The Western Cape might still be the most popular region in South Africa in which to run a tech startup, but the province is losing ground to the country’s richest province – Gauteng, reveals a new survey. In addition, the number of black tech startups is on the rise.
In the 2017 Ventureburn Tech Start-up Survey powered by Telkom Futuremakers – which was released yesterday – 44% of the 260 founders surveyed said they operated in Gauteng (see below graph), behind the Western Cape’s 47%.
Among its other key findings the survey uncovered that:
- The percentage of black start-ups has risen from 26% in 2015, to 50% this year.
- Just three percent of black tech start-ups turn a profit, versus 16% of their white counterparts.
- Over a quarter of start-ups plan to raise angel or VC funding, but only eight percent receive such funding.
- Almost a third say they pay market-related salaries, but pay is the top reason for employees leaving.
- Successful start-up founders are most likely to be white males from the Western Cape.
The percentage is up from 29% in a 2015 Ventureburn survey of 197 founders (see below graph) and is just behind the 47% who reported in the latest survey that they operate in the Western Cape (59% in 2015).
The rise in Gauteng tech start-ups appears to be driven by the increasing number of tech entrepreneurs who are black (black African, coloured, Indian or Chinese South African) – and who now make up half (50%) of the country’s tech start-up founders, up from 26% in the 2015 survey.
In addition, the majority of black start-ups (53%) list Gauteng as their base, with 42% saying Western Cape is their home.
Of the 260 founders quizzed in the latest survey, 46% list themselves as white, down from 66% in 2015 (see above and below graphs). Four percent chose not to reveal their race (eight percent in 2015).
The survey also reveals that while South Africa may have seen an explosion in venture capital (VC) deals of recent – with the value of such deals having increased by 134% in 2016 over 2015 (see this story) – just 10% of tech startups are turning a profit. This is down from 17% in in 2015.
Black startups struggling
Black tech start-ups in particular are struggling. While 16% of start-ups founded by white entrepreneurs are turning a profit, a mere four percent of black-owned tech start-ups are doing the same.
Most worrying is that 61% of black start-ups have yet to generate an income – because they are still working on their concept or are still in the seed stage – compared to 30% of white start-ups.
Furthermore, just nine percent of black-owned startups (and four percent of black African start-ups) generate a revenue of above R1-million – compared to 29% of their white counterparts. Three quarters (75%) of black start-ups generate under R100 000 (and 78% of black African start-ups).
In all, white start-ups accounted for 59% of all those startups that reported having tapped angel funding, while 24% of white start-ups reported having raised R1-million or more to fund their businesses, compared to just eight percent of black start-ups (and 2.5% of black African founders).
It suggests better resourced white start-up founders who often have access to more capital, skills and experience and better networks are able to out perform black start-ups.
The survey also reveals that white start-up founders are significantly older than black founders. Over a quarter (26%) of white founders are 40 years or older, compared to just 13% of black founders. Almost three quarters of black founders are aged 35 and younger, compared to 62% of white founders located in this age band.
This raises various questions as to what is driving more middle-aged white founders to start-up their own business and whether employment equity is behind this or not.
In addition, it might also explain why so few black start-ups are making a profit compared to white start-ups. Older founders are usually more experienced, better networked and have more capital than younger entrepreneurs.
Out of touch in getting angel, VC funding
But back to angel and VC funding, where it seems start-up founders are out of touch with reality.
Over a quarter (27%) of all SA tech start-up founders believe they will grow their business by securing VC or funding from angel investors – yet only about eight percent report ever having been able to secure such funding, a new survey reveals (see the below graphs).
In a further hint that start-up founders need a reality check, just nine percent of those looking for angel investing and just 20% seeking VC funding have firms that are growing or turning a profit.
The majority of SA tech start-ups use their own cash to fund the business (40%), followed by loans and grants from friends and family (23%).
Findings from the survey also put into question whether South African tech start-up founders really pay employees as well as they claim to. Close to one third (31%) that took part in the survey claim they pay their employees market-related salaries.
Yet the same founders list remuneration as the top reason for employees leaving their employ – 21% of founders list remuneration as the top reason employees leave.
This raises the question of whether start-ups are really in touch with market-related salaries or whether a good number of fibbing – particularly as 63% of founders surveyed said their start-up generated less than R100 000 a year.
White founders in the Western Cape most successful
While just 10% of start-ups report making a profit, in all, 27% of start-ups can be termed “successful”, in that they are generating a profit or are growing.
So, who then runs the most successful start-ups (defined as those that make a profit and are growing)? Well, most are run by men. While 27% of start-ups run by men say they are successful, just 18% of start-ups run by women can say the same.
More white founders report being successful, with about two thirds of start-ups who say they are successful being white-owned firms. Taken by race group, 36% of white founders report being successful, compared to just 13% of black start-ups (and just 10% of black-African founders).
About 32% of start-up founders in the Western Cape say they are successful – compared to 22% who are in Gauteng who list themselves as successful.
Most are over the age of 40 or between 30 and 35 years old (36% of startup founders in these ages groups say they are successful) and run a fintech or insurtech or a startup in the advertising and media business.
Those with a business partner and who have a start-up that is already over two years old employing more than 10 people are also more likely to report being successful. B2B start-ups – those that serves other businesses (rather than consumers) and that tap the North American or European market.
Related: How To Raise Working Capital Finance
Finally, are you more likely to be successful if you’ve run other start-ups before? In short, not necessarily.
Data from the survey reveals that 33% of founders who have run one or more start-ups previously report being successful with their current business – not overly different from the 30% who have never run a business before and say they are successful.
However there appears to be some correlation with the number of start-ups a founder has run as a predictor of success.
Though start-up founders were not quizzed on whether their past firms had been a success, 50% of those who have run five or more startups report that they are successful with their current firm – compared to 29% of those that have run one to four start-ups before.
It may suggest that as the country’s tech start-up ecosystem matures, the level of those reporting success is likely to increase. More critical however, will be to close the gap between less successful black tech start-ups and their white counterparts – this will not be easy.
*Note on the methodology the survey used: In all there were 298 respondents to the survey which was conducted using an online questionnaire, by data analytics firm Qurio. Of this number, 38 respondents were found to be employees of startups (rather than founders) and were excluded. The survey therefore sampled 260 start-up founders.
Search Is On For SA’S Online Retailer Of The Year
World Wide Worx in partnership with Platinum Seed, Visa, Heavy Chef and the Ecommerce Forum of Africa, launch new awards to recognise online stores that promote shopper trust.
World Wide Worx today announced that it was launching a new awards programme — called the Online Retailer of the Year — to honour online stores in South Africa that grow trust amongst digital shoppers. The awards are part of a broader project to boost online shopping by World Wide Worx in partnership with Visa, Platinum Seed, the Ecommerce Forum of Africa and Heavy Chef.
“Online retail in South Africa has consistently grown above 20% since the turn of the century but only passed 1% of overall retail in 2016. Research shows that trust is a big factor in ecommerce growth, which is why we want to recognise online retailers who help to grow the entire sector by ensuring the kind of ecommerce standards that engender trust with online shoppers,” Goldstuck says.
“But once online retail passes two per cent it crosses an essential psychological barrier and this often leads to a tipping point in emerging economies. That’s when we see online retail snowballing. It gathers real momentum and everyone in the sector benefits,” Goldstuck explains.
To be eligible for entry to the Online Retailer of the Year, owners of digital stores are urged to participate in an essential survey of local online shopping being run by Goldstuck’s World Wide Worx, together with Visa and digital growth agency Platinum Seed.
To participate in the research, local online retailers can go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/OnlineRetailSA
All online retailers who participate will be entered into the award. However, participation in the survey is not a precondition for entry to the awards. However, only online retailers who operate from within South Africa’s borders are eligible for this local award.
The awards will be made at a Heavy Chef event in Cape Town on Thursday, October 01 2018. At the same event, World Wide Worx’s Arthur Goldstuck will lay bare the state of local retail, with Brad Elliott, CEO of Platinum Seed, and Visa.
Goldstuck, who is judging the awards, will present the following awards:
- Online Retailer of The Year
- 1st runner-up – Online Retailer of the Year
- 2nd runner-up – Online Retailer of the Year
- Best New SA Online Retailer of the Year.
The winners of the Online Retailer of the Year awards will be given a digital badge that the online store can display online. The winners will have bragging rights for a year — until the next award is made in 2019.
Judging criteria for the awards include trust, innovation, customer service, digital excellence, customer engagement, product excellence, and the online reputation of the digital store. Visa, Heavy Chef, and Platinum Seed will oversee the judging of the awards. The Ecommerce Forum of Africa will audit the results.
Retailers or entrepreneurs who want to attend the awards and presentation of the research results by Goldstuck can purchase tickets from Heavy Chef.
Up To R1 Million In Funding For Tech Solutions To Early Childhood Challenges
Applications from individuals, non-profit and for profit organisations are welcome. Innovation Edge accepts early stage ideas pre or post proof of concept phase.
Innovation Edge, an early stage investor and venture builder, has launched a call for tech solutions to problems faced by young children and those who care for them. The most promising ideas stand the chance to receive up to R1 million in funding and will have access to a range of incubation support. Qualifying ideas will address a defined need within early childhood and have a sustainable route to scale that includes families living in poverty.
Deadline for submissions is 19 October 2018.
The human brain is naturally wired to learn, but the brain’s capacity to absorb new information and learn new skills is most pronounced in the first 5 years of life. During this period of development, not only does the brain learn best, but it gets wired in ways that impact lifelong learning. Experiences during early childhood literally shape the architecture of the developing brain.
Sonja Giese, Executive Director for Innovation Edge, explains why investing in solutions to early childhood problems is critical; “ Eight out of 10 Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning. Six out of 10 Grade 5 learners cannot do basic maths. These scores are predictive of final school outcomes, meaning that by the age of 10 years, a child is on the educational trajectory she will most likely follow.”
“There is no conceivable way in which South Africa will realise its development goals, including increased employment, radical economic transformation, reduced crime and dependable leadership, without significantly altering the current trajectories of our youngest citizens. This sector is desperate for innovative solutions that offer impact at scale.”
While Innovation Edge welcomes submissions for any bold ideas at any time throughout the year, this call is specifically focused on tech solutions to early childhood challenges.
Examples of the types of challenges that applicants are invited to respond to include the following :–
- Paper-based systems of recording classroom attendance are time-consuming and lacking in accuracy. How might you create a tech solution that enables pre-school teachers (in both high/mid and low income environments) to quickly capture verifiable classroom attendance for children aged 3 to 6 years?
- Young children’s (birth to 6) developing brains thrive from having daily positive back and forth conversations with their parents. How might you create a tech solution to help parents (in both high/mid and low income environments) embed this behaviour into their daily lives?
- Approximately 33% of women living in adversity will experience a mental illness (primarily depression) during or after pregnancy. What opportunities could tech offer to support mothers, particularly those in low-income environments, who are suffering from depression?
Applications from individuals, non-profit and for profit organisations are welcome. Innovation Edge accepts early stage ideas pre or post proof of concept phase.
To submit a proposed solution and for more information on Innovation Edge visit http://innovationedge.org.za/opportunity-hub/.
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.
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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