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Cactus Capital Announces Investments Into Two New African Tech Ventures In 2016

Flutterwave and e-Factor added to portfolio alongside IWI Africa.

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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.

Related: Enko Education Investments Matches Money With Passion

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.

Related: Want to Get Rich? Know How to Diversify Your Investments

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

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Bonang Matheba Announced As 2018 AWIEF Awards MC

AWIEF has announced multi –award winning radio host, TV presenter and style icon, Bonang Matheba as the 2018 AWIEF Awards MC and host.

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Bonang Matheba, affectionately referred to by fans as Queen B, has firmly positioned herself as Africa’s most sought after entertainment personality and SA’s number one social media darling.

With just three weeks from recognising, honouring and celebrating women entrepreneurs and business-owners in Africa for their innovation, excellence and contribution towards economic growth and social development, AWIEF has also announced songstress, BUCIE as the music entertainer for the night.

40 Finalists out of more than 1350 nominations were revealed for the AWIEF Awards last month. Winners will be announced at The Westin Hotel in a five-star gala dinner on 9th November 2018.

Tickets to the awards evening are selling fast. To secure your seat, please click here.

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Things Schools Need To Stop Doing To Grow Entrepreneurs

Here are 8 things that would make a significant impact on generating enterprising behaviour.

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It is no secret that the current structure of the education system was designed in an entirely different age to achieve economic outcomes that are no longer viable due, in large, to the rapid innovation and adoption of technology.

But if we are to hope to help President Ramaphosa implement his vision for entrepreneurship as stated in the SONA 2018 address as, “The establishment through the CEOs Initiative of a small business fund – which currently stands at R1.5-billion – is an outstanding example of the role that the private sector can play. Government is finalising a small business and innovation fund targeted at start-ups,” we need to change how and what schools are teaching for this to be realised on a large scale.

Here are 8 things that would make a significant impact on generating enterprising behaviour:

1. Stop teaching kids using one or two teaching methods

Typically, teachers have defaulted to talking, reading and some visual aids to impact knowledge to learners and those children that don’t learn using these primary methods are at a disadvantaged and are often labelled as challenged. There are at least 6 different ways in which people learn, and entrepreneurs often fall into the lesser known ones. By blending methodologies that include interpersonal, kinaesthetic and intrapersonal with the more traditional ones, entrepreneurs will learn more effectively.

2. Stop Rewarding Conformity

Maybe it comes from a fear of anarchy or lawlessness, but the stringent rules that exist in schools punish children for exhibiting individualism and reward children for staying in line. Quite literally. This unwavering adherence to the rules without question, breeds thinkers of the same calibre and releases into the world children that cannot function without set structures that they must conform to when they actually need to be creatively problem solving in order to make a mark for themselves.

Related: Spark Schools: Adapting At The Speed Of Scale

3. Stop Measuring Memory

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How well a child can retain the dates, figures, theories or equations does not indicate the measure of a child’s intelligence. It only indicates how well their memory works and how adept the learner is at recalling what they have read or been taught. Remembering, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy, is a lower order thinking skill. Instead, let’s measure critical thinking, interrogation of ideas, application of thinking across contexts.

4. Stop Being a Teacher

When the world relied on a central person as the curator of knowledge, the world needed teachers. They were idolised and hailed as a custodian of growth and development due to the fact that they knew more about their subject than anyone else in society.

Today, the internet is the purveyor of information, a teacher if you will, and children no longer need to be taught the information but what to do with it. So long as children can read, the job of person at the front of the class is to educate not to teach.

5. Stop Running a Factory

From the uniforms to the desks to the bell that signals the start and end of lessons and the allotted amount of time dedicated to eating and going to the bathroom, schools are churning out citizens primed for factory work. The production line mentality has been conditioned into our children so much so that with the entry of technological automation and the removal of the human element in these mundane, routine tasks, we make them immediately redundant to the world.

6. Stop Labelling Every Disruptive Child as ADHD/ADD

As an educator myself and now an entrepreneur, I recognise the exhausting and relentless burden that our school-based teachers bare. They are weighed down with administration and parental expectations all whilst trying to navigate an education system that is increasingly deficient. Any child that does not learn in the usual manners and requires more attention or additional stimulation by non-traditional teaching methods.

If, as a country, we are dedicated to changing the current economic outlook not just for ourselves but for those that will inherit this legacy then the systems that shape our thinking must be changed too. Entrepreneurial thinking and action is discouraged and punished in our current education system and only once children leave behind the 12 years spent at school can they begin to unlearn this way of mental conditioning and become active citizens.

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Chivas Venture Calling On South African Start-ups To Win A Share Of $1 million

South African applications for the Chivas Venture 2019 Now Open!

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Today Chivas Regal announced the launch of the Chivas Venture 2019 – a global competition that gives away $1 million in no-strings funding every year to the hottest social start-ups from around the world.

The Chivas Venture provides a global platform for innovative enterprises that are using business to solve an array of social and environmental issues – and today marks the opening of the South African applications. 

Since the competition’s launch in 2014, Chivas Venture-supported enterprises have enriched the lives of more than 1 million people in over 40 countries, across six continents.

Just as Chivas blends together whiskies to create award-winning Scotch, the Chivas Venture champions entrepreneurs who blend profit and purpose. Chivas’ belief in blending ambition with generosity, and in using success to enrich the lives of others, was instilled in the 19th century by founding brothers James and John Chivas. Today that philosophy is kept alive not only through award-winning Scotch, but also through initiatives including the Chivas Venture.

Richard Black, Global Marketing Director for Chivas, said:

“At Chivas we believe that blended is better – in life, business and Scotch – and the 100 finalists we have supported to date have proved this, finding the right blend of profit and purpose in their ventures. Since taking part, finalists have reported saving 8 million trees from deforestation, providing 24 million litres of safe drinking water to those in need, and funding 75,000 days of education for women and girls – and that’s just a few examples. The Chivas Venture is continuing to have a global impact and we are proud to be investing another $1 million for 2019.”   

Related: Venture Capital 101: The Ultimate Guide To The Term Sheet

Applicants in each participating country will compete in local heats, with the South African winner flying to the United Kingdom to take part in an exclusive Accelerator Programme. Hosted by The Conduit – a new London establishment that serves as a home for a diverse community of people who are passionate about social change – the intensive training programme will give the global finalists the chance to hone their business and pitching skills.  

Following the Accelerator Programme, the allocation of the first $100,000 of the fund will be put into the hands of the public with three weeks of online voting. The Chivas Venture 2019 will then culminate in a series of high-stake pitches at the Global Final in Europe, where the finalists will battle it out for the remainder of the $1 million fund.

Radley Connor, Marketing Manager for Chivas Regal SA says, “The Chivas Venture is an amazing platform for South African social entrepreneurs to attract investment and gain global exposure. The competition rewards and celebrates individuals whose purpose is to make a positive difference to society. If you have a great idea, that meets the requirements, we encourage you to enter.”

In 2017, innovative South African water company I-Drop water placed third in the global finals, walking away with close to R1 million in funding. Since winning, founder James Steere has received interest from investors globally.

Clement Mokoenene is the 2018 South African winner and the creator of the Vehicle Harvest Energy System (VEHS). His business is able to generate electricity at a much lower, affordable cost than coal-fired power stations which South Africa currently relies on. The system works by installing an overlay on the existing road to extract the pressure and transferring it to the side of the road, similar to a wind turbine. Mokoenene says a 1km highway stretch could generate enough energy to supply the entire South Africa.

To apply for the Chivas Venture 2019 and find out more about why blending profit and purpose is better, visit the Chivas Venture website.

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