Eight SA tech startups with women founders that have recently had VC, angel deals [Updated]

UPDATE (14 August 2019): We neglected to include Smartblade’s R9.5-million investment from Savant in the below list. We have updated the list as well as the below figures relating to the amount and percentage of all venture capital that went to SA startups with women founders.

There may be no clear data on the number of venture capital (VC) and angel investment that has gone to SA tech startups with women founders, but Ventureburn has identified eight startups with female founders who have recently clinched funding and listed them below.

No one seems to know what percentage of such deals went to SA tech startups founded by women.

But data on disclosed SA tech startup (software technology companies no older than seven years) deals that Ventureburn has reported on since 1 January 2018 reveals that it may be as little as R77.7-million — or 4.5% of all such disclosed deals (see this story).

The R77.7-million includes SweepSouth’s R30-million investment from Naspers Foundry earlier this year, R20-million raised by insurtech Naked earlier this year, Smartblade’s R9.5-million raise, R3.4-million raised by Voyc.ai, R12-million raised by DigsConnect, Zomila’s (former Zelda Learning) two investments of R500 000 each and Jumpin Rides’ R1.8-million in investment.

Insurtech Yalu also has a women founder, but the startup did not disclose how much it raised from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) in a funding round last year.

Sweep South


Naspers in June announced that its R1.4-billion venture capital (VC) fund Naspers Foundry, which is aimed at SA startups, had made its first deal, with a R30-million investment in SA startup SweepSouth (see this story).

The fund was launched in October last year by Naspers with the aim of investing in the SA technology sector (see this story).

Cape Town  based SweepSouth, founded in 2014 by Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic (pictured above, left and right), is an online cleaning services platform that connects clients with domestic cleaners.

In 2017 SweepSouth raised an undisclosed amount in a Series-A round which was led by international retail solutions company Smollan (see this story). It follows a R10-million round of funding in 2016 that the startup concluded (see this story).


Cape Town based, but Dutch registered, startup Voyc.ai was founded by Lethabo Motsoaledi and fellow UCT geomatics engineering student Matthew Westaway in February last year (it’s their third startup together).

The startup’s platform helps clients in the financial sector that conduct market research over the phone, to quickly transpose and find themes from the research.

Earlier this year the startup was part of the third class of the Google Launchpad Africa accelerator programme, which concluded in June (see this story).

In May Westaway told Ventureburn that the startup is currently in the private beta stage, testing its platform with Standard Bank.

The startup has raised $230 000 (over R3-million) and now has a team of six and generates a revenue of about $10 000 a month currently — with the aim of hitting $80 000 a month next year.

The duo landed initial funding of $110 000 from four angel investors (three of them women) including the Dutch ambassador to Lithuania, Bonnie Horbach.

The startup landed a further $120 000, from Techstars and SAP, after taking part in an accelerator run in Berlin by the organisation and software company in December.

Featured image, left to right: DigsConnect founders CEO Alexandria Procter, head of technology Brendan Ardagh and head of marketing Greg Keal (DigsConnect.com via Facebook)


In March Cape Town based student accommodation marketplace DigsConnect revealed it had raised R12-million in investment from undisclosed investors (see this story).

DigsConnect’s platform pairs up registered students looking for a place to stay with homeowners in Cape Town that are looking to rent out their properties on a long-term basis.

The startup was founded in 2017 by CEO Alexandria Procter (pictured above, left), head of technology Brendan Ardagh (pictured centre) and head of marketing Greg Keal (right).

In August last year, the startup caused what SA news site News24 described in an article at the time as resembling a “stampede” on UCT’s Jammie Plaza, when it gave out R10 000 in R10 notes.

At the time Business Insider South Africa quoted the startup in a report as saying that the publicity stunt was its way of thanking its clients after achieving 2000 listing in less than a year.


In May last year insurtech startup Yalu revealed that it had received investment from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which oversees government employees’ pensions (see this story and this one).

While the startup did not disclose how much the investment was, but the PIC disclosed in its 2018 annual report (see here — opens as a PDF) that it had acquired a 30% stake in Yalu in its 2018 deal involving the startup. It said the founders and employees own the remainder of the equity.

The Johannesburg-based startup which claims it will offer South Africans “more affordable and transparent” credit life insurance, was founded in 2017 by two former Old Mutual managers, CEO Nkazi Sokhulu and Tlalane Ntuli (pictured above). The startup began operating in January last year.



In December last year SA insurtech startup Naked announced that it had landed a further R30-million from its investors — private investment group Yellowwoods and insurance company Hollard (see this story).

That capital injection follows an investment of R20-million that the startup received from Yellowwoods and Hollard in April last year (see this story).

The startup which provides artificial intelligence-driven car insurance was founded by actuaries Alex Thomson, Sumarié Greybe and Ernest North in October 2016 (pictured above are founders Ernest North, far left, Sumarié Greybe, seated, front and Alex Thomson, far right, standing).

In December North told Ventureburn that the startup had 14 staff members and aims to ramp this up to 20 staff, with the addition of new data science positions. He would not divulge any figures on customer growth or customer numbers.


Zomila (formerly Zelda Learning)

An introduction from SA venture capitalist Andrea Bohmert helped the founders of Cape Town edtech startup Zomila (formerly Zelda Learning) secure its first angel round of R500 000 from three local angel investors last year (see this story).

The startup, which runs a bursary management platform that helps organisations find and filter talented youth and fund their university studies, was founded in 2017 by three former UCT students — Carla Wilby, Jasanth Moodley and Dominic Schorr (pictured above, from left to right).

That investment follows a R500 000 seed investment that the startup received in May last year, after joining the first cohort of Cape Town’s Injini edtech incubator in 2017.

Speaking to Ventureburn at the time, Schorr said the startup that initially the founders had approached Knife Capital, where Bohmert is a partner, in search of venture capital (VC).

However, being at too early a stage to tap VC funding, they then inquired with Bohmert if there weren’t any other investors or mentors they could speak to from Knife Capital’s network. It’s then that Bohmert put Schorr and his co-founders in contact with several potential investors and mentors.

Moodley told Ventureburn in an email yesterday that the name change — which took place earlier this year — was based on feedback the startup received while on a sales trip early in the year.

Featured image: Jumpin Rides co-founder and managing director Pauline du Paty (Supplied)

Jumpin Rides

Cape Town based carpooling platform Jumpin Rides announced in July last year that it had raised R1.8-million from undisclosed local and international angel investors (see this story).

At the time Jumpin Rides, which French born Pauline du Paty founded in 2016 with Antoine Paillusseau and Romain Diaz, claimed to have more than 10 000 users on its platform.

When Du Paty launched the startup it raised an undisclosed amount from Cape Town-based accelerator Far Ventures.


In June SA hardware tech incubator Savant announced that it had invested R9.5-million in Cape Town based medtech startup SmartBlade.

SmartBlade has developed a device, which consists of a smartphone app that is linked to a video laryngoscope, that enables single operators of varied skill levels to intubate difficult airways.

The startup was founded in 2016 by husband and wife duo Nick Nevin (who serves as managing director) and specialist anaesthesiologist Dr Caroline Corbett (pictured above).

The funding will allow the pre-revenue startup to acquire moulds to manufacture its device and to attain certification, which he said includes US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registration.

In 2017 Dr Corbett won the WFSA-Fresenius Innovation Award, along with $25 000, for developing SmartBlade’s device (see this story).

To date SmartBlade has raised around R2-million in funding, which includes self-funding, prize money, angel investment, government seed funding through the Technology Innovation Agency and Seda.

*Correction: We slipped up and misspelled Zomila’s name and have corrected it now. Sorry about that.

Read more: So, what percentage of VC and angel investing goes to SA startups with women founders?



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