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  • Could mysterious Durban man be the investor behind SA startup Zapper?

    Is a media shy Durban-born entrepreneur the angel investor behind South African tech startup Zapper? Mystery continues to surround who the investor behind the Durban-based startup is. After a brief investigation by Ventureburn no one close to the company, other than the co-ordinator of the supposed investor's scholarship fund, was willing to comment. In September last year when interviewed by Ventureburn, Zapper CEO David de Villiers refused to name who the angel investor was behind the company (see the story here). Then last month a Ventureburn reader pointed out in a comment to the initial story that following a five-minute search on Google, they were able to connect the...

  • Company Office

    Four black-owned fintech startups each win R1m at Alphacode pitching event

    Four black-owned South African financial services startups each won R1-million last night at a pitching event hosted by AlphaCode. The event was held on 31 October and was run for the third time in collaboration with AlphaCode, a club for next generation financial services entrepreneurs powered by RMI Holdings. The Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) pitching event is an initiative of Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings which seeks to identify and reward high potential South African fintech entrepreneurs to boost the development of fintech in South Africa. Monetary awards were made to four of the 10 black-owned financial services businesses which pitched. The four businesses, as recipients of the grant funding, will become members...

  • DEMO Africa innovation tour: Meet the Cairo and Tunis winners

    DEMO Africa has announced the two startups selected from Egypt and Tunisia to pitch at its launchpad in Morocco this October at DEMO Africa 2018 following pitch events held earlier this month in Cairo and Tunis. In Egypt, healthtech startup Cheefa out-pitched 10 other companies, including Niotek, TriggerIt, MedMiser and 7aweshny to win the Cairo pitch event which was held last week on 11 July. Cheefa's app helps patients order and pay for medicine online. In a statement yesterday (19 July), the startup's founder and CEO Doaa Aref (pictured above) pointed out that the startup also has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform that assists the less fortunate...

  • Quesnay in global call for applications to Female Founders in Tech competition

    US-based innovation consulting firm Quesnay has opened applications for its second Female Founders in Tech competition and is calling on women-led startups from around the world to apply. The competition is aimed at startups with tested insurance products and entries are set to close on 30 July. Tech solutions applicable in the  The top three finalists are set to receive cash prizes of $35 000, $25 000 and $15 000 for the first, second and third place respectively. In addition, the top five selected finalists -- set to be announced on 28 August --  will get to present their solutions to an audience of judges at a final...

  • Knife Capital launches fourth edition of Grindstone Accelerator programme

    Cape Town based venture capital firm Knife Capital has launched the fourth edition of its Grindstone Accelerator programme in partnership with Johannesburg-based management consultancy Thinkroom. Applications for the year-long programme – which aims to assist high-growth South Africa tech startups to become more “investable, sustainable and exit ready” – close 31 August. The programme’s selection process kicks off next month with an interactive Exit Readiness Workshop aimed at providing tangible information to 50 small businesses and unpacking some of Knife Capital’s exit case studies. Only 10 companies will be selected to join the year-long Grindstone Accelerator programme Thereafter, twenty companies will then be shortlisted for Grindstone’s...

  • SA fintech JUMO secures first two commitments in new funding round

    SA fintech JUMO has secured equity funding from French development agency Proparco and Finnish development finance company Finnfund -- the first commitments to a new funding round, the startup's founder Andrew Watkins-Ball revealed yesterday. The startup’s platform helps facilitates digital financial services such as credit and savings in emerging markets. The Finnish development took part in a A$24-million debt facility last year (see this earlier story). In a call from London yesterday, Watkins-Ball told Ventureburn that the commitments from Proparco and Finnfund were secured six weeks ago. He declined to reveal the value of the funding, but said each of the organisations have taken a single-digit equity in return for the funding. He said...

  • Sun Exchange, Powerhive to provide energy access for 175 000 Kenyans

    Cape Town based solar micro-leasing marketplace Sun Exchange has partnered with US-based rural mini-grid solutions provider Powerhive to use the crypto-economy to fund energy access for 175 000 people in rural Kenya. The partnership, which Sun Exchange announced in a statement yesterday (18 June), is expected to raise $23-million, which will fund 150 new projects that will provide clean power to 175 000 people in Kenya who are currently living without electricity. As part of the new partnership Powerhive becomes the exclusive recipient of proceeds designated for solar project pre-financing from sales of the Sun Exchange SUNEX digital rewards token. Powerhive will in-turn use the funds to...

  • Identity.com a ‘first-of-kind’ for secure identity verification says Vinny Lingham

    South African entrepreneur and Civic founder Vinny Lingham has announced the name of his new decentralised identity ecosystem – Identity.com. In a blog post yesterday East London born Lingham, who is based in Silicon Valley, said Identity.com will be a "first-of-its-kind" decentralised platform that will open up access to on-demand, secure identity verification. "Identity.com is designed to connect users, requesters, and validators around the world to enable reusable identity verification, powered by Civic tokens (CVCs). "This ecosystem allows individuals, companies, and other entities to interact easily and safely in the digital world," he said. SA entrepreneur and Civic founder Vinny Lingham says Identity.com will be a 'first-of-its-kind' decentralised platform for...

  • Wearables startup MyLifeline wins R200k in 2018 Santam Safety Ideas Challenge

    Herman Bester, the co-founder of Stellenbosch-based wearables startup MyLifeline, has emerged the victor of the second season of the Santam Safety Ideas Challenge, walking away with R200 000 in seed funding. The finals of the challenge, an initiative of insurance company Santam run in collaboration with Stellenbosch-based business incubator Launchlab, were held yesterday at Santam's head office in Cape Town. The competition aims to encourage South African innovators to develop innovative safety and security solutions. The panel of judges was made up of Santam executives Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, Ebrahim Asmal, John Khawulezile Lomberg, Ray-ann Sedres and Johan Etsebeth; the Department of Trade and Industry's director of innovation and technology Nontombi Marule; Launchlab CEO Philip Marais; and...

  • How SA tech startups plan to celebrate Mandela Day by reaching out to needy

    With South Africa today honouring the legacy of former president Nelson Mandela, a number of SA tech startups have taken to celebrating Mandela Day by offering to reach out to those more needy. Here then are how three startups have chosen to honour Madiba, or give up 67 minutes of their time in remembrance of the icon's legacy. Cape Town based logistics startup Pargo is running a challenge today to get clients to send food or toy parcels up to underprivileged children in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. A number of SA tech startups are celebrating Mandela Day today by offering to reach out...

  • 33 African startups make it into 2018 Innovating Justice Challenge finals

    A total of 33 African justice innovators and legaltech startups have made it into the final round of the 2018 edition of the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law's (HiiL) Innovating Justice Challenge. The Hill Justice Accelerator (HJA), which runs the challenge, announced the finalists in a blog post earlier this month. The accelerator stated that finalists were selected based on their impact, scalability, sustainability, uniqueness, and team. HJA also considered feasibility, social impact and institutional roadblocks facing applicants. The 33 finalists are from Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe The 33, along with other finalists from Bangladesh, India,...