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  • Moroccan real-estate platform Mubawab raises $7m from Middle East property group

    Casablanca based real-estate platform Mubawab has raised a $7-million investment from UAE-based Emerging Markets Property Group.

    Middle East and North Africa (MENA) publication Wamda reported in an article on Tuesday (14 January) that the Moroccan firm will use the funding to grow its team and expand its operations.

    It is not immediately clear when the deal was concluded or how much equity was involved in the deal. Ventureburn sought comment from the company but had not received comment at the time of publication.

    Mubawab was founded in 2012 by Kevin Gormand

    Mubawab connects those looking to sell or property to individuals and other players in the real-estate sector.

    The company — which was founded in 2012 by Kevin Gormand (pictured above) — claims to have over two million monthly site visits, a client portfolio of more than 800 partners and more than 150 000 active listings.

    Last year in June the company acquired Jumia House and has operations in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia on the continent as well as in Qatar, Bahrain and Oman in the Middle East.

    A statement by Emerging Markets Property Group on Mubawab’s acquisition of Jumia House suggests that the group owns the Moroccan company.

    UAE business publication The National reported in an article in 2018 that Emerging Markets Property Group had acquired Mubawab for an undisclosed sum.

    According to US-business intelligence platform Crunchbase, Mubawab has raised a total of $7.9-million since its launch eight years ago. This includes this latest round and a $850 000 seed round which the firm secured in 2012 from Spain’s Enisa.

    Featured image: Mubawab founder and CEO Kevin Gormand (Kevin Gormand via Twitter)

    The post Moroccan real-estate platform Mubawab raises $7m from Middle East property group appeared first on Ventureburn.


  • SA, Egyptian startups selected for Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai 2020 cohort

    South Africa’s SnapSlip and Egypt’s Fawaterak have been selected along with eight other startups for Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai‘s 2020 cohort.

    The accelerator, which launched its first cohort in 2018, is backed by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) HSBC, Visa and Mashreq Bank.

    The accelerator told Ventureburn in a statement today that it received more than 450 applications for its 2020 programme which kicked off last week.

    Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai’s 2020 cohort kicked off last week

    SnapSlip is an application that allows users to record and analyse receipts for such purposes as expense claims. The startup, which was founded in 2017 by Lynton Naicker, was part of Startupbootcamp AfriTech‘s third cohort (see this story).

    Cairo-based Fawaterak is an online invoicing and payment platform that was founded in 2018 by Waleed Elroby.

    The other eight startups in the cohort include Coil Pay (US), Datacultr (India), DD-Ready (Finland), Epension (UAE), Lending Star (Singapore), Marta (Uzbekistan), Tayyab (Kazakhstan) and Trade Quant (Lebanon).

    Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai managing director Khaled Lababidi said the accelerator’s second cohort attracted some of the world’s most prominent fintech startups in the fields of payments, lending, Islamic digital banking and employer gratuity management, among others.

    “The 10 teams will go through an intensive three-month acceleration programme, in the heart of the DIFC and will work with top-notch mentors and corporate partners to secure proof-of-concepts to validate their business models,” added Lababidi.

    Startupbootcamp MENA marketing and operations manager Sarah Shokr explained in an email to Ventureburn today that the cohort will undergo an extensive application process that will support their growth in the local market.

    Shokr added that the startups will work directly with DIFC, HSBC, Visa and Mashreq Bank to develop proof of concepts and raise funds from regional venture capitalists.

    Feature image: Dubai skyline (knt via Unsplash)

    The post SA, Egyptian startups selected for Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai 2020 cohort appeared first on Ventureburn.


  • Tech startups likely to weather SA’s economic slowdown say venture capitalists

    South Africa’s economic outlook is grim. With the prospect of further power blackouts looming and struggling state-owned entities on the brink of failure, the World Bank predicts that the SA economy will grow at below 1% in 2020. In October last year the National Treasury forecast 2019 growth of just 0.5%.

    How will the country’s tech startups face up to the slump?

    While the tech sector has traditionally been less affected to changes in the economy than other sectors, Knife Capital partner Keet van Zyl says the economic slowdown will likely hit the sector, specifically because the local sector’s bias towards business-to-business (B2B) business models.

    “But for those tech companies that have real differentiators or competitive advantages it could have a positive effect, because larger corporates will need to get creative and more efficient so they may look for alternative revenue streams and be more open to partnering with startups,” he says.

    Startups are likely to be hit by South Africa’s economic slowdown but tech companies are often ideally suited to such challenges, says VCs

    Hlayisani Capital director and investment principal Brett Commaille echoes this. He says a tough economy will likely see business spending less and delaying big projects.

    “This certainly makes it tougher for our investees and target companies. They inevitably have to work harder for growth and often need to look offshore for their growth. Thus the tech sector as a whole has more noise to work through when they’re out hunting clients and investment,” he says.

    But he reckons that tech companies are often ideally suited to such challenging environments.

    “Thankfully these are companies who are used to overcoming challenges, so it’s just one more. As with all things though, these challenges often breed opportunity so we’ll be on the look out for those companies who are able to find growth despite a challenging economic environment,” he says.

    And while some international investors are concerned with the the country’s economic woes, Commaille says several view as attractive the potential of a low-cost environment in South Africa, combined with potential for international revenues.

    He reckons that with more funds coming on stream, ticket sizes for deals are bound to get larger. “That said, more and more investors are co-operating so expect more joint investments in the South African space,” he adds.

    Deals in the pipeline

    He said Hlayisani is finalising two new deals at the moment and added “hope to have good news in the next few weeks”.

    “Government has some big challenges ahead which are likely to stand in line ahead of entrepreneurship when it comes to allocation of resources. They may be saying the right things but we’re yet to see if they put action behind those words. Either way, we’re not waiting for government,” says Commaille.

    Despite this, Kingson Capital‘ Gavin Reardon believes that the country will also see the government playing an increasing supportive role, adding that “how we engage with them as the private sector will determine how fast we can accelerate the venture industry in SA”.

    Kingson Capital’s Fund Two has so far closed six deals, with a further two that are in the closing stages.

    Reardon said the VC’s first group of startups is going across to San Francisco for the VC’s inaugural bootcamp that starts next week (see this story).

    Van Zyl said Knife Capital is busy finalising due diligence on a few deals and also picking up on some deals that were too early-stage for the VC to invest in before.

    Some of Knife Capital’s portfolio companies are also embarking on some merger and acquisition activities that the VC is backing. “Expect some new deal announcements between March and June this year,” he added.

    He said Knife Capital’s Section 12J fund, KNF has deployed most of its R180-million and Knife Capital is extending the fund for new investors to participate and build on the success and momentum created.

    New investors in KNF, he said, will be able to participate in KNF’s existing portfolio investments, such as cloud-based ticketing platform Quicket, machine learning business DataProphet and edtech company Snapplify.

    “Our target is to increase the fund from R180-million to between R220-million and R250-million to enable some new investments in our pipeline,” he said.

    Van Zyl said Knife Capital is also looking at ways to plug the Series-B funding gap that exists in SA where there are limited local investors that lead or participate in larger Series-B VC investment rounds and actively manage the portfolio investments on home soil.

    ‘SA SME Fund to fuel sector’

    Turning to the outlook in VC investing, he said the R1.4-billion SA SME Fund — which draws its capital from a number of listed companies as well as the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) — will likely continues to fuel the sector. After backing some of the more established VC’s the fund is now catalysing some new VC fund managers, he says.

    “The (SA SME Fund funded) new University Technology Fund should result in some interesting investments in commercialising core intellectual property,” he added (see this story).

    However, he said Section 12J VC funds will likely find it more challenging to raise funds because of new investment limits (R2.5-million for individuals and trusts and R5-million for companies per tax year) (see this story).

    “But a number of VC Funds focused on SA has under-deployed capital, so the great entrepreneurs out there are in a good position to get funded in 2020,” he said.

    And perhaps things aren’t too bad. At least, according to Kalon Venture Partners‘ Clive Butkow. He reckons South Africa can ride the current upward trend that the continent’s VC sector is on (see this story on VC deals in Africa in 2019 and opinion piece).

    Bullish on African growth story

    Butkow says he’s “very bullish” when it comes to the venture capital sector in Africa.

    “We’re seeing a lot more capital coming into South Africa and Africa and importantly we’re seeing a little bit more of early pre-Series A funding coming in,” he says, adding that there’s been a visible increase in the number of tech companies raising very big rounds on the continent.

    His positivity is based on the increasing use of smartphones and the price of broadband coming down, he says.

    “In the country they’re building global-scale businesses, not just South Africa (focused) ones,” he says.

    Says Butkow: “It’s a good time to be a venture capitalist on the continent”. Tech entrepreneurs will hope it’s a good time to be a startup in South Africa, too.

    Read more: 10 reasons why 2019 was a hot year for Africa’s tech startup scene [Opinion]
    Read more: Are these the 10 biggest deals by African tech startups in 2019?
    Read more: Are these SA’s 11 biggest disclosed VC deals in 2019? [Updated]
    Read more: VC is growing in Africa, but sector still hobbled by lack of follow-on and seed funding

    Featured image: Table Mountain at sunset (Counselling via Pixabay)

    The post Tech startups likely to weather SA’s economic slowdown say venture capitalists appeared first on Ventureburn.


  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [19/01/2020]

    For those in Johannesburg this week, Startup Grind Johannesburg will host MamelodiBiz and Kasi Hosting CEO and founder Monde Zuma for a business development workshop (he runs Startup Grind Pretoria and former president Jacob Zuma is his great uncle — see this story).

    Also in Johannesburg at an Aurik Business Accelerator event, entrepreneur and investor, Pavlo Phitidis will discuss how to start the year with the right mindset for business.

    In Nigeria, the Founder Institute will hold a Startup Legal event where attendees will have the opportunity to ask consult with legal experts on anything to do with their startups. Also be on the lookout for the several Startup Grind events that will be held around the continent.

    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 the events are free and some will require booking in advance. Please click on the event names to find out more information.


    Startup Grind Pretoria

    Join MamelodiBiz and Kasi Hosting CEO and founder Monde Zuma for a business development workshop. He is former president Jacob Zuma’s great uncle.

    Date: 21 January, 9am to 4pm
    Location: American Corner – Es’kia Mphahlele Community Library, Sammy Marks Square, 347 Madiba Street, Pretoria Central, Pretoria

    Start the year with the right mindset for business success

    Join entrepreneur and investor, Pavlo Phitidis as he unpacks the drivers of change and talks to the early movers already positioning to own their markets in this Aurik Business Accelerator event.

    Date: 22 January, 6pm to 9pm
    Location: Workshop 17, 72 Katherine Street, Sandton


    Startup Grind Limbe

    Startup Grind Limbe will host a practical workshop on access to funding.

    Date: 25 January, 12pm to 4pm
    Location: Zixtech Hub, Old Road Sokolo, Limbe, Isokolo, Limbe


    Accra Startup Office Hours

    If you have a startup or startup idea and would like to get feedback and guidance from top local entrepreneurs, then join this event.

    Date: 21 January, 6.30pm to 9pm
    Location: Workshed, 47 Spintex Road, Accra


    Startup Legal

    Join this Founder Institute event where attendees will get the opportunity to ask experts questions on legal issues as they pertain to startups.

    Date: 23 January, 5pm to 8.30pm
    Location: NG Hub, 8 Montgomery Road, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos

    Startup Grind Lagos

    Nathan Leadgate principal consultant Olumuyiwa Oludayo will discuss how to set effective goals for successful entrepreneurship.

    Date: 25 January, 3pm to 5pm
    Location: Seedspace Lagos (Conference Room), 23 Agodogba Avenue, Parkview Estate, Lagos


    Startup Grind Sousse

    Startup Grind Sousse hosts Attila Telco co-founder and Jawhara FM’s Startup Story producer Marwen Dhemayed.

    Date: 22 January, 5pm to 8pm
    Location: Hive 12 Coworking Space, Résidence Bouhajeb, Avenue Yasser Arafat, Sahloul, Sousse

    Drop the Mic pitching competition

    Join Afktar Incubator’s Drop the Mic pitching competition.

    Date: 24 January, 6.30pm to 8.30pm
    Location: Afkar Incubator, 5 Rue lac de Bizerte, les berges du lac, Tunis


    Startup Grind Harare

    Startup Grind Harare hosts a panel discussion with Brands-for-less founder Edith Maziofa-Tapfuma, Plan my Wedding’s Chelsea Evans, Ziht founder Zorodzai Maroveke and African Transmission Corporation director Victor Utedzi.

    Date: 25 January, 8.30am to 11am
    Location: Sabre Business World, 146 Enterprise Road, Highlands

    Featured image: Founder Institute event in Lagos  (Founder Institute Lagos via Facebook)

    The post Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [19/01/2020] appeared first on Ventureburn.


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