Wednesday, March 31, 2010

BetTech Secures Multi-Million Rand Investment From 4Di Capital

South Africa-based BetTech Gaming (Pty) Ltd was founded in 2009 after years of research and conceptualization by the founders and has since secured a multi million rand investment from 4Di Capital. “We are delighted to have 4Di Capital on board as our long term partner in this project – not only for their ability to provide a capital investment for our software development plans and operational setup but also because they are able to leverage off of their global network to assist in introducing BetTech Gaming and its products to the broader market. We feel that this is where the real long-term value will be added,” says BetTech director Mark Bosman.

BetTech Gaming (Pty) Ltd is focused on developing cutting edge gaming software, with the first product being its sports book package. BetTech is entering the South African market through licensing its sports book software to power upstart brand BET.CO.ZA’s web and mobile interfaces. BET.CO.ZA has the vision to become the premier online and mobile sports betting brand within South Africa and BetTech’s Sport Book software functionality advantages will enable this to happen.

The BetTech Sports Book package will be a fully integrated and certified software platform that will be developed using cutting edge, robust and scalable technology. The system will be a full packaged solution, with all functions managed through one interface, from risk management and reporting to event management and marketing including a unique system focused on affiliate and white label functionality. There will be no need for plug-ins of any kind down the line.

“In my opinion, most of the gaming related software platforms available in South Africa are faced with legacy type issues. They are outdated and are having to regularly redevelop and re-engineer to ensure that they keep abreast of market demand,” says BetTech director Jesse Hemson-Struthers. BetTech is confident that it will be able to work with its development partners in producing cost effective and future-proof products, such as its sports book package, which will fill a definitive gap in the market through being built for today’s punters – with the focus on having flexible and modular betting channels including web, mobile and call centre.

The vision is that once BetTech’s Sports Book software infrastructure is in place, BetTech will leverage off of this South African setup and expand into other rapidly developing sports betting markets such as India, South America and Asia, turning it into a globally relevant, South African company.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Aurik secures access to R100m in funding for early stage investments

Established early-stage growth companies are due to receive a funding boost following news that Aurik Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd has secured access to a R100 million funding pool.

Aimed at early-stage businesses and focused but not limited to the energy, clean technology, telecommunications, healthcare, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. Funding may be provided in a mix of debt and equity and is available from a minimum of R5 million to a maximum of R10 million per investment.

“This fund is dedicated to early-stage businesses and includes both funding and direct commercial support as part of the deal. South Africa’s bright future depends on reversing the unfortunate situation where we see too few people becoming entrepreneurs and too many entrepreneurs failing,” said Pavlo Phitidis, CEO of Aurik Investment Holdings.

Early-stage businesses face the twin challenges of securing adequate funding and quality commercial support that Aurik hopes to help them overcome. According to Phitidis, “Typically, early-stage businesses are too young to qualify for venture capital and cannot afford consulting-based commercial support. This “skill and equity gap” has proven to be the death knell of many an entrepreneurial dream.

Phitidis added that combining angel funding and business acceleration addresses the major risks typically faced by early stage businesses and boosts the likelihood of entrepreneurial success.

As a Business Accelerator, Aurik partners with entrepreneurs to accelerate the growth of early-stage businesses by providing a combined package of back-office support, business acceleration and angel funding, all before the venture capital stage. Business Acceleration is a new concept in South Africa and is better known in the USA and Europe. Since inception, Aurik has worked with 22 early-stage businesses and enjoyed successful acceleration outcomes.

The funding pool’s target is entrepreneurs running businesses not younger than two years and the entrepreneurs must have at least three years additional experience within their industries. Certain minimum turnover requirements apply while funding is conditional upon the conclusion of a back office support agreement, amongst other conditions.

On the structure of the funding pool, Phitidis explained that the fund is a draw down fund meaning the money is drawn down upon investment committee approval after the conclusion of a successful due diligence process.

Established in 2003, Aurik Investment Holdings is a Business Accelerator that interacts with influential private and public policy makers in order to create a socioeconomic environment conducive to accelerating the growth of early-stage businesses. Aurik partners with entrepreneurs of early-stage businesses to reduce risk and increase focus and direction to develop the business into an asset of value. By providing hands-on business support, back-office support and angel funding all before the venture capital stage, Aurik rapidly develops early-stage entrepreneurs into goal-directed business leaders able to successfully grow and manage their own businesses.

More details about the acceleration application process is available at

Friday, November 13, 2009

Venture capital request

Hi guys

One of our members is seeking some short-term financing for a vehicle leasing business.

Minimum financing lot size - R100k.

On R300k they are paying prime plus 4% - repayable with bullet payment in 3-months or 6 months up to 500k at prime +4% bullet repayment.

This is neither an offer, solicitation or recommendation from me - it is public service announcement to try and assist our community. If you would like further information please e-mail me ( or contact me on 082-561-1585 and I will put you in contact with the entrepreneur.

Marc Ashton

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

McCann Worldgroup SA assists micro enterprises

South African micro entrepreneurs in the communications industry now have an opportunity to fast track their businesses to the next level by entering the McCann Worldgroup SA enterprise development initiative, ‘The Kiln’ which was launched early in October.

Announcing the programme in Johannesburg, Reinher Behrens, Group Chief Executive McCann Worldgroup SA, said that five micro enterprises would be selected to run their businesses from The Kiln. “Three of the five businesses have been selected and taken up residence in The Kiln,” Behrens confirmed. “We have started the search for the last two micro enterprises by launching a competition, in which we ask entrepreneurs to motivate why they should be considered for this project.”

The selected enterprises will get rent-free office space, IT infrastructure and support, basic financial services and assistance as well as mentoring valued at R300 000 for each enterprise, for a maximum of 18 months: “It’s then time to let them soar.” Behrens says that besides the direct overhead savings for the businesses, McCann gets a packet of hours per month from each business, in their areas of expertise; giving the micro enterprises exposure to mainstream business and further possible opportunities.

“We have created an environment which allows the entrepreneurs to be integrated into the communications industry. They get invaluable exposure and experience through McCann and our strategic partners. At the same time they can develop their own networks and skills, which should go a long way to contributing to their sustainable success,” Behrens says. “It has to be said that we do not take ownership of the enterprises, it is merely a vehicle to assist them in building their businesses.”

Competition For that entrepreneur looking to break into the world of communications, the core of the project is a website that contains all the relevant information and is the main channel to enter the competition. The competition is fairly straight forward. “We call on entrepreneurs to motivate why they should be considered, either by posting a cellphone-created video clip, or completing an entry form.”

Entrants will be encouraged to get their existing networks to vote for their motivation via the website. Weekly finalists will be profiled on the website and evaluated by an expert panel, made up of McCann and its strategic partners, to select the final winners which will be announced in November. The website will also feature blogs and updates from the other entrepreneurs involved in the Kiln, profiling work completed and sharing their experiences and thoughts on the project.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What VC firms in Cape Town are getting right

ONE of the regular complaints I hear as a financial journalist is that South Africa doesn't have a culture of investing in start-ups or promising entrepreneurs.

And yet venture capitalists argue there simply aren't enough businesses in which to invest; that they are crying out for investment opportunities.

Read the rest of this column on

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

UK start-ups face VC crisis...

Just 319 million pounds have been raised this year for venture investments in the U.K. In all of 2008, funds raised more than 1.3 billion pounds for start-up investments, according to BVCA. The number of deals completed by investors has also fallen to 91 for the first six months from 168 for the same period in 2008. The number of deals completed has dropped in the last four quarters.

Read the rest of the story here on Bloomberg

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First project

Hi guys

Thanks to those who took the time to join the Rival Pioneers Facebook group.
I’ve got some good news - we’ve got our first Entrepreneurs Focus Group (EFG) lined up for October and its a goodie.

The idea behind the EFGs - which we are aiming to run at least once a month - is to provide a platform for entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers to troubleshoot challenges facing a business, exchange ideas and ultimately build a professional network.

We’re kicking off in October with a start-up financial services business which is affiliated to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). We are looking for 20 participants in Johannesburg to spend 3 90-minute sessions discussing strategy and product development for this business.

Dates and venue to be confirmed next week but will be within 20 minutes of Sandton either which way. It will be an evening session - 6pm to 7:30pm.

There are no pre-requisites for signing up for the EFG but we are looking for entrepreneurs who are focused on developing themselves and want to contribute.

If your idea of learning is to sit back and listen to others talk then this is not for you - if you want a funky, informative couple of sessions to test your brain then you’re coming to the right place. Think of it like The Apprentice - only a little classier and you don’t get fired!

We also are aiming to have our electronic learning platform up and running for the participants to be able to exchange ideas beyond the focus group.

Delegates who complete the three sessions will receive:

  • An attendance certificate
  • Access to e-learning platform
  • A fantastic opportunity to network

In the meantime - if you’d like to register your interest for the EFG please drop me an e-mail ( with name, e-mail address and a cellphone number and we’ll confirm venue, dates and times.

If you have a business or business concept that you would like a team to troubleshoot then feel free to drop me a mail as well.

Our blog should be up and running some time next week and I’ll post a link to it but in the interim you can follow us either via the Facebook group or via Twitter:


Zip, zilch, FREE, Mahala…
… yip that’s right - there is no charge to participate in the group. We want people sharing ideas and we want you telling everyone else about this cool entrepreneurship initiative so that by the end of the year we have a couple hundred young professionals vying for places on one of our EFGs and taking these skills out into the workplace.

Look forward to hearing from you!


Marc Ashton