SA’s Reserve Bank launches competition for fintechs from around the world

The SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) has launched a competition aimed at fintech firms that are developing innovative solutions to the challenges within the financial services industry.

The Reserve Bank said in a statement last Thursday (22 August) that the initiative — the Global Fintech Hackcelerator @Southern Africa — aims to create a platform for fintechs to demonstrate their innovative solutions to the complex financial challenges in the region.

The competition, managed by fintech acceleration programme KPMG Matchi, is open to firms from around the world.

Applications close on 8 September.

Winners of the Reserve Bank competition will receive a stipend to attend the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival

Shortlisted fintechs will be invited to showcase their solutions at the Southern African demo day on 29 October in Johannesburg.

At the event, a panel of judges from the Reserve Bank and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) as well as local industry experts will select and announce two winning solutions.

Each of the competition’s winners will receive:

  • A stipend towards travel expenses to attend the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival
  • An opportunity to pitch their solution live and engage with industry experts during the Hackcelerator Demo Day at the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival where the top three winners will each receive a cash prize (the Reserve Bank did not specify how much this would be)
  • Funding to develop a contextualised proof of concept, to be deployed within a year from the demo day

Featured image: Investment Zen (CC BY 2.0)

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Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [25/8/2019]

Cape Town hosts the FNB Business Women’s Breakfast on Tuesday (27 August) and Red Bull Basement Hatch on Saturday (31 August).

Insurtech startups in Joburg will want to attend Thursday’s Hartford InsurTech Hub Johannesburg FastTrack. This, while those with healthtech solutions could stand a chance to win R20 000 in cash at the Sunpharma Hackathon on Friday (30 August).

Elsewhere on the continent, there’s plenty on the go in Nigeria with several Startup Grind events, while the Global Impact Summit will take place in Nairobi on Thursday and Friday (29 and 30 August).

This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup events, competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences in Africa.

If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list, or next week’s, please let us know in the comments below or send us an email.

Not all of the events are free and some will require booking in advance. Please click on the event names to find out more information.

Cape Town

FNB Business Women’s Breakfast 

Join tech entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana and Innate Investment Solutions CEO and founding director Lynette Ntuli at this year’s edition of the FNB Business Women’s Breakfast.

This year’s focus is on “Being a Limitless Woman” — women who see the goal and not the challenge, women who are determined to succeed. Cutting edge, results driven woman, who just won’t quit.

Date: 27 August, 9am to 12.30pm
Location: Cape Town International Convention Centre 2, Cape Town

Lifecheq: Braving fear, bouncing back

In this talk, Lifecheq explores what it is that makes some people more resilient to adversity, how we bounce back better and how developing this capacity can be one of our biggest assets in life.

Date: 27 August, 6pm
Location: Radisson Blu Waterfront, Granger Bay, Cape Town

Stellenbosch Digital LaunchLab Talk 

Tencent Africa chief growth officer Nicholas Rixon will speak on building, growing and gaining traction for your digital product.

Date: 29 August, 4.30pm to 6.30pm
Location: Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab, Hammanshand Road, Stellenbosch

Red Bull Basement Hatch

The Red Bull Basement Hatch brings together tech enthusiasts, makers, creatives, designers, IT students, incubator managers and funders, in one room.

Here they debate, talk, showcase, network and upskill each other, with the aim of connecting and building a better South Africa through the use of technology.

Date: 31 August, 9.30am to 5pm
Location: Woodstock Industrial Centre (The Woodstock Exchange), Block B, 3rd Floor, 66 – 68 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town

Durban

Elastic SA Meetup

Durban tech and legal professionals can look forward to the first ever Elastic Durban Meetup to be hosted by open-source search and analytics company, Elastic, following the success of their popular events in Johannesburg since 2016.

Date: 29 August, 6pm to 3pm
Location: LexisNexis South Africa, 215 Peter Mokaba Road, Durban

East London

Startup Grind East London

Startup Grind East London hosts PWC East London partner Jacqui Mauer and Iingcinga CEO and founder Thandi Mbete.

Date: 29 August, 5.30pm to 7.30pm
Location: Second Office, 6 Donald Road, Vincent, East London

Johannesburg

Startup Grind Sandton 

Startup Grind Sandton hosts a fireside chat with social entrepreneur, mentor and Nxa Technology CEO Lerato Dontache.

Date: 27 August, 1pm to 3pm
Location: Workshop 17 Sandton, 138 West Street, Sandton, Johannesburg

ANDE SA / Solidaridad Impact investment workshop

This impact investment workshop with a focus on how to effectively set up and manage impact investment funds and apply innovative financing models to achieve real impact.

Date: 28 August, 8.30pm to 3pm
Location: Katherine Street, Sandton, Johannesburg

Hartford InsurTech Hub Johannesburg FastTrack

Hartford InsurTech Hub, powered by Startupbootcamp, will hold a Johannesburg FastTrack Day event as part of its international tour to find the best-rising insurtech companies.

Date: 29 August, 9am to 5pm
Location: Katherine Street, Sandton, Johannesburg

WomenThinkCode_ Launch

WeThinkCode, in partnership with the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation and MWR InfoSecurity will hold the official launch of WomenThinkCode_.

The programme aims to address the under-representation of women in technology by teaching women how to code for free.

Date: 29 August, 9am to 11am
Location: Workshop 17, West Street 138, Sandton, Johannesburg

Lifecheq: Braving fear, bouncing back

In this talk, Lifecheq explores what it is that makes some people more resilient to adversity, how we bounce back better and how developing this capacity can be one of our biggest assets in life.

Date: 29 August, 6pm
Location: The Capital Empire Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg

ANDE Happy Hour

Join ANDE SA members and ecosystem players for late afternoon drinks, snacks and networking.

Date: 30 August, 4.30pm to 7pm
Location: Ferguson’s 5th Floor. 35 Ferguson Rd, Illovo, Sandton, Johannesburg

Sunpharma Hackathon

Join SunPharma at its Healthcare Hackathon where you could walk away with R20 000 in cash.

Date: 30 August, 8am to 6.30pm
Location: WeWork at The Link, 1F, 173 Oxford Rd, Rosebank, Johannesburg

Polokwane

Lioness Lean in Enterprise

Women entrepreneurs are invited for the first Lioness Lean in Enterprise Event in Polokwane. The event will offer a unique opportunity to access business funding, enterprise development opportunities, business advisory services.

In addition those who attend will receive a copy of Absa’s SME Business Toolkit for entrepreneurs.

Date: 28 August, 8am to 11.30am
Location: Bolivia Lodge, Road R81, Polokwane

Egypt

Startup Networking Mixer

Meet other entrepreneurs from Cairo, as well as expert mentors from the Founder Institute programme at this event.

Date: 27 August, 6.30pm to 9.30pm
Location: 171 El Tahrir, Ad Dawawin, Abdeen, Cairo

Ghana

Huba Friday

Huba Friday is a monthly mixer at the Ghana Innovation Hub for entrepreneurs and startup founders to trade stories and business cards.

Date: 30 August, 6pm to 8pm
Location: Ghana Innovation Hub, Ring Road West, Accra,

Kenya

The Gig Economy in Kenya

Mercy Corp’s Youth Impact Labs in collaboration with ANDE cordially invite you to a conversation on the growth of the gig economy in Kenya.

Date: 29 August, 2pm to 6pm
Location: TBC

Global Impact Summit Nairobi

Those who run accelerators, incubators and innovation hubs will come together for panel discussions, workshops, networking and mentoring sessions. There will also be several innovation workshops with global investors and corporates.

A pitch competition will give each startup the opportunity to present their idea or product. Winning will guarantee mentor sessions, and exclusive opportunities with prominent accelerators.

Date: 29 to 30 August, 9am to 5pm
Location: Mettā Nairobi, 14 Riverside Drive, Suite 6A, Nairobi

Liberia

Startup Grind Monrovia

Join Weah’s Pictures Entertainment CEO Joseph Choloplay Weah Jr as he shares his professional experiences and contributions in promoting young talents in Liberia, the region and other parts of the world.

Date: 30 August, 2pm to 4pm
Location: iCampus Liberia, 150 Carey Street, Monrovia

Nigeria

Startup Grind Calabar

Startup Grind Calabar hosts Efik Leadership Foundation senior programme manager Iquo Archibong.

Date: 25 August, 2pm to 6pm
Location: Unical Hotel & Conference Centre Hall, Plot D85, Akim Layout, Eastern Highway, Calabar

WennoChat August

Join New Horizon Retail School Business manager Akinkuolie Damilare for a discussion on harnessing technology for business growth.

Date: 30 August, 3pm to 5pm
Location: 3rd Floor, Carlcare Building, Queen Elizabeth II Road, Mokola-UCH Road, Ibadan, Oyo State, Ibadan, Oyo

Startup Grind Kano

Startup Grind Kano hosts Bellokano CEO and founder Bello Kano on a fireside chat where he will be share his entrepreneurship journey and lessons learned at various executive level positions he served.

Date: 31 August, 4pm to 6pm
Location: Dice Innovation Hub, Government House, No 3 Sabo Bakin Zoo Road, Kano

Startup Grind Jos Summer Party

Join nHub Nigeria founder Daser David at Startup Grind Jos’ summer party.

Date: 31 August, 3pm to 7pm
Location: nHub Jos Plateau, 3rd Floor, TAEN Business Complex, opposite the former Nitel office, Yakubu Gowon Way, 930001, Jos

Startup Grind Lagos

Startup Grind Lagos hosts Whogohost CEO Toba Obaniyi and Urban 98.5FM’s Shedy Kay.

Date: 31 August, 3pm to 5pm
Location: Seedspace Lagos, 23 Agodogba Avene, Parkview Estate, Lagos

Tunisia

Employee to Entrepreneur

Join this event if you’re thinking of making the leap from being an employee to being an entrepreneur.

The event is organised by The Founder Institute and will cover what to consider and the first steps in the entrepreneurial journey.

Date: 28 August, 6.30pm to 10pm
Location: Mediterranean School of Business, Les Berges du Lac II Walkway, Tunis

Zambia

Startup Grind Kitwe

Startup Grind Kitwe hosts Nkana Milling MD Andrea Mulenga.

Date: 29 August, 6pm to 9pm
Location: Chatem Link Park Mall, Jumbo Drive, Kitwe

Featured image: SA tech startup founders at a Google Launchpad dinner held in Cape Town earlier this month (Supplied, Hanru Marais Photography)

The post Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [25/8/2019] appeared first on Ventureburn.

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Are these six, SA’s most important venture capitalists?

Who would you turn to if you were a SA tech startup looking for venture capital (VC)?

South Africa’s VC sector has grown substantially in recent years, with over R1-billion invested in startups and early-stage companies in 2017, according to report last year by the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s (Savca) (see this story).

The growing amount of VC funding in SA has closely tracked the growth in technology startups that often attract funding for their ability to scale quickly.

Like this Cape Town in the early 2000s quickly became SA’s startup capital. It’s still home to some of the better names in tech startups in SA, but Joburg is catching up fast — on the back of a growth in fintech and more black entrepreneurs trying their hand at tech, according to Ventureburn’s 2017 and 2018 surveys.

Here are six SA venture capitalists tech startup founders should keep an eye on

Amendments in recent years to a 2009 VC tax incentive, Section 12J of the Income Tax Act, have led to a number of new tech funds being set up (see this list) and contributed to the growth in the VC sector (although most of the capital invested has gone to property, private equity or renewable energy — see this story).

In addition, an exciting new development is the SA SME Fund — a R1.4-billion fund which draws its contributions from a number of listed companies and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which oversees government pensions. The fund has a mandate to invest in black-owned companies — in many cases tech startups.

In more or less the order of how long they have been around in the VC sector, here are six SA venture capitalists you should keep an eye on:

Justin Stanford, 4Di Capital

Justin Stanford is probably what you could call a veteran in the VC sector in South Africa, having invested in tech startups since the early 2000s before formalising this into 4Di Capital with a group of fellow venture capitalists.

These include SA startups Snapt, Aerobotics, Lumkani, and LifeQ, as well as exits that include Skyrove and Motribe (which was acquired by MXit at the time). The VC has also invested in a number of East African startups.

In 2009 Stanford, together with Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham set up Silicon Cape, Cape Town’s startup initiative.

Stanford’s story began in the late nineties, when he started out as a tech entrepreneur, which he quit high-school to pursue.

After many struggles he eventually built an online pan-African cybersecurity software company in the early 2000s, and became a reseller for Slovakian security specialist firm ESET. He has since partially exited the reseller business.

“We became early angel investors in young tech startups in the very nascent local SA ecosystem starting around 2004, and I’ve angel invested in dozens of companies since, but at the time that led us to begin visiting Silicon Valley in the mid-2000s.

“This ultimately spurred us into creating and launching the Silicon Cape Initiative in 2009, aimed at catalysing the ecosystem in SA and spreading the idea of the possibility of a ‘Silicon Valley in Africa’.

“Off the back of that we started the initial experiments that would later become 4Di Capital, aimed at formalising our investing activities and creating a true Silicon Valley inspired early-stage VC firm, which formally launched its first fund in 2011. Since then 4Di launched its second fund in 2016, and now most recently its third fund this year (with capital from the SA SME Fund — see this story).

Outside of investing in tech firms, Stanford likes keeping active. He enjoys boating and watersports, mountain biking, playing guitar, film and audio, braai’s in the bush — and says he’s interested in anything with engines or a mechanical or design element, like cars, aircraft, architecture and interiors.

It hasn’t been easy being a venture capitalist, he admits.

“Looking back 15 years, I believed that because I was a successful entrepreneur that I probably had the knowledge and experience needed to become a successful tech investor. But in truth, it’s not so — it’s an entirely new and different discipline, and it takes a long time and many mistakes to truly and deeply learn, like any specialist trade,” he admits.

Supplied

Keet van Zyl, Knife Capital

Another “veteran” venture capitalist in South Africa, is Keet van Zyl. Together with Anthea Bohmert, he serves as a managing partner of Knife Capital.

Knife Capital invests via a consortium of funding partnerships, including a Sars section 12J Venture Capital Company, KNF Ventures and select family offices. The VC in 2017 set up a UK office, managed by former Springbok rugby player Bob Skinstad (see this story).

Its current investment include among others DataProphet, PharmaScount, Quicket and Swedish tech firm MOST (he and Bohmert were in Stockholm this week for a board meeting — Ed).

The VC also builds high-growth technology enabled SMEs through its Grindstone Accelerator (a fifth cohort was launched recently — see this story) and aims to fill critical gaps in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem through education and enterprise development initiatives.

Van Zyl trained as an accountant with an MBA and is qualified in intellectual property (IP) law.

Before founding Knife Capital with Bohmert in 2010, he helped structure various private equity funds in Southern Africa for a US fund-of-funds investor and worked at industry-leading companies such as Procter & Gamble, Investec and Mark Shuttleworth’s “Here Be Dragons” (HBD) Venture Capital. He is also on Savca’s board.

Things are going pretty well at Knife Capital. Says Van Zyl: “We currently have amazing deal flow and one of our key challenges at the moment is which opportunities to pass on. Next investment is in the edtech space and should be announced soon, with likely one more closing later this year.”

In addition, Knife Capital has since exited from all seven companies that made up part of the R150-million HBD Fund that Knife took over and managed (see this story). The seven were: CSense, Fundamo, Clicks2Customers, Moyo restaurant group, SA Cab, FlightScope and orderTalk.

It could be another cracker of a year for the VC. With summer approaching Van Zyl will likely be celebrating — by either cruising around the Cape Winelands and coastline on his Harley Davidson or surfing with his wife and two young daughters.

via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvmFa-V9dTU

Paul Cook, Silvertree Holdings

Silvertree Holding‘s managing director Paul Cook is another veteran investor in South Africa’s tech scene.

Cook — a former management consultant — founded Silvertree Holdings in 2013 with Manuel Koser, who formerly headed Rocket Internet online fashion retailer Zando, and Peter Allerstorfer (both of whom share the position of managing director with Cook).

Other than a role as a management consultant, focusing on pan-Africa strategy, public and private sector — Cook has co-founded and headed tech for a small startup. Before that he did his PhD in theoretical physics at Caltech in Los Angeles.

Silvertree is more a holding company of tech investment than a VC per say.

Its portfolio includes 12 firms in which it has invested in since 2013. They include among others Pricecheck, CompareGuru, Ucook and CarZar.

In November last year Ventureburn reported that Silvertree was busy buying up companies left, right and centre — ahead of a planned listing in 2023 — relegating many of the founders to mere operators of the businesses they once founded. Not all are happy about it (see this story).

And in August Koser last year told Ventureburn that Silvertree looks to take a stake of 30% to 90% in those companies it invests in, with the view of eventually increasing this to 100% (shareholders he adds, will still enjoy “minority rights”). He calls his investment company’s approach one of fostering “co-entrepreneurs” (see this story).

Cook says Silvertree is very busy at the moment, having signed three terms sheets in the last few weeks, details of which he expects will be announced as soon as legals done.

When not investing, Cook enjoys hiking, as well as reading history and economics. Currently his young children dominate a lot of his off-time, he says.

Clive Butkow

Clive Butkow, Kalon Venture Partners

Clive Butkow is the new kid on the block in Gauteng for VC investments in tech startups.

His Kalon Venture Partners is a registered Section 12J VC company, through which investors that invest can get a tax deduction.

Since it was launched in 2016, Kalon has invested in a number of tech startups, including amon others Ozow (formely i-Pay, which netted funding in June from the investor — see here), SnapnSave and FinChatBot.

Butkow has a computer science and applied maths degree from Wits University and describes himself as being an entrepreneur from as early as eight years old.

But after graduating from university instead of starting a tech business he joined Accenture (formerly Arthur Sanderson) where he stayed for 28 years. During that time he held numerous leadership positions. He was the company’s COO before he retired at the end of 2012.

During his Accenture career he had the opportunity to work around the globe building tech businesses including Silicon Valley and other entrepreneurial ecosystems. It’s this that got him excited about starting his own VC.

A self-confessed “fitness freak”, Butkow likes to spend an hour a day boxing. He also loves watching sports and says he’s a huge Manchester United fan.

When not working out, he’s boxing clever in the VC sector. “We are closing one deal with another Cape Town based VC and have a very solid pipeline which we should have decided on investing within a month or two from now,” he says.

Supplied

Gavin Reardon, Kingson Capital

Gavin Reardon is the general partner of Durban-based venture capital (VC) fund Kingson Capital, which he founded in 2015. The fund is a registered Section 12J VC company, which allows investors that invest in the fund to tap tax deductions.

In February the VC announced the launch of a R400-million VC fund aimed at investing in 30 to 50 tech startups and black-owned small businesses (see this story).

In Kingson Capital’s first fund (Fund One — see the portfolio here) the VC invested in 10 companies including Finfind – a matching platform for lenders and businesses seeking funding, Spazapp – an online ordering system for the informal marketplace (see this story) and Healthcloud – a data aggregator in the healthtech space.

Before starting the VC, Reardon served as a CFO for a local financial services business, after qualifying as a chartered accountant.

He decided to start Kingson Capital after struggling to find funding for his own tech startup at the time. “I then saw the opportunity for something far bigger and set out to create a fund that could invest in multiple startups,” he says.

“I have always loved creating business value and developing new things. Getting into the world of startups is the best of both combinations and something I enjoy very much,” he says.

Supplied

Ketso Gordhan, SA SME Fund

Meet South Africa’s new heavyweight shaking up the VC scene.

In August last year former PPC Cement head Ketso Gordhan took the helm as CEO of the SA SME Fund (see this story) and he’s already creating waves in the VC sector.

The R1.4-billion SA SME Fund is capitalised presently by 54 JSE-listed firms (having grown from 48 who’d committed earlier). The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages government employees’ pension funds, has also approved a R500-million equity funding commitment to the fund.

The fund lends and invests via other investment funds, including VC funds (see this story on the list of funds).

In November last year Ventureburn confirmed that a VC deal concluded by Knife Capital’s KNF Ventures earlier that same month in SA healthtech firm 5nines Technologies had effectively become the first investment that the SA SME Fund was involved in.

In a report in March SA business daily Business Day, the fund said R725-million of the R1.4-million pledged has already been committed with the balance expected by August (this month).

The newspaper quoted Gordhan as saying that by August the fund is expected to be the “largest” institutional investor in venture capital in SA.

It said the total amount will support 10 significant black businesses, 200 SMEs, and five black entrepreneurs over the next five years.

Gordhan — a former anti-apartheid activist — has previously served as the head of private equity at FirstRand for almost a decade. He has also managed a personal impact investment portfolio with a focus on education in SA and Rwanda and has served as Africa advisor to the Omidyar Network.

He has also served as head of Africa for the Commonwealth Development Corporation where he led the Africa investment strategy for the UK government’s development finance arm.

Among his other roles, Gordhan was also first post-apartheid director general in the Ministry of Transport and served as the city manager for the City of Johannesburg in 1999 and 2000.

At the time of his appointment Gordhan told Ventureburn that he hopes to match his experience as a senior government official and private equity and impact investor to the mandate of the SA SME Fund. “This is to create and grow mainly black entrepreneurs and businesses,” he said.

Many are hoping that he will stand and deliver.

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Healthtech platform Hospitalia wins Seedstars Cairo

Integrated healthcare platform Hospitalia has been crowned the winner of this year’s Seedstars Cairo pitching competition.

The Seedstars Cairo pitch took place yesterday (22 August) at Seedspace Cairo.

The Cairo-based startup, which was founded earlier this year, provides on-demand access to primary care medical home services through certified healthcare practitioners.

A virtual assistant Android app RafiQ was placed second, while Hovo, an on-demand app for ordering trucks took third place.

Seedstars Cairo 2019 winner Hospitalia was founded this year

Hospitalia will now represent Egypt at the Seedstars MENA where they will get a chance to win a spot at the Seedstars Global Summit in Switzerland.

At the summit, the winner will take home a $500 000 investment prize, as well as receive access to a three month investment readiness programme.

The other startups that pitched at the event were:

3yadtty.comThis startup offers an online video platform that enables patients to search by symptoms, medical topic, or treatment method to understand their medical condition.

ACT Microschools: This network of connected micro schools provides progressive, international and accredited education and is respectful.

Bokdoc: This startup claims to offer the first integrated healthcare platform, that specialises in surgeries, medical tourism and telemedicine

Curiotrip: A medical tourism platform

DarHub: DarHub is a Giza base online marketplace connecting homeowners and SME’s for contracting and finishing projects.

DXwand: This startup’s sales bot, which is registered in the US, connects users to their Facebook page and turns chats into leads and orders to help their business to grow faster.

Esorus: This B2B platform helps users source interior decoration by connecting interior designers, architects and real-estate developers with qualified suppliers.

Farawlaya.com: This e-commerce portal specialises in women’s homewear and lingerie.

Furnwish: Furnwish is hassle free furnishing solution based on augmented reality for both furniture stores and design professionals and homeowners.

Insight Academy: This Giza-based startup has an app and website that helps students and school learners.

Instatute: This platform from Bahrain, democratises education, so that students can find their best teacher for all their qualification based courses.

Jody Shop: An online fashion shop.

Knzinity: This app helps users to post gamified social challenges and in so doing help marketing professionals to achieve growth and user-generated content.

Mowafer Care: This startup offers an online booking platform with a huge discounts through a huge medical network covering all over Egypt.

Netsahem: This startup’s mission is to provide an online presence as well as innovative payment methods for the majority of NGOs in Egypt.

Ordera: A mobile app people can use to place their orders before arriving to the venue and find it ready upon arrival.

Orient Museum: This Alexandria-based startup helps tourists to rediscover the wealth of cultural heritage, thanks to spectacular and interactive technology, while presenting in-depth scientific.

PaşHakeem: This startup has an on-demand home healthcare app which offers home visits, online consultations, clinic booking and AI symptom checker triage chatbot.

Rabbit: Rabbit is a clean-tech transportation company offering electric scooters, vespas and bikes for rent by the minute via iOS and android apps.

Ship’nbag: This startup offers an automated matching marketplace fulfilled by travelers who buy or ship orders on their way back, providing a secured low-cost.

Sweven: This Qalubia startup offers IT and software service solutions.

A jury panel comprised of Seedstars venture capital analyst Francesca T Bombassei, Endeavor Egypt’s Amr Mostafa, BECO Capital’s Omar Barakat, Flat6Labs’s Dina el-Shenoufy and Algebra Ventures managing partner Ziad Mokhtar selected the winners.

Another on-demand healthcare platform, 7kemma, won last year’s edition of the Cairo pitching event (see this story).

Read moreHere are the 12 startups that will pitch at today’s Seedstars Dar es Salaam
Read moreHere are the eight Senegalese startups pitching today at Seedstars Dakar
Read more: Four startups from Zanzibar event win chance to pitch at Seedstars Dar es Salaam
Read moreHere are the 10 Tanzanian startups pitching right now at Seedstars Zanzibar
Read more: Fintech startup Growth Factor wins Seedstars Accra
Read more: 
Seedstars announces Joburg as host city for its Africa summit
Read more
P2P micro lending marketplace Pezesha wins Seedstars Nairobi

Featured image: Hospitalia via Facebook

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Here are the 12 startups that will pitch at today’s Seedstars Dar es Salaam

Want to catch some of Tanzania’s best early-stage startups in action? You’ll want to make your way to Seedspace Dar es Salaam tomorrow where 12 startups will duke it out at this year’s Seedstars Dar es Salaam event.

Seedstars World, one of the largest emerging market startup competitions, has named eight more startups that will pitch at the event.

The eight will join the four winners from last week’s Seedstars Zanzibar event, namely Zanzibar Health Innovation, Nyumbani Care, Zanzibit and DroneWings (see this story).

The event, which kicks-off at 4pm Tanzanian time today, will also feature a fireside chat with Tigo Tanzania chief business officer Pavan Ramdhani.

The Seedstars Dar es Salaam winner will represent Tanzania at the Seedstars Africa and Seedstars Global summits

The Seedstars Dar es Salaam winner will represent Tanzania at the Seedstars Africa summit which will be held in Johannesburg in December (see this story) where they will get a chance to win a spot at the Seedstars Global Summit in Switzerland.

At the summit, the winner will take home a $500 000 investment prize, as well as receive access to a three month investment readiness programme.

The eight other startups pitching at Seedstars Tanzania are:

  • Mtabe App: Mtabe provides offline elearning and assistance via SMS for students who do not access to internet, textbooks or smartphones
  • MyHI: MyHI is a mobile phone app that aims to simplify access to health insurance access
  • Sheria Kiganjani: Digital legal platform that provides access to various legal services
  • Kilimo Fresh Foods: Kilimo Fresh runs a B2B ecommerce produce distribution platform that links smallholder farmers and produce buyers.
  • Noobites: This startup has developed a cloth which releases a highly effective wide-area spatial mosquito repellent which provides round-the-clock protection against mosquito bites.
  • Nuru: A security and defence network for girls powered by girls against sexual harassment and physical violence.
  • EX-Africa Tanzania: This tech hub plans to extend access, align needs and deliver on-demand services through digital platforms
  • MITZ Innovations: Designs, builds and supplies easy to use portable and affordable sets of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) tools for students

The 12 startups will pitch in front of a jury panel that includes Human Development Innovation Fund country director Joseph Manirakiza, WFP Tanzania Innovation hub manager Christof Hawle, Seedstars general manager Innocent Mallya and Ten director of talent Catherinerose Baretto.

Last year’s edition was won by fintech startup fintech Nala (see this story).

Read moreHere are the eight Senegalese startups pitching today at Seedstars Dakar
Read more: Four startups from Zanzibar event win chance to pitch at Seedstars Dar es Salaam
Read moreHere are the 10 Tanzanian startups pitching right now at Seedstars Zanzibar
Read more: Fintech startup Growth Factor wins Seedstars Accra
Read more: 
Seedstars announces Joburg as host city for its Africa summit
Read more
P2P micro lending marketplace Pezesha wins Seedstars Nairobi

Featured image: nike159 via Pixabay

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Here are the 11 startups that MEST invested a total of $1.1m in

MEST Africa has invested $100 000 seed rounds in each of the 11 startups formed by the graduates that participated in its 2019 cohort.

The Meltwater Foundation backed pan African incubator runs a year-long entrepreneurial training programme which is centred around business, communication and software development.

Participants of the programme are provided with in-depth training and mentorship, access to a global network and the opportunity to build the next generation of global software companies alongside other successful graduates.

MEST is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year

The programme was first run in 2018 and MEST is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year. MEST held its Class of 2019 graduation in Accra, Ghana on Wednesday (21 August).

The cohort’s 51 graduates hail from The Gambia, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ivory Coast, and Zimbabwe.

US tech publication TechCrunch said in an article on Wednesday that the cohort’s graduates will launch their startups in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.

The 11 startups and their founders are:

Launching in Ghana:

  • Adi+Bolga: This platform leverages the power of technology and community to gather data and create conversations around black skin and black skincare. The founders are Abimbola-Kofoworola Oladeji (Nigeria), Oluwaferanmi Ogundipe (Nigeria), Millicent Koranteng-Yorke (Ghana) and Amanda Williams (Nigeria).
  • BezoMoney: This digital savings platform for traditional savings groups was founded by CEO Mubarak Sumaila (Ghana), CMO Diana Osei (Ghana) and CTO Kenneth Simpson (origin unconfirmed).
  • Massira: The startup runs a women’s social support network and healthcare service aggregator. The startup’s founders are team lead Samirah Maison (Ghana), team lead Micael Die (Ivory Coast), operations lead Ada Tapily (Mali) and marketing lead Favour Barde (Ghana).
  • Niqao: This financing platform connects merchants and lenders to enable them to offer customers the option of paying in instalments. Its founders are product lead Osborne Saka (Ghana), tech lead Kwadwo Agyapon-Ntra (Ghana), business lead Oreoluwa Akanni (Nigeria) and team lead Jacques Amatcha (Ivory Coast).

Launching in Kenya:

  • Farmula: The startup offers a web and USSD platform that uses an automated process to increase order efficiency between farmers and businesses. The founders are CPO Jacky Kimani (Kenya), COO Ibrahm AbdulMalik (Nigeria), CTO Ahmed Kamal Madani (Sudan) and CEO Vivian Opondoh (Kenya).
  • Nadia: This startup has a personalised automated health companion that provides quick medical attention and prescriptions. The startup’s founders are CTO Victor Okech (Kenya), COO Olamide Akomolafe (Nigeria), CPO Funsho Olaniyi (Nigeria) and CEO Ahmed Elmi (Somalia)
  • Saada: Offering a messaging and mobile money ticketing service for increasing digital sales and data collection, this startup was founded by tech lead Eugene Musebe (Kenya), business lead Gerishon Mwaniki (Kenya), product lead Joel Ulrich Mabou Fene (Cameroon), and team lead Faderr Johm (Gambia).

Launching in Nigeria:

  • CoFundie: CoFundie is a platform for crowd-sourcing funds for the development of buildings using cost efficient and time-saving techniques. Its founders are CEO Chukwuemeka Ndukwe (Nigeria), CTO Kwadwo Amo-addai (Ghana), COO Zahra Faye (Gambia).
  • CoVibes: This startup pairs verified studios and producers, allowing them to list their profiles and manage bookings while enabling artists to find and collaborate with them and each other. The startup’s founders are CEO Kayode Daniel (Nigeria), CTO Victor Yunusa (Nigeria) and CMO Stephen Nderitu (SA).
  • Zuri: This platform helps beauty professionals manage their customers and provides an easy way for people to find and book beauty services. The startup’s founders are team and product lead Onyinye Nnedolisa (Nigeria) and growth lead Aaron Ejeme (Nigeria).

Launching in South Africa:

  • Kweza: The startup enables informal retailers to order products at the best price and receive deliveries directly to their stores. The founders are tech lead Ngunyi Macharia (Kenya), marketing lead Gloria Kaguo (SA), team lead Ropafadzo Musvaire (Zimbabwe) and finance lead Bekithemba Ngulube (SA).

MEST last month appointed of Ashwin Ravinchandran as its new managing director, he takes over from former head Aaron Fu (see this story).

Ravinchandran told Ventureburn today that the startups plan to use the investments to set the companies up in their respective markets and launch their minimum viable products (MVPs).

They’ll also spend the grants on making customer acquisitions, as well as on growing their respective brands, while setting up a base for raising further rounds of funding.

Read moreMEST Africa appoints Ashwin Ravinchandran as new head

Featured image: MEST Class of 2019 (MEST Africa)

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Gugulethu entrepreneurs issue Nedbank with new summons but drop R280m bid

Two Gugulethu entrepreneurs — who in June took on Nedbank over the alleged infringement of their Instablock patent — today issued a fresh summons against the bank, in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

But this time the two, Thandile Jwambi and Tatolo Kutumane, have dropped their demand for more than R280-million in damages and want the court to decide how much Nedbank should pay in royalties they say the bank owes them.

Furthermore, the two entrepreneurs want an interdict restraining Nedbank from further using, making available in any format or disclosing, the invention in the absence of the payment of a reasonable royalty.

The two allege that Nedbank stole their idea for a card-blocking system which they presented in a pitching competition hosted by LaunchLab in Stellenbosch in 2015 and which was sponsored by the bank.

Two Gugulethu entrepreneurs today issued new summons against Nedbank, but now want the court to decide how much the bank owes them

While Nedbank’s attorney for the case, Bouwer’s Theo Doubell was not immediately available to comment, the bank has previously denied that it infringed upon the patent of the two entrepreneurs (see this story).

This, while Launchlab says there is no truth to the allegation that it “conspired” with Nedbank to frustrate the efforts of two Gugulethu entrepreneurs in securing patent rights (see this story).

While the two were forced to reissue the summons after the case hit a legal hurdle, they are also fighting the case in the Court of the Commissioner of Patents where Nedbank is seeking to revoke their patent that was registered by patent attorneys Adams & Adams in 2015.

Initial case withdrawn

The two entrepreneurs have now since also approached the High Court to intervene of their behalf against Nedbank.

Jwambi and Kutumane’s attorney, SA Litigation Funding Company’s (Salfco) Edward de la Pierre told Ventureburn last month that the case had to be withdrawn because the two had not appointed a patent attorney to act in a permanent position on the case, as is required when defending a patent case.

A patent attorney had merely signed the necessary legal documents on behalf of the two entrepreneurs. It is however required that such an attorney represent both parties in the matter itself.

De la Pierre said a patent attorney AJ Rabie Attorneys had been appointed to act on behalf of the two entrepreneurs in the case, but that the case would need to be reissued because of this change.

‘We don’t want to appear greedy’

Commenting today De la Pierre confirmed that the two entrepreneurs were no longer demanding that over R280-million be paid in damages and that the court rather decide on what figure is appropriate.

“We don’t want to appear greedy. So we will ask the court to decide what’s a good number to demand,” he said.

However he stressed that this wouldn’t necessary mean the figure would be smaller than the initial R280-million the two demanded.

He indicated out that a judge at a Launchlab event, had pointed out that a figure of four percent of Nedbank’s monthly service fees to their card holders to be a reasonable royalty figure — putting this at a whopping R1.3-billion.

Read more: Gugulethu entrepreneurs’ R280m case against Nedbank hits legal hurdle
Read more: We did not conspire with Nedbank against Gugulethu entrepreneurs – LaunchLab
Read more: Nedbank denies it stole patent from Gugulethu entrepreneurs

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MAN Impact Accelerator calls on startups to apply for next cohort

The MAN Impact Accelerator has opened applications for its third cohort.

The accelerator — which works with startups in the field of mobility, transport and logistics to tackle social and environmental challenges — is an initiative of German’s MAN Truck and Bus and non-profit Yunus Social Business.

MAN Truck and Bus digital innovation manager Florian Stehbeck told Ventureburn in an email on Monday (19 August) that the accelerator will now source applications from Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

Applications for the third cohort of the MAN Impact Accelerator will close on 1 October

Previous cohorts were sourced from Europe, South Africa and India.

In addition, Stehbeck said the accelerator will now include stops in Munich, São Paulo, Johannesburg and Lisbon.

Participants from the accelerator’s previous cohorts travelled to Bangalore, Cape Town and San Francisco.

Stehbeck said the changes to the programme were enacted to give startups from “other interesting and emerging ecosystems” the chance to take part in the accelerator.

“MAN is highly represented in the Brazilian market with its sister company Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus –another reason for us to stop in São Paulo.

“Furthermore, our social impact footprint can be much more tangible on the South American market — also one of the Brazil India China South Africa (Brics) states — than on just the European or US market,” said Stehbeck.

He pointed out that Lisbon also represents another important startup ecosystem on the European market, as the company has its MAN Digital Hub there.

“We’ve been to Cape Town with the MAN Impact Accelerator twice already. Now it’s time to move on to the vibrant city of Johannesburg,” he added.

Applications for the third cohort of the MAN Impact Accelerator will close on 1 October. The programme is set to kick off in November.

Application criteria

Although the accelerator primarily sources applications from South Africa on the continent, startups from Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania can also apply.

To be considered for the programme, startups must have a strong logistics, transport or mobility focus with a prototype and preferably early revenues.

In addition, they must also have a have a strong purpose and create both tangible and measurable impact beyond financial returns.

The accelerator has a number of key focus areas, these include:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Sensors
  • Digital health and medtech
  • Big data and smart data
  • Chatbots
  • Drones and aerospace
  • Wearables
  • Education
  • Blockchain
  • Internet automation
  • Data analytics
  • Agriculture
  • Last-mile connection and distribution
  • Cybersecurity
  • Platforms

The programme’s curriculum is conducted in several locations around the world.

Participants of the programme will be in Munich between 24 and 27 November for team building and purpose. Then between 19 and 22 January they will be in São Paulo for customer development and impact.

Thereafter, between 8 and 11 March the cohort will be in Lisbon, Portugal for the product development as well as marketing and communication component of the programme.

Between 27 and 30 April the programme will take participants for its growth, tech and investment component. This before it moves to Munich where it will  focus on organisation and agility in Munich between 22 and 25 March.

The cohort is set to end in June.

Access to MAN assets and services

Startups selected for the programme stand to benefit from access to MAN staff mentors with industry expertise, access to the company’s global network of partners as well as its supply and distribution networks.

Programme participants will also gain access to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, in addition to a global inpact investor community.

The second edition of the MAN Impact Accelerator had three South African startups among its cohort of eight companies. These were Last Mile for BOPMobile Schools Health and VIA Global Health (see this story).

Two other South African startups — Mellowcabs and GetTruck — took part in the the first cohort (see this story).

Read moreSecond cohort of MAN Impact Accelerator kicks off with three SA companies
Read more: SA startups Mellowcabs, GetTruck join MAN Impact Accelerator first cohort

Featured image: MAN Impact Accelerator (Facebook)

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Here are the eight Senegalese startups pitching today at Seedstars Dakar

Seedstars World, one of the largest emerging market startup competitions, has selected eight Senegalese startups to pitch at today’s Seedstars Dakar pitch event.

The event will take place at Sonatel Headquarters in the Senegalese capital.

The Seedstars Dakar winner will represent Senegal at the Seedstars Africa summit which will be held in Johannesburg in December (see this story) where they will get a chance to win a spot at the Seedstars Global Summit in Switzerland.

The Seedstars Dakar winner will represent Senegal at the Seedstars Africa and Seedstars Global summits

At the summit, the winner will take home a $500 000 investment prize, as well as receive access to a three month investment readiness programme.

The 10 startups pitching at Seedstars Dakar are:

  • Afrikamart: This startup aims to become the largest quality fresh food supplier in West Africa. The startup’s solution tackles the challenges of access to market, logistics and efficient agriculture in the fresh food sector.
  • Amalog Afrique: Amalog Africa aggregates a number of e-commerce websites on a single platform, allowing customers the purchase products at lower cost.
  • Car Rapide Prestige: Logistics and delivery service startup which also offers a private rental service.
  • Beinday: Beinday allows anyone to be online via its free Wi-Fi access points.
  • Keys Job: Keys job is an applicant tracking system. Apart from recruitment services, the platform also offers online education courses for job seekers.
  • Nima Codes: This startup offer a simple phone number addressing system for places without formal street addresses.
  • SenVitale: SenVitale has developed a digital health passport which tracks and stores important medical information.
  • Niaata: Niaata is a mobile application which aims to help local producers and craftsmen promote and market their products to the rest of the world

The eight will pitch in front of a jury panel comprised of Brightmore managing partner Ndeye Thiaw, Netherlands Trust Fund 1V ITC national coordinator Diabel Ndaw, Grofin investment manager Elhadji Malick Soumare and Seedstars World regional manager for Africa Claudia Makadristo.

Last year’s edition was won by payments startup Sudpay (see this story).

Read more: Four startups from Zanzibar event win chance to pitch at Seedstars Dar es Salaam
Read more
Here are the 10 Tanzanian startups pitching right now at Seedstars Zanzibar
Read more: Fintech startup Growth Factor wins Seedstars Accra
Read more: 
Seedstars announces Joburg as host city for its Africa summit
Read more
P2P micro lending marketplace Pezesha wins Seedstars Nairobi

Featured image: Jeff Attaway via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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What decriminalisation of cannabis means for the workplace [Opinion]

Following the Constitutional Court’s ruling in September last year, cannabis use, possession and cultivation in South Africa has been decriminalised with adult persons now permitted to use, possess and cultivate cannabis in a private place for personal consumption.

Given that the ruling does not deal with the effects of the decriminalisation of cannabis in the workplace, many unanswered employment related questions emerge which myself and my colleague Shane Johnson (who co-wrote this piece) set out below.

What can be said, at this stage is that the ruling does not affect an employer’s obligation to maintain a safe working environment for all of its employees.

This includes prohibiting employees who are “intoxicated” from entering the workplace, and policies and testing applicable to alcohol use in the workplace are not likely to be appropriate in dealing with cannabis use.

Cannabis in the workplace

In terms of the ruling, the use, possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults is permitted “in private”.

Last year’s cannabis ruling by the Constitutional Court does not affect an employer’s obligation to maintain a safe working environment for employees

Although cannabis use, possession and cultivation is not confined to one’s “home” or a “private dwelling”, it is likely to be difficult for an employee to argue that the workplace is a “private” space, especially given that the use of cannabis in public or in the presence of non-consenting adult persons is not permitted.

The more difficult issue is where employees use cannabis in private, outside of the workplace, and thereafter report for duty.

Cannabis can affect an employee’s occupational capacity in various ways, including performing tasks more slowly, performing poorly when handling routine, monotonous tasks, difficulty in multi-tasking, difficulty in taking instructions from superiors, difficulty in making crucial decisions (especially in high risk situations), difficulty in operating machinery or motor vehicles.

It is these consequences that an employer will have to consider when the employee reports for work and test positive for cannabis use.

The above scenario may not seem very different to employees using alcohol in private and then reporting for work.

The difference, however, between alcohol and cannabis in relation to workplace policy is that for as long as alcohol is detected in the human body, it results in impairment; Cannabis may be detected in the human body for months after use, which at that time may no longer cause impairment.

Testing of employees for cannabis

Medical testing of employees remains regulated by section 7 of the Employment Equity Act (EEA).

Medical testing of employees is permitted if it is justifiable in light of medical facts, employment conditions, social policy, the fair distribution of employee benefits or the inherent requirements of a job.

An employer who wishes to test an employee for cannabis may be able to justify such testing relying on the provisions of the EEA.

A number of tests (some of which are not available in South Africa at present) are used to test for cannabis: breath, blood, oral fluid (saliva), urine, sweat and hair. 

Saliva tests will show cannabis use in the past 24 hours (which could be an indication that the employee is still impaired) but hair testing will show cannabis use for up to months after use (which could mean that the employee is no longer impaired).

It will not necessarily be the actual testing that will be problematic, but what one does with the test results.

Workplace policies and procedures

Most employers enforce a zero tolerance approach to the use of any drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

Prior to the ruling it was relatively easy to deal with cannabis at work as cannabis use, possession and cultivation was a criminal offence.

Following the ruling, and given that traces of cannabis may remain in the body for months after use (which does not automatically result in impairment) employers may need to regulate cannabis as a separate issue and by implication through a separate policy and procedure. Zero tolerance policies may not be justifiable.

Employers and their occupational medical practitioners should consider the safety requirements at the workplace and determine whether a zero tolerance approach is justifiable or whether there is an acceptable limit of cannabis trace after some time of use.

This may include conducting a screening test (such as a saliva test) that will show immediate past use and then conducting further tests to establish the level of impairment.

​Lizle Louw is a partner at Webber Wentzel. She specialises in collective and individual labour law with a specific focus in the mining industry. This article was co-written with Shane Johnson, a professional support lawyer at Webber Wentzel.

Read more: Want to run a cannabis startup? Here’s what is legal [Q&A]
Read more: SA’s first cannabis incubator forced to reschedule workshop after demand hits a high

Featured image: audreysteenhaut via Pixabay

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