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  • Is Takealot on the verge of buying out Superbalist?

    Superbalist, the design-focused ecommerce store formerly known as Citymob, is on the verge of being bought out by South African ecommerce giant Takealot. At least that's according to multiple reliable sources with close ties to the players involved. Takealot CEO Kim Reid refused to comment on whether or not an acquisition was taking place. If an acquisition is in the works, it would mean that Reid and the Takealot board have had a serious change of heart since news broke of the US$100-million cash boost it got from Tiger Global earlier this year. “We have no acquisition plans,” he...

  • Are there lessons for startups in the demise of African Bank?

    In times of distress, institutions have curators to look after them, but people don’t. This is perhaps the biggest lesson for consumers from the African Bank debacle. It’s a tough lesson, but learn it well. African Bank Investments Limited, or ABIL, built a client-base of 3.2 million people, but is now under curatorship and faces huge losses. The management team, quite simply, lent too much money to too many customers who didn’t pay back their loans. The authorities will presumably come up with new guidelines, recommendations, reserving requirements and the like. They always do … and therein lies the problem. We get...

  • She Leads Africa announces top 10 young women entrepreneurs

    In June this year, She Lead Africa launched with the goal to empower tech-savvy women active in the continent’s entrepreneurial tech scene. The initiative has now announced its top 10 finalists for its 2014 Entrepreneur Showcase. Selected from 380 applications from more than 27 countries, these young entrepreneurs represent some of the best young female entrepreneurs across the continent. On 20 September in Lagos, the finalists will pitch their companies to a panel of esteemed business leaders and investors from leading venture capital firms to compete for more than US$30 000 in cash and prizes. Here are the top 10: Banke Kuku...

  • AppyEverAfter is the wedding app that plans everything from ‘Yes’ to ‘I do’

    Weddings are a big deal. Rightly so – apart from consolidating love and all that, the wedding market scoops up a massive US$50-billion in the US alone. South African based DevLabs is responsible for AppyEverAfter -- a planning app that wants a slice of this wedding cake. It plans to do so by essentially being a wedding planner in your pocket. The AppyEverAfter project initially started out as a gift registry that would scan barcodes in-store and adds them to your app, explains founder Daniel Bailey. Things went up in the air when clients turned the app down. From there it...

  • Meet SAB’s top 18 social startup innovations of South Africa

    The South African Breweries (SAB) Foundation has selected the finalists in the fourth annual edition of its Social Innovation Awards 2014, who will compete for a R1-million first place prize. SAB has rounded up 18 exciting innovations from around South Africa, ranging from an innovative bee hive system to an app that helps detect drug use. "Through the Social Innovation Awards, the SAB Foundation is encouraging more individuals to empower themselves as entrepreneurs and in turn empower hundreds of others by providing them with affordable access to resources and services that can improve their lives,” says SAB Foundation Manager Bridgit Evans. Evans...

  • DEMO Africa 2014 to kick-off with special investor summit 24 September

    DEMO Africa is one of the continent's biggest and most extensive startup competitions. Earlier this year, the annual initiative announced the top 40 up-and-coming tech companies on the continent to present their ideas during the three day event running from 24 - 26 September 2014. DEMO Africa 2014 will kick-off with a special investor summit in Lagos, Nigeria to focus on the the future of angel investing on the continent. Angel investor networks including Cairo Angels, Lagos Angels Network, Ghana Angel Investors Network, Africa Angels Network, Angel Africa List and others come together to meet, exchange best practices, share...

  • More than just words: Dragons’ Den judge interview sparks serious Twitter debate on SA startup space

    A war of words seems to have broken out on Twitter following the publication of our interview with entrepreneur Vinny Lingham yesterday. Lingham will be appearing as one of the dragons in South Africa's version of the popular entrepreneur pitching show, Dragons' Den. In our interview, Lingham stated that he felt "very few people" in the South African tech investment landscape understood technology and how to go about making worthwhile investments in the sector. Lingham's comments, which were made largely on the back of his Dragons' Den experience, talked about the number of successful exits and the disconnect between wealthy...

  • Microjobbing startup M4JAM boasts over 7k tasks completed on launch day

    South African microjobbing startup Money for Jam (M4JAM) has announced that 7 404 jobs were completed within the first 24 hours of its launch last week. M4JAM co-founder Andre Hugo says the community response has exceeded the startup's expectations. “The adoption, quality and engagement have been amazing. It’s been 100 times more positive than we could ever have hoped for,” he says. The service currently leverages the mobile social networking platform WeChat, which companies can use to allocate simple jobs to South African mobile users. Users completing the jobs can earn up to R30 per task which can be...

  • [Exclusive] Fresh off the Dragons’ Den set: Ventureburn chats to Vinny Lingham

    The announcement of the judges for the South African version of Dragons' Den was pretty much the headline news of the week in the country's entrepreneurial space. The show is set to air in South Africa in the coming months, with 13 episodes of startups pitching to the Dragons for investment. One said Dragon, Vinny Lingham, of Yola and Gyft fame, popped round Ventureburn’s Woodstock offices in the Silicon Cape for an interview. Lingham was very hush-hush about any of the show's secrets or the amount of money that was invested. Despite much prompting, he refused to budge. "Over 10-million?" I...

  • South Africa’s big ecommerce problem is supply, not demand

    Most of the discussion about the slow growth of e-commerce in South Africa focuses on consumers. But the biggest problems may be on the supply side. We hear the same old arguments all the time. Consumers take a long time to feel comfortable about shopping online, South Africans like to touch and feel before buying, and so on. But instead of focussing on what we think is wrong with consumers, maybe we in the industry should focus on how we can serve them better instead. There are three issues holding back the growth of ecommerce in South Africa: Merchants...