Silicon Cape open to further funding – Guasco

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Western Cape startup initiative Silicon Cape is open to any new offers of funding in order to help it increase its impact, according to new chairperson Daniel Guasco.

Disrupt Africa reported last month Groupon South Africa chief executive officer (CEO) Guasco had been elected chairperson of Silicon Cape, which was founded in 2009 by investor Justin Stanford and entrepreneur Vinny Lingham.

Guasco – who started Twangoo with Wayne Gosling and subsequently sold it to Groupon and is an angel investor who recently took part in the 88mph DealWeek programme, replaces Alexandra Fraser, who spent two years in the job and last year oversaw the raising of more than ZAR3 million (US$270,000) in funding from FNB.

He told Disrupt Africa he was “honoured and privileged” to be at the head of Silicon Cape, and “hugely appreciative” of the work of the past committee for their work, particularly in obtaining the funding to help the initiative expand its operations.

“To date we have run on minimal funding meaning our ability to make a real impact and be sustainable has been a challenge. We will be employing a full time resource as well as unlocking various potential funding sources and commercial opportunities for both businesses and the overall ecosystem,” he said.

“The more funding, the more impact we can have. We are always open for more funding – local or international – and meaningful strategic partnerships.

Guasco said his major plans for Silicon Cape were making it more inclusive and more impactful, both by enhancing current partnerships and increasing its international recognition. The new committee is working on a strategy that will be made public over the next two months.

He said it was not Silicon Cape’s mandate to actually fund startups itself.

“Funders are an important part of the ecosystem and Silicon Cape could partner with early stage funding sources or tools but we have no desire to become a funding institution at this point in time,” Guasco said.

He said the Cape Town tech scene is evolving every day.

“It is alive and happening and we will only see more momentum and visibility over the coming months,” he said, adding access to market and a lack of collaboration were however still holding it back.

“We further need to increase success stories and discover the many yet to be told success stories.”

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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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