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Nigerian startup Ladda in top five to win Seedstars competition –

Nigerian investment platform Ladda is one of five startups that will face off in the final round of the Seedstars World Competition.

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Nigerian investment platform Ladda is one of five startups that will face off in the final round of the Seedstars World Competition.

The annual contest revealed the five finalists on 4 May.

Ladda is in the running to win the grand prize of $500 000 in equity funding

This announcment follows the completion of the regional finals where the Lagos-based startup proved victorious.

Seedstars looks for next big startup

Seedstars, an entrepreneurial company based in Switzerland, launched the competition in 2013.

In 2020, the competition received over 4 000 startup applications from around the world. 94 made it through the local stages of the competition after participating in the Seedstars Investment Readiness Program. After that, that number shrunk to 20 in the regional stages.

Ladda is a mobile finance app that offers users access to micro-investment opportunities. The app is available to download on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Competing against Ladda are four other startups in the fields of finance, healthcare, and logistics. They include Fulfillment Bridge (Tunisia), Pegasi (Venezuela), IMAN (Uzbekistan), and Finology (Malaysia).

“These five startups have proven that no matter how difficult times may get, innovation is still at the forefront,” said Seedstars World lead of Seedstars, Daria Khlopova. “We can’t wait to see them at the Grand Finale.”

During the final round of the competition, the startups will pitch their businesses to a judging panel. After which, a winner will be announced. The event will also include roundtable discussions with experts on tech and education.

In addition to the grand prize, Seedstars will also award prizes in several categories. The categories include Childhood Development, Climate Change, and Women Empowerment.

The Seedstars Grand Finale will take place online on 20 May. To register to watch the finale, check out the Seedstars website.

Read more: Applications for Google for Startups Accelerator Programme are open
Read more: SA software company Dineplan partners with Google

Feature image: Supplied

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/05/nigerian-startup-ladda-in-top-five-to-win-seedstars-competition/

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Spot Money app launches stokvel feature

Spot Money has released a shared wallet feature on their fintech app, Spot to create transparency for shared financial investments like stokvels.

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South Africa’s newest digital banking platform, Spot Money has launched a shared wallet feature on their fintech app, Spot. The feature is a digital solution that seeks to create transparency for shared financial investments, like stokvels.

New Shared Account feature

The Spot app offers customers transactional banking; a free monthly account and a marketplace for everyday needs. With the new Shared Account feature, up to 10 people can manage their finances easily through a shared wallet. There is no monthly account fee, which allows for accessibility at every income level.

The Spot Shared Account feature allows up to 10 people to transact transparently

“Fintech is pioneering the way that the financial management needs of stokvels are serviced. The adoption of such technology is being driven by young, urban populations, with many members using modern financial technologies to better manage their investments,” says Josephine Mbire, Head of Customer Support at Spot Money.

The stokvel savings concept has seen increased legitimacy in recent years, operating just outside the financial sector and financing households throughout Africa for decades.

Nearly 12 million South Africans belong to these informal savings clubs where members take turns to receive a fixed amount of money. Stokvels finance groceries, school supplies, household appliances and attract about R50-billion a year in investments, making them a legitimate vehicle driving our country’s economy.

“There has long been a need amongst stokvel members for greater transparency of where their money is going, and assurance that it’s being handled prudently. Traditionally, one person would collect all the money, and they would effectively hold all the power over how and when payments would be made, with other members having little insight into the movement of their investments,” explained Mbire.

The app’s scan-to-pay feature means that stokvel members won’t risk carrying big cash amounts when making group purchases. Users can also earn instant cashback rewards into their Spot Rewards wallet when shopping at partner stores such as Checkers, Shoprite & USave.

“Until now, shared accounts meant a primary account holder would provide limited access to chosen beneficiaries. Our approach makes all account holders equal partners and gives everyone full sight of what’s going on in the account: they can see who paid and received money and are able to top up and make payments out of that account through a range of channels,” said Mbire. ‘Stokvels have been around forever, and it’s high time the formal financial sector started catering to them. We believe Spot offers stokvels a great way to manage their money more effectively.”

Read more: Expert tips for SMEs this tax season
Read more: Initiative provides SMEs with free logo design and business support

Featured image: John Schnobrich via Unsplash

“Fintech is pioneering the way that the financial management needs of stokvels are serviced. The adoption of such technology is being driven by young, urban populations, with many members using modern financial technologies to better manage their investments,” says Josephine Mbire, Head of Customer Support at Spot Money.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/spot-money-app-launches-stokvel-feature/

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The secret to levelling up your business

Aisha Pandor, CEO of SweepSouth provides key insights into finding, forming and implementing win/win partnerships for startups and SMMEs.

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When Uber and Spotify partnered up a few years ago to give users custom music for their rides, it was a massive win/win for both companies, with each able to increase their reach to various audiences, offer extra value to users, and grow brand recognition and awareness.

Taking your business to the next level is a challenge many business owners face

But we can learn a lot from the Uber-Spotify collaboration. By forming strategic partnerships, you can often leapfrog on progress. Done right, a good partnership can have a tremendous impact on company growth, from increasing sales and reaching new markets to driving efficiency in your operations.

In fact, says Aisha Pandor, CEO of SweepSouth, in today’s age of collaboration, finding like-minded businesses to create alliances with can be a valuable tool in taking your company to greater heights.

Since their launch in 2014, SweepSouth have formed many partnerships with companies such as Unilever, FlySafair, FNB, @home, Superbalist, and NetFlorist, and it’s one of the smart strategies that’s propelled them from being a small tech start-up to taking their leaderboard place as SA’s largest on-demand home services platform, with recent expansion into Kenya.

“When we first partnered with other companies, we sought them out, but we’ve had such tangible results that it’s become a more organic process for us, with companies now seeking us out for strategic alliances,” says Pandor.

“Going into business partnerships is an age-old practice that remains relevant today. In our ever-more connected world, successful partnerships can go beyond signing paper contracts to building valuable relationships that form the stepping stones for exciting new ventures.”

For instance, a successful partnership with Airbnb last year gave them an additional avenue to reach Airbnb hosts who may have not have heard of SweepSouth before. It also provided Airbnb hosts, faced with stringent Covid-19 regulations, the chance to hire SweepSouth cleaners trained and certified in Airbnb’s enhanced cleaning protocols.

Alliances that complement your activities can be crucial to business growth. To help you find the right partnership fit and get the most out of it, here are some guidelines from Pandor.

Do some pre-work

“Before you set out to find a business to partner with, take stock of your company’s strengths and weaknesses and identify what gaps or functional requirements are needed to achieve your vision,” advises Pandor.

Establish exactly what you’d like to get out of an alliance with another company. Is it to find a different route to market, provide new services or products, expand into other territories, fill a skills gap, or gain exposure to a new client demographic? Partnerships manifest themselves in different ways. SweepSouth, for example, regularly does promotional partnerships with companies like McCain and UCook (for Father’s Day this June), which helps them reach new audiences.

“Exposure is imperative for your business, but it can be expensive to always promote your product or service on your own,” says Pandor. “Promotional partnerships are fairly simple, giving you access to a wider client pool and leveraging the trust and brand reputation associated with each company to deliver a higher level of perceived value for customers. The best of these partnerships are profitable to both sides, and also enhance business credibility and image.”

Once you’ve decided what kind of partnership you’re looking for, spend some time defining how you’d like the partnership to function, what you’d expect from it, and the metrics by which you’d measure its success. By outlining your expectations before you start searching for a partner, your efforts will be more productive than simply trying to decide if you just ‘like’ a potential company or not.

Things to look for in a partnership

To find a strategic partner that’s perfect for your business – and vice versa – do your due diligence and make sure the following boxes are ticked:

  • This might sound obvious, but choose a partner that makes sense to your business and to your clients. Think about your customers and the kinds of partnerships that would benefit them most.
  • The partnership must be a win-win-win relationship, and hold value for both companies, for it to be worthwhile.
  • Make sure that your brands align. “Being compatible in terms of vision, purpose, and goals forms a good basis for a successful partnership,” advises Aisha. “Having similar corporate priorities will help to ensure compatibility. If you choose a partner whose objectives and values clash with yours, it could drive a wedge between you over time.”

Benefits of a strategic partnership

Provides a competitive advantage. A good partnership boosts your expertise and resources to create better services or products, offer stronger value to clients, or help you reach a different audience, thereby taking your business to a new level.

It inspires you. It’s easy to get stuck into a day-to-day routine in your business. Seeing how other companies do something can provide a fresh perspective and help you think in creative new ways.

Gives access to knowledge. A big benefit of a strategic partnership agreement is the opportunity to learn from other professionals who bring different skills and strengths to the table. You can then use that knowledge and information to better your business.

Broaden your network. Networking and making professional connections are key to business success. By forming an alliance with a company, you’re exposed to new colleagues, contacts, and customers.

Strengthens your company. Operating in isolation and trying to do everything yourself, especially if you don’t have the know-how in a specific area, can cost time and money. The right partnership can help you better your weaknesses and enhance your strengths, making your business more stable and strong. Some collaborative relationships can even help to reduce costs, such as if you share development and marketing expenses.

Going forward

Once you’ve found a company to partner with, draw up clear agreements, taking the time to iron out every detail. Set clear expectations and goals, defining what the partnership should accomplish for each company.

Next, set your partnership up for success by forging a strong way of working together. “Make an effort to build and cultivate the relationship, and communicate frequently to minimise misunderstandings,” advises Pandor. “Check-in regularly to see what is doing well and what can be improved, and give each other honest feedback. Trust, transparency, and respect are key for a partnership agreement to work. Both parties need to view each other as necessary equals to keep things going forward.”

Sometimes, even though seemingly promising at the start, a business partnership doesn’t work out. “It’s okay to end it if it’s failing,” says Pandor. “A poor partnership can cause massive problems, so rather walk away and focus on finding something new.”

A good partnership, on the other hand, can be of value to even the most successful of businesses, freeing you up to focus on other activities and areas that drive growth. Moreover, if done right, a strategic alliance can be built into something that can benefit both companies for years to come.

This article was written by Aisha Pandor, CEO of SweepSouth.

Featured image: Aisha Pandor, CEO of SweepSouth.

Aisha Pandor

Aisha Pandor is the co-founder and CEO of SweepSouth.SweepSouth is Africa’s first online platform for booking, managing and paying for home cleaning services. Pandor has led SweepSouth to become one of the fastest-growing startups in the country. Venture-backed, SweepSouth became the first South African startup to be accepted into the prestigious 500 Startups accelerator in Silicon Valley.Pandor completed her PhD in Human Genetics at the University of Cape Town. Following her studies, she went on to work as a management consultant before launching SweepSouth, which connects unemployed and underemployed domestic workers with homeowners, providing work opportunities for thousands of women. Aisha was recognised by the World Economic Forum in 2017 as one six African female breakthrough innovators.

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In fact, says Aisha Pandor, CEO of SweepSouth, in today’s age of collaboration, finding like-minded businesses to create alliances with can be a valuable tool in taking your company to greater heights.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/the-secret-to-levelling-up-your-business/

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Absa opens procurement portal to streamline supplier diversity –

New portal opens opportunities for SMMEs to apply for tenders, become corporate suppliers and receive training and mentorship from Absa Group.

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African financial services provider Absa Group has opened their user-friendly procurement portal, allowing Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to apply and be verified as suppliers.

Absa Group opens procurement portal for SMMEs to be verified as suppliers

This opportunity means that SMMEs, currently the drivers of our post-pandemic economy, will be able to search for and network with corporate suppliers and win tenders which previously would not be accessible. The portal aims to be available across the continent but will be launched first in South Africa.

Responsible and inclusive procurement

Tender management solutions and secure technology requests are just two portal tools that will make collaboration between future suppliers and corporations possible. Absa’s end-goal sees a dialogue created to close gaps in communication around products, services, tenders and RFPs so that all relevant businesses have equal opportunity to apply.

Suppliers can enter their details into Absa’s database and quickly identify necessary procurement categories and services, including construction, ICT, marketing and cash management. SMMEs have access to corporate supply and Absa will continue to further their ongoing entrepreneurship development programmes.

Vusi Fele, Chief Procurement Officer at Absa Group Ltd, says “Absa’s Procurement Market portal not only demonstrates Absa’s strategy of promoting responsible and inclusive procurement practices but also ensures that all suppliers are aware of the bank’s service requirements – information that was not previously widely available. What’s more, it will help us build mutually beneficial, thriving, inclusive and healthy supplier relationships.”

Fele believes that a supplier diversity approach will drive sustainability and invigorate the bank’s supply chain. “Not only will we be able to identify suppliers that comply with B-BBEE requirements, but we will also be able to award and extend contracts to currently Exempted Micro Enterprises (EME) and Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs). We are also excited to welcome new suppliers to our business.”

Qualifying SMMEs participating in the programme are also eligible for Absa’s Supplier Development Programme, which provides business support and training, and funding at good interest rates with minimal to no collateral required.

Fele motivates small businesses across Africa to join.

“We look forward to leveraging this portal to drive meaningful entrepreneurship development and deliver material benefits to local economic and social reform.”

Visit the portal to sign up or for more information.

Read more: Google launches programmes to support African SMEs
Read more: Hackathon aims to grow the township economy through digital solutions

Featured image: Vusi Fele, Chief Procurement Officer at Absa Group Ltd (Supplied)

Suppliers can enter their details into Absa’s database and quickly identify necessary procurement categories and services, including construction, ICT, marketing and cash management. SMMEs have access to corporate supply and Absa will continue to further their ongoing entrepreneurship development programmes.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/absa-opens-procurement-portal-to-streamline-supplier-diversity/

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