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All posts by Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter
Jacques grew up in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Keen to take over the world, one word at a time, he has always been interested in both politics and development and studied International Relations (BA) at Stellenbosch University. With an interest in innovation and social change, he seeks to tell the inspiring stories that highlight socio-environmental and economic impact.
  • Recruitment marketplace OfferZen sees fantastic growth in SA dev sector

    Since Ventureburn last caught up with recruitment marketplace OfferZen in January, the Cape Town-based company has been flaunting some impressive growth. It has strengthened its team from three to nine in order to expand its operations to Gauteng and ultimately corner SA’s software developer job market. OfferZen is an online jobs marketplace for software developers. Both the companies seeking developers and the developers themselves apply to be listed on the website. Once accepted, companies send interview requests to developers, specifying salary, and benefits upfront. The developer can then choose whether they accept the interview request or not. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • This crowdsourced phrasebook app wants to help South Africans understand each other

    South Africa, like our ever globalising world, is made up of a really diverse bunch. It's colourful but often messy. This is where Aweza steps in. It's a novel app that wants to help people better communicate and understand each other. Developed in Cape Town, Aweza is a phrasebook app which essentially pairs pictures with common phrases. It relies on crowdsourcing and gamification techniques to ensure correct pronunciations of South Africa's 11 languages. Pretty cool, right? Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Knife Capital announces R100m fund to amplify more SA startups

    Renowned South African VC firm Knife Capital has launched a new investment fund called KNF Ventures. With a rather generous target of R100-million, the fund will invest in innovation-driven startups by providing tax incentives and high returns. The announcement also adds to an increase in confidence for South Africa’s startups. Earlier this month, local ecommerce company Travelstart secured US$40-million from UK investors, while VC firm Silvertree Internet Holdings committed US$10-million investment to South African and African startups. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • No Facebook, Elon Musk was not an ‘illegal immigrant’

    By now second guessing stuff on the internet should come naturally. A Facebook post -- that's been shared nearly 25 000 times -- claims that US billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk was an illegal immigrant. This is false. But it does manage to drive a very important point home. The viral post takes a stab at controversial US presidential candidate and billionaire, Donald Trump, for his hardline immigration policies. It reads as follows: I am Elon Musk. I was an ILLEGAL immigrant. And if Mr. Trump and some of you had it your way, I would've been kicked out of the USA...

  • India bans Facebook free internet services

    The world's largest democracy has finally taken a stance on free internet services. This comes after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday banned all internet service providers from offering discriminatory tariffs for data services based on content. On grounds of net neutrality, Facebook's Free Basics programme has also been banned. In collaboration with specific telcos, Facebook's Free Basics programme provides free-of-cost access to basic websites through an app. It's part of Facebook's Internet.org initiative which aims to reach 4.5 billion unconnected people on the internet. Some of the free websites include information on local government services, news, health,...

  • BREAKING: Vox buys out SA cloud marketing outfit Everlytic

    One of South Africa's leading telcos, Vox, has just acquired a majority stake in local cloud communications startup, Everlytic. The buyout comes in the wake of impressive growth by Everlytic over the last few years. “The addition of Everlytic completes our portfolio of products and solutions that allow customers to communicate via any delivery channel -- email, fax and SMS. They also add significant intellectual property (IP) in campaign management and success that we are keen to leverage,” says Jacques du Toit, CEO of Vox Telecom in a press release sent to Ventureburn. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • This Google-backed startup from SA is training thousands of coders

    If South Africa is to really become a knowledge economy, it seriously needs to develop the youth's Computer Science skills. That's a no-brainer. But while government and academia have their hands full, creative minds are putting inspiring initiatives in motion to foster the country's next generation of software developers. Hyperion Development is one of these gems. Since it launched in 2012, the Durban-headquartered company has allegedly helped over 8 500 people from six Southern African countries in software development training. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Meet the SA-born chaps who built a Slack for developers

    Chat rooms used to be popular hangouts for cyber dating, gaming and a whole bunch of things. Today, they’ve undergone a professional makeover. They’ve become billion dollar communication tools catered for the modern workplace, which is fast-paced, knows no borders and encourages collaboration. “It’s weird that you end up taking a conference call at home and do Amazon shopping at work. Tech today enables you to do anything from anywhere,” says Mike Bartlett (pictured top right), one of the founders of a chat collaboration tool, called Gitter. He’s talking to me over Skype from his flat in London. I’m sitting...

  • No plans for SA Gigafactory: Tesla confirms

    As much as South Africans would like to see their electricity woes disappear with the construction of a lithium-ion battery factory, it's unlikely to happen anytime soon. In fact, contrary to recent reports, Tesla Motors has confirmed to Memeburn that it is not planning to build a Gigafactory in the Western Cape. The speculation-turned-fact comes after it was revealed that the major US-based electricity car and battery manufacturer has appointed South African Evan Rice as the regional business development manager. Tesla is rapidly scaling its operations with hundreds of vacancies available around the world. Rice, who is ex-CEO of non-profit GreenCape,...

  • Programme fosters pool of tech talent to address SA unemployment

    Nomusa Sithole has a diploma, but struggled to secure a job in the field she studied for. She ended up working at a restaurant for several months which she didn't like. She was overqualified and underpaid. This all changed after Sithole heard about CapaCiTi, which is a tech skills development and placement initiative in Cape Town. She ended up joining an Advanced Java Programming Certification Programme and managed to find a permanent job in the field she enjoys. Sithole is one of over 500 previously unemployed youth who CapaCiTi has trained since the programme was first launched as a pilot...

  • OfferZen wants to be the curated marketplace for SA’s top devs, top companies

    It’s not easy finding the job you deserve in South Africa, especially if you’re a talented developer exposed to what’s on offer in, say, Silicon Valley. This might change as curated jobs marketplace OfferZen sets out to help top developers find the best jobs the South African tech industry has to offer. In 2014, two South African brothers Malan and Philip Joubert traveled to Silicon Valley where they pitched their startup Journey Apps to various venture capitalists. The entrepreneurs, who are also behind startup incubator FireID, wanted to know how difficult it was for a South African tech company to...

  • The year of mobile? 9 of Africa’s most exciting startup investments of 2015

    If you ever doubted the significance of mobile innovations in Africa, then this year's developments are likely change your mind once and for all. Not only has 2015 been a good year for investments in startups across the continent (the most we've seen in South Africa thus far), millions of dollars are flowing towards mobile innovations. From micro-jobbing platforms to peer-to-peer payment solutions, more and more investors are growing confident in the potential of the many interesting mobile solutions Africa has to offer. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Banking on ecommerce growth in SA — Q&A with The Foschini Group’s Brent Curry

    Even though South Africa's ecommerce sector is estimated to estimated to make up only one percent of the total market for consumer goods, we've over the last few years seen many players bank on this figure to grow. Investors are confident to say the least. To give you an idea of how determined stakeholders are hundreds of millions of dollars have been pumped into online-only stores like Takealot, while traditional retailers are forced to restructure their entire business models in order to stay relevant. At the same time the latter group is constantly trying to perfect the omni-channel experience, where...

  • Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors to set up office in South Africa

    Major US automotive and energy storage company Tesla Motors plans to set up shop in South Africa, the birthplace of its CEO Elon Musk. According to a report by Htxt, Tesla will open an office early next year to bring industrial-scale energy storage solutions to the country. This would be a welcome addition to South Africa's unreliable energy grid, which is prone to load shedding. Read more: Is Elon Musk’s Tesla Energy just what Africa’s energy grid needs? The office will be run by Evan Rice, who's the CEO of not-for-profit GreenCape. "Tesla will have one employee here from mid-January. But if we...

  • Is Ethereum the world computer that could just change it all?

    Do you want to know how to build a better democracy in under a 100 lines of code? Or what about building your own transparent bank on the blockchain? Well, Ethereum might just be the thing you're looking for. And no, it's not the title of an awful sci-fi novel. Ethereum goes under a lot of monikers. Some dub it the "world computer" or a "decentralised app network". Others simply refer to it as "Bitcoin 2.0". Whatever it's called, this exciting online experiment is as thought-provoking as it is ambitious. While still in its infancy, Ethereum is changing the way applications...