Cactus Capital, the investment arm of Cactus Advisors, today announced the closing of its second and third investments of CY 2016 into seed and growth stage African tech ventures – Flutterwave and E-Factor, following its investment in Q1 2016 into Ugandan based mobile payment aggregator, Intel World International.
Speaking at the Allan Gray Orbis E2 Accelerator program at Standard Bank Future Labs in Cape Town, Cactus Advisors’ founder and CEO, Zach George said the Company was excited to be investing in pioneering fintech companies that had graduated from leading accelerator programs worldwide.
Flutterwave is a San Francisco-based team of African entrepreneurs, financial services technologists & mobile payment experts that provides end-to-end payments technology and infrastructure which enables payment service providers, global merchants, licensed money transfer operators and pan-African banks to process payments to and from Africa with one API integration.
They are a graduate of the prestigious Y-Combinator Accelerator in Silicon Valley whose graduates have included companies such as Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, Eventbrite, and Instacart, amongst several others. Rather than implement separate integrations for card schemes, mobile money networks, e-wallet and bank account payments across Africa, Flutterwave’s clients can leverage one API integration to ensure end users can pay and get paid anywhere across Africa.
Flutterwave has processed over $20 million in transactions to date for clients that include Uber, Paystack, Page Microfinance Bank, and Access Bank.
E-Factor is a South African-based Fintech company that has created a digital factoring platform where companies can sell their receivable invoices through an auction to investors with the highest bid.
By investing in these invoices, investors obtain new short-term investment instruments with low-risk returns. Compared to banks, the E-Factor solution is quick, flexible and favourable.
E-Factor does not limit companies contractually or analyse financials, or do any credit decisions. A company can sell its invoices just when a quick working capital need arises.
E-Factor (formerly called InvoiceXchange) was a graduate of the Barclays Tech Lab Africa Accelerator, the first ever corporate accelerator program run on the African continent which was run and managed by Cactus Advisors.
IWI Africa, also a graduate of the Tech Lab Africa Accelerator Programme, is a Uganda-based Fintech company that aggregates payments and commerce into a single platform that enables businesses to transact with their customers on any mobile device.
IWI Africa gives businesses platform solutions enabling them to automate their payments and commerce and ultimately increase revenue and/or reduce their costs and general business efficiencies.
“As Cactus Advisors, simply investing into high growth, high impact tech-enabled ventures on the continent is not good enough, unless we critically have the right enabling environment on the continent for tech start-ups to access markets, channel partners and customers.
“Corporate Africa with its powerful consortium of financial services firms, retailers, telecommunication firms, insurance companies and media houses – all of whom are yet to seriously tap into the innovation pipeline that tech start-ups offer – provides the ideal platform for commercialising proof-of-concept agreements with start-ups that serves as a perfect risk mitigation shield to investors looking for returns in the African venture capital sector”, said Zach George, Cactus Advisors’ founder – a former top-tier Wall Street investment banker and alumnus of Stanford University Graduate School, who moved to South Africa in 2010.
After 3 years of running the Africa operations of U-Start, a global investment advisory firm for prominent venture capital and private family offices, Zach founded Cactus Advisors to pioneer corporate venture capital driven accelerator programs on the African continent in partnership with Philip Kiracofe, an American venture capitalist and partner at Horizen Ventures Africa.
Following on the successes of the Barclays Tech Lab Africa Accelerator where 10 fin-tech and health-tech ventures raised a collective total of $10million along with 7 engagements and Proof of Concept projects with Barclays – Zach and Philip were offered to jointly run Startupbootcamp in Africa.
Startupbootcamp is a global network of industry focused startup accelerators that scales and grows start-ups globally by giving them direct access to an international network of the most relevant partners, content, investors and mentors in their sector.
Startupbootcamp started in 2010 and now operates 15 accelerator programs in 11 locations around the world including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Eindhoven, Istanbul, London, Rome, Singapore, Miami, Mumbai and New York.
Startupbootcamp Africa aims to enable local tech start-ups to grow and scale quickly, gain exposure on a global scale, and to support start-up development in Africa, building on the successes it has had over the last 5 years:
- 34 programmes worldwide
- 345+ start-ups accelerated
- 72% funding success rate
For more info on Startupbootcamp Africa, see: http://bit.ly/sbc-sa0816
Africa’s Top 10 Tech Start-Ups Selected For #Africa4Future Accelerator Programme
Airbus and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the top 10 African tech start-ups that will take part in the latest Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme. They were selected after an open public pitch event in front of experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Kenya’s capital city.
#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.
The top 10 start-ups were selected from 314 entries representing 19 African countries that were received when the challenge was opened last October. These were assessed by a panel of Airbus and other independent experts.
The programme aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa. The continent’s young and increasingly techno-savvy population is likely to be the driving force behind Africa’s socio-economic development. The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.
As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.
The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.
The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.
1. Astral Aerial (Kenya) – using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response.
2. Cote d’Ivoire drone (Ivory Coast) – locally-manufactured drones for various applications.
3. Elemental Numerics (South Africa) – applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.
4. Lentera Limited (Kenya) – applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming.
5. Maisha ICT Tech PLC (Ethiopia) – deploying locally built drones for delivering medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.
6. MamaBird (Malawi) – provides a platform to help Governments, NGOs and other organisations deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.
7. Map Action (Mali) – a solution offering real-time online urban mapping to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.
8. MobiTech Water Solutions (Kenya) – an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.
9. Track Your Build (Nigeria) – a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.
10.WiPo Wireless Power (South Africa) – offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.
Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up Success
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
Herman Mashaba To Talk On City Of Jo’burg Job Creation Initiative
Herman Mashaba to talk on City of Jo’burg job creation initiative at 2019 Business Day TV SME Summit.
Leading organisations at the SME Summit
Start-up Advice1 week ago
6 Fundamental Steps To Consider Before Venturing Into The South African Cannabis Industry
Business Landscape1 week ago
How Algorithmic Forecasting Can Improve Business Efficiency In Challenging Economic Times
Business Ideas Directory1 week ago
300 Business Ideas To Inspire You Into Entrepreneurship
Start-up Advice1 week ago
Outdoor Versus Indoor: How Different Conditions Will Impact Your Budding Marijuana Business
Women Entrepreneur Successes2 days ago
How A Serious Car Accident Led Founder Relebohile Moeng To Starting Afri-Berry
Lessons Learnt4 days ago
(Slideshow) Top Advice From Local Entrepreneurs That Will Change Your Business In 2019
Start-up Advice1 week ago
4 Things Nobody Tells You About Entrepreneurship
Company Posts1 week ago
Success Fuelled By Partnership