Ekaya secures $45k Dragons’ Den investment from Vinny Lingham

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Cape Town rental listings platform Ekaya last night secured ZAR500,000 in funding on the Dragons’ Den South Africa television show, with Gyft and Silicon Cape co-founder Vinny Lingham providing the investment in return for 10 per cent of the startup.

The funding takes the total investment obtained by Ekaya since it graduated from the 88mph accelerator programme in Cape Town in April this year to ZAR1.9 million (US$170,000) after it closed a September round that included Justin Stanford, Daniel Guasco, Wayne Gosling, Sebastian Stoddart and Guilherme Steinbruch.

Chief executive officer (CEO) Justin Melville began the pitching process by asking for ZAR300,000 (US$27,000) in return for five per cent equity, and received offers from Lingham, Gil Oved and Lebo Gunguluza. Lingham’s offer was the only one accepted by Ekaya.

“All the Dragons were awesome, we had a lot of fun and good constructive debate in the Den but Vinny is the most experienced Dragon when it comes to building, funding and exiting tech startups,” Melville told Disrupt Africa. “I would have taken Gil and Lebo if I could have but Vinny’s offer was firm and without raising the valuation, we would have had to sell another quarter of the company.”

He said the money was going into Ekaya’s tank to fund its runway, with Melville believing the company deserved the amount of investment it has thus far obtained due to the gap in the market it is filling and the effort the team had put in.

“I think Ekaya is tackling a big enough opportunity with some really good people on board which merits the decent sized angel round,” he said. “That said, it’s taken a freaking long time, and a lot of white knuckled and sweaty moments to put together.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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