venture capital (VC) company Montegray Capital. Jordaan...

  • Uprise.Africa mulls 80 projects for equity crowdfunding, as Drifter raise hits R3m [Updated]

    SA equity crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa is conducting due diligence work on 80 potential campaigns, the platform's marketing officer Inge Prins revealed today. It follows an announcement by the platform earlier today that with still 3o days left of its campaign, local brewers the Drifter Brewing Company has met its goal of raising R3-million from South African private investors. The R3-million has been raised from 129 local investors. Prins told Ventureburn today that the platform has received a "big stack" of applications and that about 80 applications were in the due diligence stage currently. Most of these are from organisations and entrepreneurs in Johannesburg, Cape Town and other...

  • Entrepreneurs have just three days left to apply for Startup Nigeria programme

    Tech entrepreneurs in Nigeria who have an idea or a solution in agriculture, governance, commerce and fintech have until this Saturday (5 May) to apply to Startup Nigeria -- and stand a chance to score equity funding of up to 2.5 million naira ($7000) in equity free funding. The programme, an intervention of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) under the Office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, opened applications on 7 April. The deadline was initially set for 21 April, but was later extended. Driving the programme are IT company Emerging Platforms, business support organisation the Ventures Platform Foundation and...

  • How MFS Africa made history for African fintechs with $4.5m Chinese-led deal

    Johannesburg-based company MFS Africa made history earlier this month when it became one of the first African fintechs to secure funding from a Chinese-based venture capital (VC) firm. This, after a China-based VC firm LUN Partners Group led a $4.5-million Series B funding round in which the VC invested $2.5-million in the digital payments company. Dutch impact investor Goodwell Investments also participated in the round, investing $1.5-million, while the remaining amount of $500 000 was contributed by a number of angel investors including Mojit Davar, the former CEO of MoneyGram International. MFS Africa CEO says as Chinese interest in African fintech grows, LUN Partners Group will likely...

  • Egyptian startup La Reina raises $1m from Algebra Ventures, 500 Startups

    Egyptian startup La Reina -- an online platform for rental couture -- has closed a $1-million deal in a Series A funding round led by Egypt’s largest venture capital (VC) fund, Algebra Ventures, with participation from the global VC fund 500 Startups. The announcement was made in a press release today. Founded in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab, La Reina claims to be Egypt’s largest couture closet, allowing women to rent their evening and bridal gowns to each other. The startup has hundreds of new evening dresses and bridal gowns. To date, the platform has garnered more than 3.5-million ($200 000) Egyptian Pounds for dress...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [30/04/2018]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or brush up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. 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 next week’s, please let us know in the comments below or send us an email. Not all of the events are free and some will require booking in advance. Please click on the event names to find out...

  • Seedstars to launch hub in Cairo, kick off first Seedstars competition pitch

    Seedstars, a Swiss-based organisation that supports startups in emerging markets, will open its first hub in Egypt, Seedspace Cairo this Friday (4 May). The announcement was made in a press release last Thursday (26 April). Seedstars said Seedspace Cairo will have a co-working area, offering a wide range of membership plans, from single-desks areas to private offices for larger teams. The hub will have a co-living area, an accommodation alternative for those wishing to visit and live in Cairo. Romulo Navarrete, head of operations at Seedspace, described the move as a "strategic step" for Seedstars which will help the organisation to get closer to the community that...

  • Investors biased towards expat founders says American behind Kenya’s M-Shule

    Foreign investors who invest in African startups are biased towards funding expat founders, says a US-born entrepreneur running an edtech startup in Kenya. Claire Mongeau, who is originally from Boston in the US and is the co-founder of M-Shule, reasons that what is behind the bias is that many foreign investors favour entrepreneurs that pitch and hold meetings "like they do". "There is a big challenge when it comes to startups in many places in Africa, that the funding and the investment is very often coming from outside -- from US or European investors -- and I think they have a bias definitely towards those that look and...

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