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  • Major VC Knife Capital officially launches online due diligence tool

    Today, South African VC firm Knife Capital officially launched its online due diligence tool for startups and investors. The web-based tool, called YueDiligence, automates and structures the initial due diligence process to capture, analyse, summarise and communicate the commercial potential of a company in an investor-friendly format. Co-founder of YueDiligence and Knife Capital Keet van Zyl explains that while access to funding remains one of the startup industry's most pressing challenges, lack of access to information may be the real reason why not more entrepreneurial ventures get funded. "Without seamless information exchange during the due diligence process, the investment cycle drags on...

  • Company Office

    Welcome to the Matrix: Mastering the art of Scenario Planning

    For entrepreneurs, one of the most frequently cited challenges is the task of having to juggle multiple demands on your time at any given moment. In my view, however, there is a task that is perhaps more taxing – and yet absolutely critical – that entrepreneurs have to tackle every day. It is the task of identifying and planning for multiple possible business scenarios in the midst of an ever-changing market environment. Smart scenario planning, in effect, is something that undoubtedly needs to be built into the fabric of your daily communications with the board, management and your team...

  • Fundamo founder Hannes van Rensburg joins payments startup Nomanini board as advisor

    South Africa's mobile startup space just got more exciting. Mobile industry superstar and trained nuclear scientist Hannes van Rensburg has joined the board of the fast-growing mobile startup, Nomanini, as advisor. Van Rensburg's reputation skyrocketed when he exited mobile financial services company Fundamo for a massive US$110-million to Visa in 2011. The entrepreneur went on to claim awards recognising him as one of the world's top 100 most influential players three years in a row. After working as senior VP at Visa and starting an earl-stage investment firm called Piorex, van Rensburg has been on sabbatical over the past couple of years. Read...

  • MMI’s Jaco Oosthuizen on innovation, what corporates can learn from startups [Q&A]

    A little while back we told you about the Startupbootcamp Insurance Accelerator Programme, launched with the support of JSE-listed MMI Holdings. The accelerator programme, is open to startups from all over the world, with the only caveat being that they focus on different areas within insurance, including consumer, re-insurance, back-office efficiency and new risk models. The insurance programme comprises Fast Track days, an Insurance Hackathon and an Insurance Lounge. Fast Track days are sessions that take place over a six-month period where ten startups in various venues across 12 countries are given five minutes to pitch their insurance related business...

  • Takealot rumoured to raise an additional ‘R1bn’

    According to new reports, South African ecommerce giant Takealot is raising an additional R1-billion in funding. The purpose of this round is unclear. In 2010, Tiger Global Management purchased Take2 and relaunched it as Takealot. Since the re-launch, the company concluded a 100% buy-out of another South African ecommerce website, Superbalist, as well as a 46.5% stake in the Mister Delivery Express courier company. As noted official post on the Takealot website from 2014, the company's 2014 US$100-million investment will be used "for continued expansion in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa." To date, the company has yet to expand outside of South Africa. With...

  • 5 startups chosen at DEMO Africa to pitch in Silicon Valley

    One of the continent's most-talked about startup events, DEMO Africa 2015, recently concluded with five startups chosen as the winning teams to pitch in Silicon Valley. Out of a total of 650 applications received from startups across the continent, 30 startups made it to the demo stage to pitch their businesses. As revealed on the DEMO Africa website, below are the top chosen startups for 2015. Simbapay Nigeria's Simbapay offers people the ability to make fast, convenient and cheap money remittance to Africa. The platform also enables the diaspora to pay merchants directly from abroad using the popular mobile money service, M-Pesa...

  • 5 crucial reasons startups tend to mismanage their finances

    Financial Management is one of the main reasons many startups fail. And, sadly in many cases this is caused by the entrepreneur themselves, making them the biggest enemy to their own businesses. Financial mismanagement is mostly as a result of all or some of the following reasons: 1. Lack of financial education and aptitude Lack of financial education may cause entrepreneurs to live from hand to mouth i.e. cash is accounted for and is spent as it comes into the business. Financial education allows the entrepreneur to know in advance how the business is doing financially and to be able to take...

  • How the SA government is trying to seed more startups

    The South African government has quietly been piloting a new seed-funding programme and has wisely teamed up with universities to do so. A new call closes on 2 October. The programme, which the Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pando said in July was still in the pilot stage, was launched two years ago by the long embattled Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). The seed fund is welcome news from an agency that has suffered from the departure of key staff and one having to deal with a recent budget cut. South African entrepreneurs with good ideas are badly in need...

  • $100m fund launches to catalyse African entrepreneurship, job creation

    A fund worth a whopping US$100-million has recently been announced to support nearly 1 000 entrepreneurs in Africa. The second of its kind within the last year or so, the so-called GroFin Small and Growing Businesses (SGB) Fund seeks to catalyse sustainable job creation by supporting small and growing businesses across the continent. As revealed in a media release this week, the fund plans to support 9 800 under-served entrepreneurs who, in turn, can help create 47 000 sustainable jobs across Africa over the next 10 years. Specific countries of focus include Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa and...

  • Microsoft, Ampion ‘accelerator on wheels’ to support 200 entrepreneurs

    Global tech company Microsoft and pan-African entrepreneurship initiative Ampion have launched the latest "accelerator on wheels". The Venture Bus will consist of 200 entrepreneurs and five buses traveling across 16 countries in Africa, building their businesses as they go from country to country. The Venture Bus will support those onboard with the resources, networking opportunities, and mentorship needed for budding entrepreneurs. Afterwards, Microsoft will offer a six to nine-month fellowship, followed by an extensive incubator programme. The programme will include mentorships by the MySkills4Afrika programme and technical and business support from Microsoft's BizSpark, which will help them refine their business solutions to...

  • From startup to fintech empire: WiGroup sells stake to Investec for ‘R400m’

    It’s not often in the entrepreneur world that you hear of investments from banks, but here is one such story involving a very successful South African company that has rapidly grown from startup into a sophisticated, multi-million rand, 90-person-strong fintech success story. In August this year, Investec Asset Management bought a “significant” stake in South Africa’s mobile transaction company WiGroup, in a deal which is believed by the industry to be worth just under a whopping R400-million. Although WiGroup blankly refused to verify that figure, its impressive CEO and founder Bevan Ducasse told Ventureburn that Investec now holds a stake in the company which...