SA Startups To Keep an Eye On in 2016

Updated on 26 January 2016

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SA startups to keep an eye on in 2016


A strong 2015 in the tech startup landscape has given the industry cause to look forward to further growth in 2016.

SME South Africa takes a look at startups who are set to gain even more traction.

These are startups that have either received a cash boost through venture capital funding such as on-demand home cleaning startup SweepSouth, who’ve recently secured R10 million in new venture capital funding – or are scaling their business locally and beyond, such as e-book aggregation startup Snapplify, who are looking to expand across multiple countries through investment from AngelHub Ventures.


About: SweepSouth is an online, on-demand platform that enables users to book, manage and pay for home cleaning services.

Why it made the list: SweepSouth yesterday announced that it secured R10 million in new venture capital funding from the Vumela Fund, as well as from its existing investors – well-known technology entrepreneur Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen’s firm, Newtown Partners.

In August last year, SweepSouth was awarded US$125 000 in seed funding. They are also graduates of the renowned Silicon Valley-based accelerator programme, SweepSouth was awarded US$125 000 in seed funding. They are also graduates of the renowned Silicon Valley-based accelerator programme, 500 Startups, becoming the first South African startup chosen for the global accelerator.

Last year the startup also completed a series of seed funding round from a team of top tech investors, led by Newtown Partners and included Pule Taukobong’s Africa Angels Network (AAN) and Polo Leteka Radebe’s Identity Development Fund (IDF).

Co-founder and CEO, Aisha Pandor, says they are looking to expand beyond the cities they are currently operating in, and the investments will be used towards expanding their team.


About: ParcelNinja is an e-commerce start-up which provides cloud-based warehousing and delivery solutions in South Africa. The platform, which was started by Justin Drennan, Ryan Drennan, and Terence Murphy in 2013, integrates with the major couriers, and works together with their own warehouse picking and packing technology. Clients include Superbalist and Groupon.

Why it made the list: ParcelNinja have recently raised R20 million from UK’s data and cyber security fund manager, C5 Holdings to fund their growth strategy.


About: WhereIsMyTransport is a Cape Town-based tech startup that developed a mobile transport platform that provides technological solutions to public transport challenges. The platform aims to integrate formal and informal transport and also works to build a unified platform for transport officials, operators, and users “to realize ‘first world’ quality transportation networks in ‘third world’ cities”.

Why it made the list: WhereIsMyTransport successfully completed R12 million funding round from an enviable group of investors to internationalise its operations and enable the company to build solutions that serve developing cities worldwide.

The company has also recently been awarded the international 2015 Global Grand MobiPrize that recognises businesses that have both environmental and economic impact through sustainable transportation and new mobility.


About: South African fitness startup, FitKey, which entered beta in May last year, is a monthly membership to gyms and fitness studios and connects users to a range of geo-located exercise classes in South Africa. The app allows the user to join a range of fitness and exercise classes without being locked into a specific contract.

Why it made the list:  FitKey has received pre-seed investment from Cape Town-based entrepreneur and angel investor, Justin Stanford, giving them the opportunity to scale their offering across the country. According to co-founder Evan Walther, the investment will be used to build out the FitKey team to ensure that it has the resources to scale rapidly across the country. “Although we use tech, it’s actually a very human business. We know that by including some more great people in our team we can grow this business exponentially in the next year,” he says.

Custos Media Technologies

About: Custos Media Technologies provides a software solution to piracy by using bitcoin rewards embedded as an imperceptible watermark within videos and movies.

Why it made the list: The startup received R500,000 in seed funding from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) recently. TIA is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and provides seed funding for startups.

Custos Media Technologies also recently managed to raise further funding to accelerate international client acquisition from Innovus Technology Transfer, the industry interaction and innovation company of Stellenbosch University.


About: Snapplify is a content and media technology company focusing on content distribution and mobile publishing. Snapplify provides publishers and content producers with a platform for distribution, reading and retail of eBooks, magazines and newspapers.

Why it made the list: The e-book aggregation startup has recently received an undisclosed sum of money from angel investment company AngelHub Ventures, which is backed by former FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan as well as RMB co-founder, Paul Harris’ family fund. The investment deal, which also includes Jordaan joining the Snapplify board, is expected to accelerate and expand the company’s growth, product and team across a number of countries and to grow its user base.


About: Online tax assistant, TaxTim is an automated online and mobi-site service that helps people with their taxes.

Why it made the list: TaxTim has begun an African expansion strategy and with the help of advisory firm PwC, the company is expecting to increase the number of users by expanding to Namibia. The move into Namibia also aims to test the market for further expansion into more African countries.


About: Notafy is an instant messaging startup that sends bulk SMS messages for free. The Notafy platform is a corporate mobile instant messaging app that allows businesses who traditionally rely on SMS-based mobile communication to move over to a smartphone-based app.

Why it made the list:  Notafy has shown good traction and there are also funding and expansion prospects in 2016. CEO Andrew Cook pitched alongside 19 other fintech companies at Sibos, an annual conference for the financial industry, in Singapore October last year. Since launching in late 2013, Notafy has boarded 20 customers (including the University of South Africa), sending roughly eight million messages a month.


About: Receiptful, is an e-commerce startup providing users e-mail receipts that include upsells and marketing messages in order to increase users’ customers’ lifetime value.

Why it made the list: Founded by startup maverick Adii Pienaar, who is also co-founder of Wordpress themes company – WooThemes, Receiptful, according to their website, has already sent over 7 million receipts and generated an additional $8,2m in revenue for their clients. Receiptful operates in a largely untapped market and the business has immense scalability. Pienaar has also shown his ability to scale in the past.


About: Giraffe is a Johannesburg-based mobile recruitment startup that aims to streamline the recruitment process through a mobile app to help medium-skilled job seekers find work and employers recruit staff.

Why it made the list: The tech startup is looking to speed up its traction in 2016 following an impressive 2015 which saw the startup record a major uptake of nearly 10 000 job seeker registrations for their recruitment services in just two months. This was followed by winning top South African startup by Seedstars World 2015 – a global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets.

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