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  • What budget 2019 means for tech startups in South Africa

    Finance Minister Tito Mboweni yesterday presented the 2019 Budget, but what does it mean for the country's tech startups? In his budget speech (opens as a PDF) yesterday Mboweni sketched a picture of a South Africa struggling with failing state-owned enterprises, ballooning debt and continued low growth, but remained optimistic that the ship could be turned around. "It will not be easy. There are no quick fixes. But our nation is ready for renewal. We are ready to plant the seeds of our future," he said. In his budget speech Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the country needs to free entrepreneurs from...

  • Company Office

    SA sees strong growth in digital ad-spend

    While some traditional media struggles, digital ad-spend in South Africa has witnessed powerful growth. The latest full year (2015) digital advertising spend report released by PwC on behalf of the IAB SA illustrates that the local industry has moved beyond the R3.4-billion spend (invoiced) mark in 2015. This translates to 36% overall year-on-year growth. Certain sectors have witnessed exponential development. In terms of the PwC classification, mobile saw the biggest growth at 182%, followed by online at 68% and search at 22% (Search for 2014 was restated by PwC referencing the PwC Entertainment and media outlook: 2015 – 2019). South...

  • Crypto exchange platform Coindirect raises €1m in round led by Concentric

    Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coindirect today announced that it has raised €1-million in an investment round led by London-based investor Concentric. Coindirect, which is registered in the Isle of Man and was founded in 2017 by South Africans Donald Jackson, Jesse Hemson-Struthers, Nicholas Haralambous, and Stephen Young, claims to have 40 000 users in South Africa. In a statement earlier today (21 February) Coindirect said London-based crypto firm Blockchain.com and US-based MakerDao also participated in the investment. Coindirect plans to use the investment to further expand across Africa and Europe, supported by partnerships with Blockchain.com and MakerDao. "In the immediate future we're looking...

  • Here are the 50 regional finalists of the 2019 MEST Africa Challenge

    MEST, the Pan-African training programme, seed fund, incubator and hub for tech entrepreneurs in Africa, has announced the 50 regional finalists of this year's MEST Africa Challenge. The winner of the pitch competition, which is now in its second year, stands to receive up to $50 000 in equity investment from MEST and space in a MEST incubator. The finals of the challenge will be held at the 2019 MEST Africa Summit which will take place between 10 and 12 June in Nairobi, Kenya. In a post on Medium yesterday (20 February), MEST said this year's challenge had attracted over 1000 applications. Following the...

  • From vision to keeping positive- 8 habits of successful entrepreneurs [Opinion]

    Not all entrepreneurs are created equal. Some fail, some just remain one-man-bands, some go on to create small businesses, and some go on to create massively scaled businesses. Over the years I have met and had conversations with many founders that have built some impressive businesses. From these conversations, I have compiled what I see as the eight key habits of successful startup entrepreneurs: Vision – most entrepreneurs (and business leaders) are able to sketch and effortlessly communicate a message of growth and opportunity for employees. In a startup environment this is particularly important. Startup employees often find themselves in...

  • Sars Section 12J VC companies –  hype versus substance [Opinion]

    There are many legal ways for South African taxpayers to reduce their tax burden, and investing in a SA Revenue Service (Sars) approved Section 12J venture capital company (VCC) is one of them. However, opinions are divided on the hype of a tax break versus the substance of sustainable investment returns. The 101 on Section 12J Section 12J is not an asset class in itself, but rather a provision in the Income Tax Act that was introduced in 2009 to address one of the main challenges to the economic growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) --  access to equity...

  • Biotech incubator OneBio opens applications to SA, Zim startups

    Cape Town based biotech incubator OneBio has opened applications for its six-month incubation programme to South African and Zimbabwean startups. OneBio is an initiative of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) in collaboration with the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR). The programme, which is also being run in partnership with Zimbabwean innovation hub TechVillage, is funded by the Finnish government through the Southern African Innovation Support Initiative (SAIS). Applications for the programme will close at midnight on 10 March, while shortlisted applicants will be contacted for an interview by 15 March. OneBio's six month incubation programme...

  • Kenya’s mSurvey to take on Nigeria after securing follow-on funding from Proparco

    Nairobi-based mobile survey platform mSurvey is looking to expand operations and take on the Nigerian market after the firm's recent announcement that it secured follow-on funding from French development finance institution Proparco. The company’s consumer experience and feedback platform — which uses cloud computing connected directly to mobile network operators — enables businesses and organisations to connect with, and receive structured feedback directly from customers. The firm was founded in 2012 by Kenfield Griffith (pictured above) and CTO Louis Majanja, and in April last year announced it had raised a $3.5-million Series A round led by venture capital firm TLcom Capital (see this story). ...

  • Here are the SA finalists of the 2018-2019 Startupper of the Year challenge

    French oil and gas giant Total has announced the names of the 13 SA finalists in the second edition of the company's Startupper of the Year challenge. The challenge -- which was launched in 2015 and is held in 55 countries around the world -- aims to support ideas and projects that help address a widespread problem affecting communities in participating countries. As part of the challenge, three winners from each participating country will receive financial support, publicity and coaching. Total will also select six regional winners who will be offered additional support. The winners of the 2018-2019 Startupper of the...

  • SBC AfriTech, RCS to host Future Cities Hackathon in Cape Town

    Do you have an innovative and disruptive tech-based solution for water pollution and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, as well as smart mobility? Cape Town based tech accelerator Startupbootcamp AfriTech (SBC AfriTech) has partnered with financial services provider RCS to host the Future Cities Hackathon in Cape Town on 1 and 2 March. The impact-oriented hackathon aims to solve three UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) -- namely SDG 6 Clean water and sanitation, SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities and SDG 14 Life below water. The Future Cities Hackathon aims to solve for three UN Sustainable Development Goals In a statement last Wednesday...

  • French investor I&P says IPAE 2 fund ‘on track’ after €25-million second closing

    French impact investment group Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) says its new fund is on track to raise between €80-million and €90-million after last week having made a second closing of €25-million. I&P's Afrique Entrepreneurs 2 (IPAE 2) was launched in 2017, aims to invest equity and quasi-equity in between 30 to 40 startups and small businesses in West and Central Africa, East Africa and Madagascar by 2022. In a statement last Tuesday (12 February), I&P said new investors had joined the fund, with the new closing. These include the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries (BIO), the Dutch Good Growth...

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