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Watch these guys — here are the SA startups to look out for in 2018

Tech startups that focus on solving problems using data analysis top Ventureburn’s list for the 12 South African tech firms to watch in 2018 – be they transport, agriculture, transport, or finance.

Fintech, will continue to be the hottest sector — with half the startups on the list hailing from the sector. The list also includes two startups using cryptocurrency as part of their solution.

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Aerobotics is definitely a startup to watch. This Cape Town based aerial data analytics platform provides analytics for drone users (mainly in the agricultural sector). In November Google revealed that the startup was one of 24 selected to join the fifth class of the Launchpad Accelerator which kicks off on 29 January 2018 in San Francisco.

It follows an announcement in August that the startup had secured a joint $600 000 seed-funding round from SA venture capital company 4Di Capital and the Savannah Fund.

The startup, which in September was presented the Digital Insurer (TD) European 2017 Startup Insurtech Award, also took part in XL Africa’s first accelerator cohort in November. Earlier this year the company was listed as one of six drones startups in South Africa to look out for.

Tech startups that focus on solving problems using data analysis top Ventureburn’s list for the 12 tech firms to watch in 2018 – be they transport, agriculture, transport, or finance

Entersekt scored funding from Endeavor catalyst (read more here), as well as a multi-million dollar deal from Rand Merchant Investment Holdings and Nedbank Private Equity.

The Stellenbosch tech firm — which protects digital service providers and their customers from digital banking and payments fraud — in April clinched the award for Best Mobile Security Technology for the second time at the 2017 Banker Africa Southern Africa Banking Awards.

The company has come a long way since it was founded by four engineering students in 2010. Entersekt CEO Schalk Nolte, with his international experience and relationships in the telecommunications industry, has it seems proved valuable in growing the business.

The company now processes close to 200 million app connections on its servers every month for clients in 45 countries.

GoMetro, the Cape Town smart mobility startup, plans to begin trialling a door-to-door ride-sharing service in the city in February, CEO Justin Coetzee revealed in November 2017.

The startup plans to run the trial for its “pop-up service” with a corporate and added the service would allow users to opt for any kind of transport service — including ride sharing, cabs, minibus taxis, buses and trains.

The startup is also targeting to launch its solution in Milton Keynes in the UK towards the end of next year, and is also looking to raise €5 million from European investors. This, after the startup in October was accepted into the UK’s Intelligent Mobility Accelerator in the same city.

It follows a 2016 round in which the startup was able to secure R10-million in funding from Tritech media, in return for a 20% stake in the business.

JUMO has grown significantly this year. The Cape Town based fintech startup earlier this year became the first SA startup to be selected by Google for its Launchpad accelerator. The startup is expected to graduate from the programme on a ceremony to be held this week in Warsaw, Poland. Ventureburn will be in attendance.

Since its inception in January 2015, to April 2017, the company has grown from seven to 300 employees, and now has development offices in Cape Town, Nairobi and Portugal.

In November the startup announced that it had secured $24-million in funding in a loan facility arranged by Gemcorp Capital, which already has an undisclosed equity stake in the startup. Finnfund participated in the round with $6-million.

In the same month JUMO was awarded a $150 000 prize from the Mastercard Foundation for client satisfaction during a financial inclusion summit in Accra, Ghana.

The startup’s founder, Andrew Watkins-Ball, said the company is busy closing an equity round and is likely to make an announcement on the deal by middle of December 2017.

Libryo: The legaltech startup, which is based in London, in November secured a partnership with Swiss-based regtech startup Apiax. The SA startup met its Swiss counterpart while attending the Swiss tech initiative Kickstart Accelerator this year. It follows an announcement the Libryo made in October that it had secured a $1-million seed round from investors including Seedcamp and Nextlaw Labs, which it aims to use towards expansion.

Prosperiprop this year ran one of the first successful initial coin offerings (alongside Newtown Partner’s Augmentors raise).

The Johannesburg based fintech startup raised just over $200 000 from investors in an ICO which closed on 30 November, to develop software that will help financial institutions to offer property investment products via the Blockchain. The startup now plans to go ahead and develop the software.

Prosperiprop founder Llew Morkel details the challenges of running an ICO in this Q&A with Ventureburn.

Recomed is one of the few SA startup’s involved in the up and coming healthtech sector. In November SA venture capital firm HAVAÍC announced that it had led a fully subscribed equity raise of R4.5-million for the startup.

The startup, which was founded in 2013, has 14 employees at present and has begun white labelling its platform – which allows patients to book appointments with health care professionals – to health-care providers such as Discovery Wellness Clinics and Medicross.

The Sun Exchange: Stellenbosch based blockchain startup The Sun Exchange, which leverages blockchain technology to allow individuals to purchase solar cells in solar projects, revealed in October that it had raised $1.6-million from SA venture capital company Kalon Venture Partners, Network Society Ventures, BoostVC, TechStars and Powerhouse. Read more about the deal here.

Wealth Migrate, which allows foreign as well as SA investors to invest in global property portfolios, in December said it plans to run an initial coin offering (ICO) early next year, to raise $30-million in an offering that will allow investors to invest in global property portfolios.

The company was founded in 2010 and has 60 employees at present. It has since facilitated 1500 investment transactions totalling $66-million and involving investors from 46 countries, through its blockchain platform.

Founder Scott Picken claims that the ICO will allow investors to build “real wealth” in global property investments. “People are getting tired of ICOs with wasteful dreams and want it (the tokens) to backed by something tangible,” he said.

Yoco concluded a Series-A funding round led by US-based Quona Capital and Netherlands-based Velocity Capital (read more here). In September the startup — which was founded in 2012 — launched a free point of sales solution and flagship store in Parkhurst. Read more about the company in this talk with its CEO Katlego Maphai gave at Startup Grind Cape Town earlier this year.

Zapper, a South African mobile QR scanner app, in March hit one million downloads. The app allows its merchants to receive payments from customers by means of scanning a generated QR code. Customers can also use it to pay bills sporting a Zapper QR code, or to register and login to any website using the code scanner.

In under four years the platform has grown to operate in 12 markets, employing over 300 people. It sounds like a SA startup success — but who really owns the Durban-based company?

The company, which earlier this month introduced mobile payment starter packs to the market, does not provide information on its website on who its owners are.

While a number of media stories have in the past have referred to Zapper Group CEO David de Villiers, as the founder of Zapper, the former IT head at Investec bank told Ventureburn in September that he started the firm in November 2013 with an angel investor company. Read more here.

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