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  • Google drops $50 000 grant for Launchpad Accelerator for fifth cohort

    Google has dropped a $50 000 grant for each startup selected for its fifth Launchpad Accelerator, which starts next month, the programme's manager Josh Yellin revealed yesterday. The programme targets growth stage tech startups and 24 startups will embark on a bootcamp on 29 January 2018 (see the names here). Talking to Ventureburn in Warsaw, Poland during a graduation ceremony for the programme's four cohort (see the list of participants from the fourth cohort here), Yellen said the tech giant aims to reinvest the $50 000 per selected startup (totaling $1.2-million for the fifth cohort) back into the programme to cover the costs of startups attending conferences...

  • Company Office

    New integrated payment, POS solution allows retailers to transact in 2 seconds

    The South African financial technology company that brought card-payment systems to smaller businesses as far back as 2008 has just announced a new integrated payment solution that will benefit franchise store owners, larger independent retailers and franchise owners. Sureswipe is SA’s first independent payment service provider to offer a fully integrated payment solution with acquiring services. Paul Kent, managing director of Sureswipe, says: “Our new Integrated Payments product has been developed for higher volume businesses that use a Point-of-Sale system. It reduces manual hours spent on reconciliations, makes customer payments quicker and safer, and cuts both costs and complexity. We have brought functionality...

  • A primer on the South African artificial intelligence ecosystem

    Artificial intelligence -- intelligent computer systems capable of learning from data -- was one of the main trends in tech innovation this year. The tech is increasingly becoming ubiquitous across all industries from the automotive industry, fintech, social media, ecommerce to even entertainment. We are living in the age of big data, as increasingly more enterprises invest in AI and machine learning -- a branch of AI which is in its simplest definition is a form of data analysis -- startups are taking notice and disrupting whole industries by employing that tech. With that in mind, here's everything you need to know about the...

  • Innovators must disrupt market serving people with disabilities, says founder

    With December being Disability Awareness Month in South Africa, Ventureburn highlights four South African tech startups serving people with disabilities -- that we should all know about. South Africa has a national disability prevalence rate of 7.5%, says the Department of Social Development. That's the percentage of the population that have some form of visual, physical, aural, intellectual, learning and communication disability. That then is quite a significant percentage of the population that, depending on the extent and severity of their disabilities, face different problems around how they go about life. Many startups are trying to disrupt the business world, but they’re forgetting an entire market...

  • P2P storage-space platform Sxuirrel secures R2.4m in seed funding

    SA startup Sxuirrel has secured R2.4-million in seed funding from an undisclosed investor. The startup -- which is based at Stellenbosch incubator Launchlab where founders Michael John Dipppenaar, Henri Bam and Michael Louis developed a peer-to-peer storage and space solution -- made the announcement yesterday. Dippenaar, who is also CEO, revealed that the deal -- which was signed two weeks ago -- had been over three months in the making, after the startup was approached by the investor that took an interest in the "disruptive effects" of the platform, which the three launched last year. Dippenaar declined to name the investor. The deal will see the...

  • Sarebi opens call for 2018 Water Enteprise Development Programme

    The South African Renewable Energy Business Incubator (Sarebi) has launched a call for applications to its 2018 Think Water Enterprise Development Programme. The Atlantis-based incubator -- backed by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) since 2012 -- aims to assist small businesses that operate in the water sector and are looking for manufacturing opportunities and business development skills. Programme participants will among other things get IT, accounting and human resources services. The application deadline for the programme is on 12 January. Sarebi communications and events officer Babalwa Dlangamandla said the incubator will only take submissions from enterprises based in the Western Cape and that there are spots...

  • 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. 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...

  • I believe South Africa will sort itself out, says UK angel invested in country

    While many other investors may have been frightened off by South Africa's unstable economic and political environment, UK angel investor Kevin Gaskell says he believes in the country. "I like South Africa. And I believe South Africa will sort itself out," says Gaskell. "I have faith in the long-term." While he admits that he hasn't realised any returns yet on the three South African tech firms he has invested in since 2012, he reckons the country is a good investment bet. "I'd say keep looking at South Africa because it's a thriving centre for technology, there are some good companies around. But you've just got to be...

  • Slow Bitcoin transaction times mean it won’t replace cash – foundation head

    If you thought Bitcoin will rapidly replace cash, think again, says Bitcoin Foundation executive director Llew Claasen. High transaction fees and long confirmation times from the Blockchain will make it difficult to replace cash with the cryptocurrency, said Claasen, while speaking at a Startup Grind Cape Town event last Thursday. “So you’re kind of looking at between 10 and 30 minutes before the transaction cannot be cancelled or reversed," he pointed out. In addition the Bitcoin network can only handle four transactions per second, versus seven on the Ethereum network and 25 000 on the Visa network. There’s no way to stop Bitcoin and that’s not a bad...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [11/12/2017]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or catch up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There are loads of competitions, networking sessions and workshops happening around South Africa and the rest of the continent (namely Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana) that we’ve rounded up to make your life a bit easier. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list, or...

  • Bitcoin price mania being driven by market manipulation – foundation head

    Bitcoin is heading towards a dot.com crash and is being driven by a "mania" and "market manipulation", says Bitcoin Foundation executive director Llew Claasen. "The fact that you have a 30% in value of Bitcoin in one day is dangerous," said Claasen yesterday, commenting on the rise of the price in Bitcoin yesterday (7 December). Speaking at Startup Grind event at Workshop 17 in Cape Town, he said there is strong evidence to suggest that some traders are using what he referred to as "tethers" -- a digital representation of the US dollar -- to push up the price of Bitcoin. Tethers were created by...