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Knife Capital launches second 12J Venture Capital Fund 

Knife Capital has announced the launch of its second Section 12J Venture Capital fund for new investors to support South African entrepreneurs.

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Cape Town-based venture capital (VC) company Knife Capital has announced the launch of its second Section 12J Venture Capital fund for new investors to support South African entrepreneurs.

Knife Capital launches second 12J Venture Capital Fund

Titled KNF Ventures II, it maintains the same investment mandate as the first fund and aims to accelerate the growth of local startups and SMEs and to generate returns for entrepreneurial-focused investors.

Section 12J venture capital companies enable investors to invest in higher-risk SMEs and in turn, generates innovation, employment opportunities, and overall economic growth. Investors are able to claim amounts incurred on acquiring VCC shares as a deduction from taxable income.

Disruptive technologies

The global pandemic has demanded a rise in innovation as many entrepreneurs and business owners aim to meet the demands of an ever-changing dynamic. This has resulted in the adoption of digital technologies and the creation of disruptive technologies.

Keet van Zyl, Partner at Knife Capital provides insight into the rise in disruptive technology-based startups.

“There is a tangible shift towards embracing new ways of working, learning, interacting and transacting. This can also be felt in the investment space,” said Keet van Zyl, Partner at Knife Capital. “Certain alternative asset classes like venture capital – where fund managers have been investing in technology companies for years – are experiencing increased interest from institutional and individual investors wanting to diversify.”

The sunset clause

The VCC regime is subject to a sunset clause that stipulates that no new Section 12J deductions will be granted after June 2021.

Van Zyl claims that even amidst this uncertainty on whether the government will extend the lifespan of the Section 12J incentive, money has not stopped flowing into venture capital companies.

While currently tax deductions will still be granted until June, Van Zyl highlights the importance of looking beyond the 12J tax incentive.

“It needs to be about more than the tax break. Sure, 12J is a good incentive as investors start the investment process in a favourable Internal Rate of Return (IRR) position due to the immediate tax benefit. But without a credible venture capital asset class backed by institutional in investors, family offices as well as individuals, access to growth funding by South African SMEs will continue to be a challenge.”

Read more: Catalyst Fund announces eighth fintech cohort
Read more: COBRA and SMEgo partner to help SMEs find funding

Featured image: Founders of Knife Capital (Supplied)

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/01/knife-capital-launches-second-12j-venture-capital-fund/

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SA payments platform Yoco raises $83m in funding

South African payments platform Yoco has announced that its Series C round of funding has raised $83 million — or R1.2 billion — for the company.

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South African payments platform Yoco has announced that its Series C round of funding has raised $83 million — or R1.2 billion — for the company.

This brings the total funds raised by the company to date to $107 million.

Yoco attributes the success to a surge in demand for digital payment solutions from African SMEs. The company, which offers payment technology and software solutions, has reached over 150 000 small businesses in South Africa since launching its solution six years ago.

Over the next two years, the company plans to expand into other African countries and the Middle East.

Yoco’s point-of-sales technology has enabled previously cash-only businesses to accept card payments from customers. These businesses make up the majority of Yoco’s customers.

In the latest round of funding, investors included Dragoneer Investment Group, Breyer Capital, HOF Capital, The Raba Partnership, 4DX Ventures, TO Ventures, and Futuregrowth.

Yoco looks to the future after successful funding round

The company says it will use the funding to invest in its continued growth.

“We are excited to partner with such world-class investors who have joined our quest to break barriers and create access to financial services for millions of small businesses across the continent,” Katlego Maphai, CEO of Yoco, said in a statement.

“Looking ahead, this investment will unlock capacity for us to accelerate product development for our merchants and continue on our growth trajectory in South Africa and beyond.”

Over the next two years, the company plans to expand into other African countries and the Middle East.

Through expanding into other regions, Yoco hopes to increase its reach one million merchants in the next four years.

“This new capital injection translates into an acceleration of access for small businesses in our region and beyond, bringing our vision of open commerce forward,” Maphai added.

Read more: CDI Capital Growth Fund opens funding applications for small businesses

Read more: Kenyan fintech M-Kopa announces Nigeria expansion

Featured image: Supplied

Over the next two years, the company plans to expand into other African countries and the Middle East.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/07/sa-payments-platform-yoco-raises-83m-in-funding/

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Petrol fintech Energy Swipe aims to keep SA driving

Energy Swipe is a Durban-based fintech startup aiming to give SA motorists equal opportunity to keep driving during the month with their new offering.

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Energy Swipe is a Durban-based fintech startup, founded by entrepreneurs Vukile Mchunu (CEO) and Malusi Mkhungo (CTO). The startup plans to promote financial inclusion by giving SA motorists equal opportunity to keep driving during the month, even when their pockets run dry.

“We aim to do so by combining our passion for technology with petroleum and finance,” said CEO, Mchunu, in an interview with Ventureburn.

Energy Swipe launches in August

The bootstrapped startup is currently partnering with SA petrol stations to install the company’s terminal IDs at their forecourts. “This terminal ID will work with the Energy Swipe card to allow all our clients to pay at our partnering petrol stations with a simple swipe. The service comes with an app for your smart device to help the user monitor their profile, check their credit allowance, change the pin, block the card if its lost or stolen, or even send a direct message to us if you are going to be travelling to find out the closest partnering stations along the way,” explained Mchunu.

The company will be launching the offering later this year

The CEO went on to say that though the price of petrol keeps increasing, “…the sad truth is that the income of a lot of motorists doesn’t increase as frequently as the price of petrol. This year alone, the price of petrol has increased three times and we have no guarantees that it won’t increase again soon. South Africans feel like R100 per trip is much cheaper than filling up the full tank. We, as Energy Swipe, are here to solve that problem and allow them to save more but travel more because they can now fill up any time of the month,” he explained. Mchunu clarified that the company is currently working closely with credit firms to help them identify qualifying clients.

Mchunu explained that the platform will work with a bank of the user’s choice to debit an amount from the user’s bank account. “Our system is a ‘pay-as-you-go’ – if you didn’t use our system for that month you won’t have to worry about paying,” he commented. Still, why would motorists choose the offering if anyone can use their card at a petrol station? Other benefits of this safe and reliable cash alternative include no transaction fees (unlike normal bank cards), instant card balance check, card spending tracking and instant credit payout.

With plans to launch the offering in August this year, CTO Mkhungo is excited about its potential social impact. “Energy Swipe doesn’t just aspire to make a living, it aspires to make a difference, and the difference is acquired through the merging of three phenomenal sectors – finance, technology and sustainability in the petroleum industry,” he concluded.

Read more: Yoyo launches SME card-linked loyalty offering
Read more: Travel startup Viatu launches new Namibia Covid-Hub

Featured image: Energy Swipe co-founders Vukile Mchunu (CEO) and Malusi Mkhungo (CTO)

Mchunu explained that the platform will work with a bank of the user’s choice to debit an amount from the user’s bank account. “Our system is a ‘pay-as-you-go’ – if you didn’t use our system for that month you won’t have to worry about paying,” he commented. Still, why would motorists choose the offering if anyone can use their card at a petrol station? Other benefits of this safe and reliable cash alternative include no transaction fees (unlike normal bank cards), instant card balance check, card spending tracking and instant credit payout.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/07/petrol-fintech-energy-swipe-aims-to-keep-sa-driving/

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Team Basket wins R25 000 first place in Silicon Cape hackathon

SA tech NPO Silicon Cape and the US Mission to SA  announced Team Basket as the winner of their third virtual hackathon on 27 June 2021.

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SA tech NPO Silicon Cape and the US Mission to SA announced Team Basket as the winner of their third virtual hackathon on 27 June 2021.

The hackathon is three of four in this partnered initiative, called ‘Hackathons for SA: Digital Solutions for Real-World Challenges’. The programme aims to discover digital solutions to accelerate inclusive economic growth for businesses in SA’s township economy.

Team Basket’s instant township delivery service

Team Basket walked away with the R25 000 grand prize. Team leader Esihle Vellem described their concept: “We help street vendors and spaza shops buy fresh produce from small-scale farmers and wholesalers by providing them with an online application and an instant delivery service. With this model, we address issues such as running out of stock and having to close down the stand or buy from fellow vendors at a higher price, lack of quality control and the absence of an online stock management system to track orders. Plus, they benefit from pre-negotiated discounts, produce that is delivered with a quality assurance guarantee, and the ability to make bi-weekly purchases with safe delivery assurance.”

The hackathons aim to find digital solutions to support SA’s township economy

In addition, Team Basket won a Silicon Cape membership valued at R1 600 and $2 000 in Amazon Web Services credits. Silicon Cape is a leading ecosystem enabler for tech-enabled start-ups; Team Basket will be connected with accelerators, mentors, and other relevant community members such as developers, angel investors and venture capitalists to help take their solution to market.

The R15 000 second place prize went to Soft Glitch for their ‘Commiploy’ concept, a gig opportunity platform that enables communities to purchase local products, access services and apply for various odd jobs. Team leader Shaqeel Less explained that the platform is geared towards businesses, customers, and unemployed youth. “Our vision is to build up and sustain local businesses and provide opportunities for local communities to grow with them,” he said.

Acting Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate General in Cape Town, Emily Shaffer, said, “We were blown away by the innovative ideas presented. These digital solutions to real-world challenges will make a tangible difference to the many vital businesses that make up SA’s township economies. Covid-19 has had an unprecedented effect on businesses, and solutions like those offered this weekend by young innovators demonstrate that through partnership and innovation, economic resilience is achievable. We look forward to following the journeys of these bright minds.”

Silicon Cape Director Zimkhita Buwa concluded: “We believe that tech can help change the world we live in and are delighted to have witnessed so many innovative solutions that address the challenges faced by local businesses and communities. We hope that all the teams continue to hone their solutions for the good of SA’s vital township economy.”

Read more: Cape NPO Life Choices launches digital skills accelerator
Read more: SA chicken chain Hungry Lion harnesses AI to reduce errors

Featured image: Kojo Kwarteng via Unsplash

The hackathons aim to find digital solutions to support SA’s township economy

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/07/team-basket-wins-r25-000-in-silicon-cape-hackathon/

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