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These are Grindstone’s 13 tech startups for 2015

The second in-take of growth equity fund manager Knife Capital‘s tech startups is an interesting bunch. From popular names such as online payment service PayFast and ecommerce builder ShopStar to new and interesting ones such as CognaDev which assesses individuals for matching work environments and Mobinomics — a company that develops operating systems for telcos, organisations and cities.

Interestingly, this year the accelerator is upping its game even more after it’s decided to expand its programme to include an additional three companies. “It was too difficult to cut it down to just ten participants,” Keet van Zyl co-founder of Knife tells us in an email. “There are a lot of innovative companies with proven traction in South Africa.”

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Andrea Bӧhmert, Director at Grindstone reiterates: “We set out to find ten innovation-driven SMEs to partner with, but the nature of the opportunities presented combined with corporate partnerships reached, enabled us to open the program up a bit wider.”

All 13 of the participating startups will be linked with relevant networks as well as undergo gap analysis, business support, coaching, possible funding, and so forth.


Founded by Jonathan Smit and Andy Higgins in 2007, the online service, PayFast, has grown to become one of the most widely used payment gateways in South Africa, most notably having integrated with South Africa’s largest ecommerce store Takealot. Client customers can pay via credit card, EFT, Ukash and more recently Bitcoin.

Sea Monster

Sea Monster focuses on building 2D animations, games and augmented reality (AR) products. Another Cape Town cohort, some of its products include the Spur Tribe Birthday Jam which is an interactive e-card for kids and Activate A — an AR product that showcases a Mercedez Benz in virtual reality.

Sensi Cardiac

The startup, which hails from Stellenbosch, is said to have developed an accurate cardiac murmur assessment solution which will enable practitioners to assess the condition of patients’ hearts more effectively. It all sounds very complicated though you can watch an explainer vid here.


The company is on a mission to provide a comprehensive ecommerce solution for local South African companies. Founded by Jens Herf almost two years ago, the company has made a name for itself with 1710 registered shops — a very impressive figure.


MPull is described as a B2B marketing agency which creates “well-oiled marketing machines”. Some of its services include website redesign, guide to using analytics, content marketing and lead conversion.


Here’s another interesting one. The company focuses on developing innovative and sophisticated psychological assessment and development methodologies to empower both individuals and employees in order to optimise talent. For instance, the company offers a heap of measurement tests looking at learning orientation, motivation and cognitive processes.

Orisons Promotions

The Cape Town-based company is founded by Natasha Van Diemen who was nominated for Shoprite Checkers Business Woman of the Year 2002 and 2009. The marketing outfit is responsible for brand activation and events management.


The company develops software-intensive operating systems for telecommunications, cities and organisations with the mission to integrate people, processes and tech into a cohesive and efficient system. The startup currently serve the country’s largest telco, Telkom.

Nona Creative

The startup’s all about the internet. The agency helps build tech products by matching project and business strategy. It does this through a bunch of approaches like SEO, web and mobile development, UI and UX and graphic design.

Tax Tim

The startup has developed an online process which South Africans can use to help do their taxes. Launched in 2011 by Evan Robinson and Marc Sevitz, Tax Tim recently partnered with the South Africa Revenue Service which enabled it to be plugged into the startup’s offering. Since last we checked, it has consulted with over 900 000 people online.


Here at Ventureburn, we love our transport startups. WhereIsMyTransport offers operators a complete operational environment toolset. With this they can manage their fleets, assign routes, create schedules, and monitor their drivers. The company was conceived in 2008.


Hailing from Gauteng, the company is described as a one-stop mobile services platform that enables businesses to easily deliver apps and services. Apart from helping brands connect through mobile channels, an example include its mobile retail services ecosystem which enables stores to market and sell their products through a mobile channel.

Electrum Payments

Founded in 2012 by Dave Glass, Eon Joubert and Dirk Potgieter, the company provides consulting services and deliver customised banking and payments software to banks, payment processors, retailers, card schemes and payment system vendors.

Last year the accelerator’s found that all ten of its participants experienced an average of 61% increase in revenue — an impressive figure which was topped-off with the acquisition of Stellenbosch’s radar startup iKubu by Garmin earlier this month.

Read more: Grindstone reports 61% increase in revenue for all its companies

Some notable alumni from the previous programme include, OfficeBox, Apurimac Media and Okuhle Media.

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