Egypt eCommerce startup secures six-figure funding 

Egypt eCommerce startup secures six-figure funding 




Egypt eCommerce startup secures six-figure funding 

Giza-based eCommerce tech startup Kemitt has secured an undisclosed six-figure amount in funding from a group of Saudi Angel investors.

Kemitt has secured an undisclosed six-figure amount in funding

 The funding will be utilised by the Egypt tech startup to expand and grow its operations, further develop its technology and enter new markets in the region starting with Saudi Arabia. 

Mahmoud Fouad, co-founder, and CEO at Kemitt comments on the investment, indicating that the startup will utilise the funding to expand and scale up its operations.

“We are very excited about the opportunity that This investment gives us, it will enable us to scale up our operations and expand to new Markets! We invest in technology to drive growth, and we have prioritized solving logistical pain points to ensure a smooth journey from the factory to the customer’s home. We believe that digitizing the furniture industry in the region is crucial for the local economy. After all, Our goal is to put Kemitt as a first choice when you consider furniture shopping.” 

Kemitt

Founded in 2018, Kemitt is an eCommerce platform that sells a range of furniture and design products for consumers.

As a platform, Kemitt enables product designers to sell their uniquely-made furniture products online and increase their overall revenue by reaching new online customers. 

The eCommerce tech startup claims to offer customers access to over 15 000 SKU, with on-demand manufacturing and delivery. Delivery can take up to 7 – 12 days. Kemitt has digitised the furniture shopping experience and offers payment and financing plans for customers.

Read more: South African cryptocurrency platform raises R58.5-million
Read more: Joburg healthtech startup secures undisclosed seven-figure funding

Featured image: Kemitt team (Supplied)

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Free funding course for entrepreneurs launches 

Free funding course for entrepreneurs launches 




Free funding course for entrepreneurs launches 

Startup Circles will be hosting a free online business funding summit to equip entrepreneurs with the skills set to on how to gain funding for their business. 

Startup Circles will be hosting a free business summit on how to raise funding

The business summit will take place from April 20 to 24.

According to Startup Circles, the key to success is securing the right capital by seeking out angel investors and venture capital.

 Sandras Phiri, founder of Startup Circles explains the overall aim of the free summit. 

“This business funding summit is for entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses using funding from angel investors and venture capital. We want to help them understand what investors look for in a business and how to build a valuable business.”

The summit was inspired by Phiri’s first-hand experience that has indicated that many African entrepreneurs do not know to practically build a great company. 

“We have been saying for a long time now that ‘this is the time for Africa’ and ‘Africa is the future but that will not happen if we keep focusing too much on theory. Like Steve Blank says we need to ‘get outside the building’ and build real solutions,” adds Phiri.

The free funding summit

Interested entrepreneurs can register online or the course. 

Participants will learn the following over the course of the four-day event: 

  • What investors look for in a business
  • Why taking investment is better than taking a loan
  • How to better define a business proposition with a high growth potential
  • How to create a scalable business model
  • How to maximise the return on investment generated by your business
  • How to find the right type of investor for your needs
  • How to connect with and pitch your business to investors.

The summit aims to positively contribute to the African startup ecosystem by assisting companies with the tools to access funding and in turn help, the ecosystem generate more startups that are cutting-edge and scalable. 

“There is a huge number of investors looking for companies to invest in but cannot find them because most companies are not investor ready. On the other hand, many businesses are looking for investors but do not know what investors look for or how to present their businesses to them. Startup Circles bridges that gap,” explains Phiri.  

Startup Circles has two target markets. The first: aspiring entrepreneurs who want to launch a venture and want to make sure it is investable from day one; the second: existing businesses who want to raise investment to scale up. 

“We found that there are business owners who are very busy building their companies but don’t know how to pitch their businesses. While the business could be doing well, they miss out on massive growth which is usually made possible by external capital. We help these business owners to present their businesses in the way that attracts investors. Also, we put them in front of the investors every month,” concludes Phiri.

Read more: Applications for Grindstone Accelerator programme now open  
Read more: African fintechs encouraged to apply to Catapult: Inclusion Africa 2021

Featured image:  Sandras Phiri, founder of Startup Circles

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Tech trends that cannot be ignored in 2021 and beyond

Tech trends that cannot be ignored in 2021 and beyond




Tech trends that cannot be ignored in 2021 and beyond

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated reduced physical human interaction with more people engaging online now than ever before. This is unlikely to fade anytime soon and will see the increased datafication of our lives.

Every click leaves a digital or data footprint – a trail of information that we have viewed or created. These digital footprints will only become greater as 5G roll out is accelerated

Beyond speed improvement, 5G allows for autonomous and remote control of robotics and other types of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. As these technologies feature more prominently, the rate at which new data is generated will become even more frightening.

For organisations, preparing to be a part of these plays will be critical to ensuring future survival. 

Unstoppable tech trends that will rule in future

Intelligent automation is transforming our workplaces. Every organisation should embrace automation; it holds the potential to increase efficiencies and productivity across industries, and greatly contribute to economic growth.

Interface innovations like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri have enabled the ease of interaction with technology, and as these interfaces advance, the symbiotic relationship between technology and humans will become more of a reality.

Big data is one of those megatrends that will impact our lives in one way or another – both negatively and positively. There are major concerns around data privacy, security, and sharing that need to be addressed collectively. Blockchain technology however addresses some of these concerns because it will overhaul how we store, share, and protect data much more efficiently. 

Finally, platform models will continue to drive new ways of doing business. Embodied by the likes of Alibaba, Uber, and Amazon, these businesses have shifted the way business is done in their respective sectors. We should see a similar pattern in financial services, and health, among others.

Meeting the challenges of disruptive technological change

While these advancements and trends offer the potential to transform businesses and the lives of their clients, there are important challenges to consider.

For organisations to participate in the platform space, as drivers, orchestrators, or platform users, they must be well-positioned from a technology point of view. Many companies with legacy IT systems will face hurdles in this regard and will be forced to invest in transformation or risk losing out in value chains created.

Another key challenge that cannot be ignored is data mistrust. Individuals want to know that their data is not being misused or abused. It remains to be seen how regulators will respond regarding ethical issues with data, and those organisations that operate within highly regulated industries will need to begin engagements with regulators sooner rather than later.

The geopolitics of data will also have an impact in the future. Recently, we have seen some countries implement total internet shutdowns. When that happens, how do you access data sitting in, say, Ireland? Data will become a national asset and certain platform providers such as Amazon are now opening data centres on the continent in response.

As technology advances at a rate never seen before, the skills gap continues to widen. There is a major shortage of data science skills not only on the continent but globally. These skills will continue to be in high demand and the challenge for companies is to find ways to mitigate this risk. As leaders, we need to make sure we create a big pipeline of these skills that are required to be able to mine and extract insights and drive data science initiatives.

How organisations should position themselves to remain relevant

As African organisations, we must embrace digital commerce and finance to remain relevant on the global stage. This will be critical as the continent transfers to a services economy. With its young population and absence of legacy issues, Africa is well placed to become the next sourcing centre from which the rest of the world can procure services.

Further, as economies recover post the pandemic, we must be as close to consumer interactions as possible. Gaining insight into what your consumers are saying must be prioritised. But to be able to mine and extract insights and drive data science initiatives, a big pipeline of skills is required.

Organisations will have to invest in building a data-driven culture and invest in initiatives such as data science academies to ensure the availability of appropriate skills. The more companies automate, the less traditional skills are required but that does not mean there isn’t a place for them within the organisations. Those resources can be repurposed by adding additional skills such as data and digital literacy.

With the increasing demand for these skills not only on the content but across the globe, developing data science academies has the potential to create employment on the continent but this will largely depend on the strategies of government and organisations.

Those organisations that can get this right will win in their industries. We need to build a data-driven culture and engrain it in the way we do business and execute, there is no way else to remain competitive now and in the future.

The opportunity for the African continent

The African continent has a greenfield advantage in that it is not weighed down by legacies that other parts of the world would struggle with. African countries and organisations can innovate and create from scratch and become early adopters of disruptive technology.

Of course, the continent is not without challenges. But impediments should inspire us to become more innovative by engaging with these advancements. The challenge of internet access, for example, has been solved in part by mobile networks. Mobile money was innovated out of mobile penetration in the continent. If we waited for internet access to provide financial services, we would still be waiting.

Over and above the young population dividend, we should take full advantage of initiatives such as the AfCFTA, which enables the entire continent to be able to easily trade with one another and will accelerate our ability to transfer innovations across the continent. Such policies have come at the right time, and we need to embrace the implementation very positively.

This article was written by Emanuel Osanga, Head: Africa Regions Data Office at Standard Bank Group.

Featured image: Marvin Meyer via Unsplash 

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Will Ethereum remain the second largest cryptocurrency?

Will Ethereum remain the second largest cryptocurrency?




Will Ethereum remain the second largest cryptocurrency?

Smaller cryptocurrencies like Polkadot and Cardano are challenging Ethereum’s dominance in the general-purpose blockchain space.

Ethereum’s 1 330% sprint over the last 12 months has been driven by the dramatic emergence of decentralised finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) but there are other cryptocurrencies that are nipping at its heels for dominance in this space.

Smaller cryptocurrencies like Polkadot and Cardano are challenging Ethereum’s dominance in the general-purpose blockchain space

Chief among them is Cardano, up more than 3 500% over the last year, and Polkadot, up 1 360% since it first traded in August 2020.

How are these cryptocurrencies different to Bitcoin?

Bitcoin’s primary purpose is to establish itself as a viable alternative to traditional fiat currencies (like rands or dollars) and was designed to be peer-to-peer digital cash. Today, Bitcoin is used as both a store of value (similar to gold) and a medium of exchange (like a normal currency).

Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polkadot and Cardano are cryptocurrency projects that provide the blockchain technology to do more than just act as a store value or digital cash. They offer multi-purpose blockchains for smart contracts and decentralised applications to run. This means that their blockchains can be used in multiple ways depending on what the end-user wants to accomplish.

As an example, ether – the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum’s blockchain – can be used as a digital currency just like Bitcoin, but that is not its primary purpose. Instead, ether’s primary purpose is to power its blockchain, much like oil is used to power the global transportation networks. 

What are smart contracts and decentralised DApps?

Smart contracts and decentralised applications (DApps) sound intimidating but are actually simple concepts – they refer to some code or programmes that runs on top of a blockchain that automatically executes actions based on certain conditions. 

As an example, if a food order is delivered (action completed) and the customer acknowledges receipt of the order (condition completed) then a payment can be authorised to the food delivery service (payment completed).

And, when you combine multiple smart contracts you get what is we now call decentralised apps, or ‘DApps’, which are really just like apps that run on your IOS or Android phone but instead run on top of a blockchain (like Ethereum, Polkadot or Cardano’s).

For these smart contracts to be executed or DApps to work, you have to use the native cryptocurrency on each blockchain to pay for the costs that miners charge to process and verify transactions. It’s through the increased usage of these blockchain networks, that the value of smart contract blockchain native cryptocurrencies gain in value. It’s simply a case of demand outpacing the supply of the cryptocurrency in question.

What does this all mean?

Ethereum, Cardano, and Polkadot offer blockchains that act as operating systems that enable smart contracts and decentralised applications to be developed and executed for lending, gaming, investing, and earning interest, not to mention purchasing insurance and trading between countries amongst millions of other potential use cases.

“The crypto market is already larger than Apple – and it’s not just Bitcoin and Ethereum – because there are going to be different applications for different things. If you’re looking to capitalise on trends shaping ‘the new normal’, then consider investing in assets that are global, generational, and digital – cryptocurrencies offer just that,” says Sean Sanders, Revix’s CEO and Founder.

Sanders describes a future where everything from contractual agreements to the payment of taxes to the tracking of tender-related funds is built into the plumbing that directly connects individuals and enterprises in a wide range of new kinds of business relationships.

“There is a big general-purpose blockchain battle underway. Ethereum, Cardano, and Polkadot together with EOS, VeChain, and Tron are competing to become the next global decentralised operating system for blockchain-based applications,” says Sanders. “This is one of the most exciting developments in the last several decades, akin to the development of the internet in the early 1990s and cloud technology of the early 2000’s. And one thing is for sure: there will be big winners and losers.

“People often hear the word cryptocurrency and all they think about is the currency part, but this is actually a misnomer, as not all cryptocurrencies are trying to become digital cash. This is exactly why we decided to launch our Smart Contract Bundle, which holds the top five smart contract enabled cryptocurrencies and is then automatically updated every month as the market changes. We view this as the safest and easiest way to securely invest in this fast-growing crypto theme without having to bet on which single cryptocurrency will become the next big success story.”

What’s next?

The Ethereum network has come to dominate this space but is facing some serious competition from the likes of Cardano and Polkadot – which were developed by some of the original founders of Ethereum. In fact, over the last 12-months, Cardano and Polkadot have played major catch-up as shown with the returns displayed below. 

Revix

A battle for dominance of the smart contract space is underway

Charles Hoskinson was one of the co-founders of Ethereum who went on to found Cardano with the aim of solving some of the speed and scalability problems that have bedevilled Ethereum.

Gavin Wood, also a co-founder of Ethereum (together with Vitalik Buterin), which he described as “one computer for the entire planet,” left Ethereum in 2016 to set up the Polkadot network which, like Cardano, is more flexible and scalable than Ethereum. 

Each of these is bidding to become the dominant player in the emerging Decentralised Finance (DeFi), Non-Fungible Token (NFT), and decentralised gaming arenas.

Not to be outdone, Ethereum is undergoing a major upgrade known as Ethereum 2.0, the main purpose of which is to increase transaction throughput from the current 15 transactions per second to tens of thousands per second. Cardano plans to push through 1 million transactions a second once its network is sufficiently developed – though when that will remain an open question.

EOS is another decentralised blockchain network that promises millions of transactions a second (it’s not there yet) and will allow smart contracts to be built on top of it with some fancy functionality, such as task scheduling and account recovery. EOS is also a cryptocurrency that is traded on several exchanges.

Tron is another decentralised blockchain platform with a slight difference. It was founded in 2017 by the Singapore-based Tron Foundation, headed by CEO Justin Sun, with the aim of allowing peer-to-peer transactions between content creators and content consumers, without middlemen.

While Netflix hosts content on its platform and charge the subscriber for watching movies, paying content creators a fee, Tron would allow anyone to upload digital content to its platform and the audience would pay the content creators directly.

The aim is to decentralise a heavily concentrated global media industry that acts as a gatekeeper for information and entertainment.

As shown below, Revix’s Smart Contract Bundle has performed exceptionally well over the last 12-months. 

Revix

Other ways to intelligently invest in cryptocurrencies

Revix

Revix offers another two crypto bundles focused on specific investment themes:

Revix also offers a Payment Bundle, which provides exposure to the largest five payment-focused cryptocurrencies looking to compete with government-issued fiat currencies to make digital payments cheaper, faster, and more global. These cryptos include Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Stellar (XLM).

A third bundle offered by Revix is the Top 10 Bundle, which spreads your investment over the top 10 largest cryptocurrencies as measured by market cap. As with all other bundles, the portfolio is re-balanced each month to make sure that each crypto is given a weighting of exactly 10%. This bundle achieved a remarkable 842% growth over the last 12 months.

You can also buy and sell USDC (a “stablecoin” fully backed by the US dollar) and a physical gold-backed token called PAX gold which provides legal ownership of an ounce of gold through Revix’s online platform.

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PUMA partners with SA logistics startup 

PUMA partners with SA logistics startup 




PUMA partners with SA logistics startup 

Globally-renowned sportswear company PUMA has partnered with local logistics startup Pargo to offer its customers a convenient way to pick up their orders via Click & Collect delivery option. 

PUMA partners with Pargo

Christopher Baird Team head eCommerce South Africa at PUMA Group explains that the partnership has already indicated a success amongst consumers. 

“Once our first Click & Collect PUMA orders were placed, we quickly realised that Click & Collect is a delivery service our customers have been looking for. It gives our on-the-go customers full control of their deliveries, allowing them to plan their days around collection instead of waiting on a delivery.” 

The partnership will enable PUMA customers to collect their ordered goods from any one of Pargo’s pickup points across the country. There are currently over 3000 pickup points that users may select to pick up their ordered goods. 

Pargo Pickup Points include SPAR, Clicks, and Caltex. The ease of access allows PUMA customers to collect their goods at a time that is most convenient for them. 

These Pargo Pickup Points allow consumers to collect their online orders at popular retailers, like SPAR, Clicks, and Caltex, at a time that meets their schedules best. 

The delivery has been tailored to be affordable for PUMA consumers and enables the popular sports brand to reach its customers in areas near and far in South Africa. 

Traditional delivery methods fail to accommodate individuals who live in non-urban areas and it is often costly to deliver to small towns and rural areas. Pargo’s partnership with PUMA overcomes these challenges but providing a secondary delivery option. 

Derk Hoekert, co-founder at Pargon comments on the partnership with PUMA. 

“Bringing accessible delivery to anybody in Africa is what we aim for at Pargo and so we were delighted to assist PUMA with extending their customer footprint to all corners of the South African landscape.“ 

How does it work?

PUMA customers are able to select Pargo Click & Collect as a delivery option after purchasing an item off their website. The option will be present at the online checkout page on the PUMA website. 

Users will be able to choose from over 3000 pickup points available. 

Read more: Applications for Grindstone Accelerator programme now open  
Read more: New fintech partners with SA logistics startup 

Featured image: PUMA South Africa, Facebook 

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 New fintech partners with SA logistics startup 

 New fintech partners with SA logistics startup 




 New fintech partners with SA logistics startup 

Newly launched South African fintech startup Spot Money has partnered with local logistics startup Pargo to effectively and efficiently deliver the Spot debit cards to clients across South Africa. 

Spot Money has partnered with Pargo to deliver its physical debit cards free of charge

Zeyad Davids, Chief Marketing Officer at Spot Money explains that the partnership with Pargo enables the fintech to provide easy and effective distribution of its physical debit cards. 

“Our partnership with Pargo has given us access to a simple, cost-effective distribution solution that keeps our Spot debit cards safe and allows us to easily reach a wider consumer base, which traditional delivery methods don’t necessarily allow for.”

The partnership

The partnership between the two tech startups will enable Spot Money users to order their debit card directly via the Super App. The card will be delivered by Pargo at no cost to the user. 

Users will have the option to collect their Spot Money debit cards at any of the 100 Pargo Pickup points that are located in Clicks stores across the country. 

Lars Veul, CEO at Pargo explains that the Click and Collect option is a further extension of the startup’s commitment to convenience and ease of access to its financial services. 

“South Africans are welcoming the ability to take control of their day through the in-store collection as we’ve seen with the continuous growth in Click & Collect over the last year. We find that the same time constraint South Africans who prefer Click & Collect when shopping online are also interested in a seamless delivery experience when receiving other goods, in this case, debit cards, because it gives them the convenience of never having to queue for service ever again.” 

Cards can be ordered via the app and users are able to select their preferred delivery option. Users must note that if the option to collect is selected, the card must be collected within 14 days. 

Spot Money

Founded at the start of 2021, Spot Money has created the country’s first Open Bank offering that aims to function as a one-stop-single customer-centric platform catering to all of a user’s financial needs. The service is delivered through a ‘Super App’ which works hand-in-hand with the Mastercard developed physical card. 

The physical card will enable users to tap-and-pay at selected Mastercard retailers and promote the ever-growing contactless payment method. 

As an open banking service, the fintech centres its services around the use of its app, enabling users to access a range of services such as free money transfers between Spot Money users, contactless payments, loans, and insurance products. 

Read more: New fintech startup launches SA’s first Open Bank offering
Read more: Fintech launches digital payment system for unbanked in Africa

Featured image: Pargo (Supplied)

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South African cryptocurrency platform raises R58.5-million

South African cryptocurrency platform raises R58.5-million




South African cryptocurrency platform raises R58.5-million

Cape Town-based cryptocurrency investment platform Revix has raised R58.5 million in off-shore capital funding.

Revix raises R58.5 million in off-shore capital funding

The funding raised will be used to launch the fintech startups’ mobile app, several Fourth Industrial Revolution Investment opportunities, and to expand its business model and offering into the European Union. 

In addition, the funding will enable Revix to create 30 new jobs in South Africa. 

https://www.facebook.com/RevixInvest/photos/2871155646475593
Revix, Facebook

Revix

Founded in 2018, Revix aims to empower everyone to become their own wealth manager with its investment platform that allows users to access a diversified portfolio of cryptocurrency. 

Sean Sanders, CEO, and founder of Revix highlights the main aims of the tech startup. 

“We aim to blur the lines between investing in traditional asset classes, such as stocks, as well as the emerging alternative investment sectors, such as AI, biotech, 5G, eSports, and cryptocurrencies, said Sean Sanders, CEO, and Founder of Revix. “We want to empower everyday people to safely invest in emerging themes, technologies, and asset classes in an effortless way.”

Revix claims to be the first investment platform in South Africa that offers a behavioural loyalty and rewards programme, where customers can earn points that can be redeemed for Bitcoin. 

“We’re building a behavioural loyalty model that incentivises investors to undertake smart investment decisions, such as diversifying their investment portfolios, growing the investment community, improving their financial knowledge, and making smart long-term investment decisions, while being rewarded for doing so,” Sanders explains. 

Global recognition and participation

Revix has also announced that it is the only South African fintech to be accepted into the prestigious six-month Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator. 

Jocelyn Weber, director of X-Labs and Berkeley’s Blockchain Xcelerator explains why Revix was chosen to participate in the global accelerator. 

“The accelerator is renowned for partnering with businesses that target global societal challenges by using novel technologies. Revix has created a platform that has the potential to break down the barriers to access within this alternative investing space.”

In addition, Revix was also selected for Wave 2 of the Qatar FinTech Hub’s (QFTH) Incubator and Accelerator Programmes.

Read more: Joburg healthtech startup secures undisclosed seven-figure funding
Read more: Local cyber-security tech startup secures funding

Featured image: Sean Sanders, CEO, and founder of Revix (Supplied)

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Applications for Grindstone Accelerator programme now open  

Applications for Grindstone Accelerator programme now open  




Applications for Grindstone Accelerator programme now open  

Applications for Grindstone’s accelerator programme, an initiative tailored towards scaling up high-growth and innovation-driven SMEs in South Africa, are now open. 

Applications close at the end of April 2021

Ketso Gordhan, CEO of SA SME Fund comments on the launch of the next cohort of the accelerator. 

 “The SA SME Fund aims to play a leading role in developing the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our investment in Grindstone is an example of this. Grindstone has done an excellent job in helping to grow a pipeline of entrepreneurs that have managed to raise funding for their startups – a good early measure of success. We are excited by the disruptive and innovative businesses we are seeing coming through in the cohorts and encouraged by the diversity showcased.”

Grindstone Accelerator programme

As an equity-free structured entrepreneurship development programme it is carried out over a year and participants will be provided market access opportunities, funding readiness, gap analysis, and value-adding interventions. 

Will Green, programme director at Grindstone explains the overall aim of the accelerator. 

“Grindstone engineers entrepreneurial Growth. This has been our core purpose from when the programme started back in 2014. We continue to build and improve on this model to deliver measurable impact to all our founders and the broader startup ecosystem that includes alumni, advisors, angels & partners. Engineering success is multi-faceted and we have the frontline experience to support founders in their growth journey.”

The accelerator programme aims to provide training and support to assist selected SMEs to become sustainable and fundable. 

This is the eighth Cape Town cohort and ninth Johannesburg cohort for the renowned programme. As a principal funder in the SA SME Fund, Grindstone’s primary partners include Knife Capital, Thinkroom, Deloitte Digital, and Google for Startups. 

Grindstone claims that previous participating SMEs experienced an overall revenue increase of 52%, an increase in business efficiency across 30% of a business’s functional areas, and raising follow-on funding. 

Requirements

Grindstone has outlined the following requirements for interested applicants: 

  • Must be a South African registered company 
  • Indicate post-revenue with customer traction and at least R500k revenue per annum 
  • A dynamic team 
  • Display innovation with a clear competitive differentiator 
  • Showcase a scalable business model. 

Applications close at the end of April 2021 and must be completed online

Grindstone Ventures

Not only will participating SMEs take part in the accelerator but according to Grindstone participating entrepreneurs will become early-stage investors. 

This is due to the contribution of a female-led VC that has launched a seed equity fund for Grindstone Accelerator companies. 

Catherine Young, Partner of Grindstone and Managing Partner of Grindstone Ventures provides insight into the implementation of Grindstone Ventures.

 “Our aim with Grindstone Ventures is to close the much needed pre-Series A, post-seed gap, a currently underfunded stage in South Africa’s startup funding journey. Our secret sauce lies in the relationship we build with Grindstone cohorts from early on in our engagement that enables us to address qualifying funding gaps early. The innovative investment structure helps our founders to think differently about their business models and creates a vested interest in fellow cohort companies.”

Read more: African fintechs encouraged to apply to Catapult: Inclusion Africa 2021
Read more: SA government extends Covid-19 loan guarantee scheme for SMEs

Featured image: heylagostechie via Unsplash 

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Fintech launches digital payment system for unbanked in Africa

Fintech launches digital payment system for unbanked in Africa




Fintech launches digital payment system for unbanked in Africa

Headquartered in London, SendSpend plans to launch its global payment system platform that enables unbanked individuals in Africa to complete payments and transfers only using a smartphone device. 

SendSpend plans to launch its global payment system platform that enables unbanked individuals in Africa to complete payments and transfers only using a smartphone device

In a press statement, Tracy Andersson, co-founder and group director of SendSpend explains that the fintech is committed to ensuring financial inclusivity in Africa.

“SendSpend is committed to enhance and uplift the lives of people in underserved local communities. Financial inclusion is a primary focus in achieving one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of eliminating poverty and SendSpend is very proud to be part of this very ambitious goal. We want to enable economically marginalised consumers to participate in the digital economy by having access to financial services.” 

SendSpend

Founded in 2016 by South African duo Tracy Andersson and Graham Davies, SendSpend is focused on providing an essential financial service to Africa.

SendSpend’s platform utilises cloud and mobile technology enables unbanked individuals in Africa to access much-needed financial services simply with an internet connection and access to a smartphone device. The payment system is not restricted to a specific mobile network or financial institution. 

Currently, the app is available in South Africa but SendSpend plans to launch its offering through the continent. 

The free-to-use and download platform simply requires users to register to use its services. 

How does it work?

The mobile payment system is not linked to a bank account or mobile operator and is owned and operated by SendSpend. 

As the sole owner of the platform, the supply chain is cut down and eliminates unnecessary costs which results in SendSpend being able to provide an affordable service to both consumers and merchant owners. 

Graham Davies, co-founder of SendSpend explains how the fintech is able to provide a cost-effective service. 

“We set out to develop a payment system that was affordable, secure, and functional. In addition, SendSpend’s flexible and dynamic architecture enables us to adapt to different compliance and regulatory requirements encountered by different countries. This allows us to offer a full suite of services and functionality when competitors often can’t”.

Customers are able to top up their virtual card or withdraw money from SendSpend Cash In/Out agents that are available in their area. 

The online platform can be used to pay for services or products at selected merchants either by scanning the QR code or entering the registered mobile number into the online checkout. 

To ensure that each transaction is conducted safely, two-factor authentication using an OTP is a requirement for all online transactions.

Assisting township SMEs

Not only does SendSpend’s platform assist unbanked individuals but it aims to empower township or rural merchants. By opting to become a SendSpend agent, business owners are able to generate an income by setting their own cash handling fees for users who wish to withdraw money. 

“Our Smart Agents are the backbone of SendSpend’s Agent Network. We’re taking financial services right into the villages and rural areas that frequently pose a challenge to financial institutions. Consumers no longer need to travel long distances to access financial services such as insurance, money transfers, and online buying,” adds Andersson. 

Customers are able to find viable Cash In/Out agents by simply searching on the in-app Google map which indicates the distance and fees each agent charges for a deposit or withdrawal. 

Online businesses

To tackle the challenge that many online businesses face where a product is ordered and customers are unable to pay for the item, SendSpend holds the online payment in escrow. 

“In this way, the merchant has confidence that the goods will be paid for once delivered and the customer has confidence that they can cancel the order and have funds immediately refunded to their SendSpend e-Wallet should the incorrect goods be delivered, or the goods not be delivered at all,” explains SendSpend. 

SendSpend is an Authorised Financial Services Provider, approved by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

Read more: African fintechs encouraged to apply to Catapult: Inclusion Africa 2021
Read more: Working from home qualifies a financial claim from SARS

Featured image: CardMapr.nl via Unsplash 

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Joburg healthtech startup secures undisclosed seven-figure funding

Joburg healthtech startup secures undisclosed seven-figure funding




Joburg healthtech startup secures undisclosed seven-figure funding

Quro Medical, a South African health tech startup that is has created Africa’s first technology-driven hospital at home offering, has secured an undisclosed seven-figure USD amount of funding in a seed round led by Enza Capital and Mohau Equity Partners.

Quro Medical is a South African health tech startup that is has created Africa’s first technology-driven hospital at home offering

According to the healthtech startup, the funding will be used to accelerate the growth of the businesses. 

Mike Mompi, Partner at Enza Capital attributes the investment made into the healthtech startup to its unique offering that goes beyond traditional telemedicine and in-hospital treatment. 

“As our collective healthcare systems struggle to care for patients beyond the walls of a hospital, which we’ve seen exacerbated with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote patient monitoring, and healthcare delivery will undoubtedly form a core part of the lasting solution. Vuyane, Zikho, and the exceptional Quro Medical team are redefining how world-class healthcare is delivered across Africa.” 

Quro Medical

Founded in 2018, Quro Medical is a healthtech startup that aims to provide affordable and high-quality healthcare solutions to South Africans. 

With a focus on a digital-first approach, the healthtech startup is currently building Africa’s largest virtual hospital ward with a focus on providing premier healthcare at a lower cost. 

Quro Medical claims that its platform reduces the cost of healthcare delivery by utilising real-time and data-driven clinical interventions as opposed to traditional healthcare approaches. 

Dr. Vuyane Mhlomi, Quro Medical’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer explains that the key drive behind its offering is the technology employed within the startup. 

 “We are focused on saving lives and enhancing patient care. The technology is the enabler, making all of this possible. This investment will enable us to accelerate our growth and meet the increased demand from our clients.”

Affordable healthcare at home

The global pandemic has placed severe strain on hospitals and Africa’s healthcare landscape, with excessive demand, limited bed capacity which in turn hinders patient treatment and recovery as the overall outcomes. 

Zikho Pali, Quro Medical’s Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer highlights that there has been a dire need for an innovative approach to the problems faced in treating acute patients in South Africa. 

“The healthcare sector across the globe has experienced extreme pressure and strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and desperately needs digital solutions to ease many of the problems experienced in it.” 

With this in mind, Quro Medical has reported that research has indicated that acute patient care at home has the ability to result in better clinical outcomes, lower costs, and an overall improved patient experience. 

“Quro Medical’s affordable and accessible solution combines state-of-the-art hardware and software and clinical excellence to manage acutely ill patients in the comfort of their homes,” explains Quro Medical. 

The healthtech startup enables effective homecare treatment by incorporating clinical data and remote healthcare monitoring tools to provide effective treatment to patients.

“Apart from the high and continuously escalating costs, traditional brick and mortar hospitalization carries with it the risk of hospital-acquired infections that can be resistant to antibiotics and have serious consequences for vulnerable patients,” adds Pali. 

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Featured image: Quro Medical team (Supplied)

The post Joburg healthtech startup secures undisclosed seven-figure funding appeared first on Ventureburn.