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Interview: BitFund co-founder Joshua Miltz

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Joshua Miltz, co-founder of a new South African cryptocurrency platform called BitFund.
BitFund offers access to about 20 of the largest digital currencies worldwide. Miltz talks about why BitFund is a platform for crypto investment more akin to an asset management firm than a crypto exchange, where the idea for the business came from and how it’s being funded.
In the podcast, he explains how security is at the core of what BitFund does – it stores investors’ coins in hardware wallets, which are in turn stored in secure physical vaults. He also talks about why the company regularly rebalances the funds to ensure optimal exposure to the biggest cryptocurrencies.
Miltz explains BitFund’s fee structure, how the company is regulated – and how it’s preparing for regulation – and how it helps investors comply with South African tax legislation.
It’s a fascinating discussion about a new asset class. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Suveer Ramdhani on the past, present and future of Seacom

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Seacom chief development officer Suveer Ramdhani about the past, present and future of the telecommunications provider.
Ramdhani talks about the origins of the Seacom project - to build a subsea cable system along Africa's east coast connecting the continent to Europe and India - and how the business has changed since then.
In the podcast, he talks about how submarine cable systems work, why Seacom's business model shook up the telecoms industry in South Africa and the broader continent, and why it expanded into providing more than just subsea capacity.
He explains the decision to launch Seacom Business, the company's acquisition strategy - it will be announcing two new deals in the coming weeks - and where he thinks the industry is going.
It's a fascinating discussion. Be sure not to miss it!

Interview: Etion CEO Teddy Daka

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Teddy Daka, CEO of JSE-listed Etion (formerly Ansys) about the technology group's growth plans and its intention to move from the AltX to the main board of the JSE in the next 12 to 18 months.
In the podcast, Daka talks about background - from growing up in Livingstone in Zambia to studying abroad - and his career in business, including his decision around the turn of the century to launch his own investment group, Tedaka Investments, which has made investments in a wide range of industries, from broadcasting to telecommunications.
Daka, who took the reins at what was then Ansys about five years ago, talks about the company's growth plans, why it wants to switch to the main board of the JSE and what it needs to do before that happens.
He explains how the business has shifted focus from being a mainly engineering-focused and -led technology group to one that is focusing more now on digital solutions. A pioneer in black economic empowerment in South Africa, having advised several cabinet ministers, Daka also provides his views on BEE in 2018 - what has worked and what hasn't.
It's an interesting discussion. Don't miss it!

Interview: Thingstream IoT VP Neil Hamilton

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Neil Hamilton, vice president of a new Internet of things (IoT) provider in South Africa called Thingstream.
Thingstream, which is part of a Swiss group, is leveraging the GSM networks of Vodacom, MTN and Cell C to provide IoT products and services that leverage the operators' USSD, or unstructured supplementary service data, protocol to communicate with low-power IoT devices.
Thingstream, which is expanding into South Africa via a local partner network, delivers a global IoT connectivity platform that connects via GSM networks using a combination of the MQTT and USSD messaging protocols.
Sectors showing particular interest include vehicle tracking firms looking to update and reduce the cost of their existing systems; the manufacturing sector; and supply chain and logistics firms seeking enhanced security and more efficient supply chain and asset management.
It's a new entry into what is quickly becoming a highly competitive IoT market in South Africa.
Don't miss the interview!

Interview: TrustBar co-founders Bheka Mchunu and Mark Smith

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Bheka Mchunu and Mark Smith, co-founders of a new decentralised cryptocurrency exchange called TrustBar.
TrustBar will allow for the transfer of value, not just intra-blockchain, but also cross-chain, allowing users to swop tokens from one blockchain to another in one click.
In the podcast, Mchunu -- who serves as TrustBar's chief operating officer -- and Smith, its chief financial officer, explain what it is they're building and the problem they are trying to address.
They talk about the difference between centralised and decentralised exchanges, what TrustBar plans to do differently and how the company plans to bake security into its product.
They also explain the initial coin offering they have planned, and how to participate in it -- they are hoping to raise as much as US$35-million through the ICO.
Mchunu and Smith talk about TrustBar's business model, how the platform will work technically and how exchanges like this one are subject to regulation.
It's a great discussion about an interesting South African start-up. Don't miss it!

Interview: Entrepreneur and author Nic Haralambous

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews entrepreneur and newly published author Nic Haralambous about the highlights -- and the dark side -- of entrepreneurship and why he wrote a warts-and-all book about it.
The book, called "Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat.: The Truth Behind Building Businesses", details Haralambous's upbringing, his time at university -- including working on the student newspaper and starting his first business from campus -- to his time as a journalist and ultimately venturing out on his own.
He talks about his time as a journalist at the Financial Mail, why he later joined the Mail & Guardian, why he quit to join online video start-up Zoopy and his decision to join his friend "V" -- who he doesn't name in the book -- at Vodacom. He talks candidly about their venture, Motribe, moving to Cape Town, raising venture capital and how things ultimately came apart at the seams.
Haralambous, who now runs retailer and who has recently become involved in launching cryptocurrency website, talks in detail about the tough times he has faced as an entrepreneur and why he decided to write a tell-all book about it.
It's a great interview, with detailed insights into the difficulties involved in starting and building a business. Don't miss it!

Interview: Naked co-founder Alex Thomson

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Alex Thomson, co-founder of a new insurtech company called Naked, which hopes to use technology - including artificial intelligence - to take the "grudge" out of buying insurance.
Naked, which is supported by Hollard Insurance, is a Web- and app-based insurance provider, focusing on vehicle insurance for now. It wants to disrupt traditional insurers using smart technology.
The company takes a fixed portion of premiums to run the business, with the balance going into a pool to cover claims. At the end of each year, money left over in the claims pool goes to charities nominated by customers rather than towards company profits, meaning Naked’s income doesn’t depend on whether claims are paid or not.
It's an interesting model in an industry that Thomson believes is ripe for technology-led disruption. Don't miss it the discussion!

Interview: Angola Cables CEO António Nunes

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Angola Cables CEO António Nunes about the Luanda-based company's undersea cable projects, which include building a new subsea cable, called Sacs, connecting Africa to South America and the US.
That cable, which should be ready to carry its first commercial traffic around September of this year, will be the first such system crossing the south Atlantic. It will provide a more direct route from Africa - including South Africa - to markets in South America and to the important Internet hub that is the US.
In the podcast, Nunes talks about the origin of Angola Cables, why it's investing aggressively in undersea cable capacity - including Wacs, Sacs and Monet - and where the business is going.
He also talks about the political and economic situation in Angola and where the country is going.
It's a great podcast. Don't miss it!

Interview: CSIR research engineer Osei Ofosu

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod talks to Osei Ofosu, research engineer at the CSIR’s materials science and manufacturing division, about a new bioplastics innovation that the institution believes could help save the planet’s oceans from the plastic pollution apocalypse.
Ofosu is helping lead a project to develop a way of creating biodegradable plastics from plant materials, including maize and other crops, that are not left over after harvesting.
In the podcast, Ofosu explains how the innovation works and the CSIR’s plan to launch pilots in partnership with South African companies, including many of South Africa’s big retailers. The hope is that the technology can be used to replace much of the single-use plastics that clog refuse sites and often end up in rivers and oceans.
He also talks about the role of the CSIR in scientific research and some of the innovations the research agency has been responsible for over the decades.
It’s a great discussion. Don’t miss it!

Liberty CEO David Munro speaks out on cyberattack

In this special edition of the TechCentral podcast, we bring you a press conference, held on Sunday evening in Johannesburg, at which Liberty Group CEO David Munro spoke out for the first time about a cyberattack on the company's systems and an attempt by cybercriminals to extort millions of rand in return for not releasing confidential customer information.
At the press conference, Munro provided further information about the breach, what information was compromised and what customers need to know about the situation.

Interview: BlockMesh founder and CEO Bjorn Dingemans

In this episode, Duncan McLeod is joined on an Internet call by Bjorn Dingemans, founder and CEO of BlockMesh, a Somerset West-based start-up that wants to create what it calls “the world’s first decentralised, cost-free communications network”.
BlockMesh, which ran an initial coin offering earlier this year to raise capital, even plans to pay its users in a cryptocurrency called mesh tokens just for using the technology.
The company, which plans to sell key ring-sized hardware devices that utilise low low-frequency spectrum and cut out traditional cellular networks and create city-wide mesh infrastructures, intends focusing on the broad African market, where communication is often unaffordable and where existing networks are sometimes poorly developed.
In the podcast, Dingemans explains how the technology works and why it’s been tied to a cryptocurrency. The plan is to allow users easily to cash out their mesh tokens into fiat currency. BlockMesh hopes to have its first devices on sale later this year, and to make them available via retail partners and via its own online shop.
Dingemans also talks about BlockMesh’s planned application programming interface for developers, its plan to integrate advertising into the platform (users will be able to opt in or out of this), and how it is applying security rules to keep users safe.
It’s a fascinating local start-up and a great discussion. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Rain CEO Willem Roos

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Rain Mobile CEO Willem Roos on the launch of the wireless operator's mobile offerings last week.
Roos explains the packages, how they work and who they are targeted at.
Roos, who is former CEO of Outsurance, explains why he took up the offer to lead Rain, what his plans are for the business and where it’s going.
Will Rain launch traditional voice calls on its network? How does its agreement with Vodacom work? And what are its plans to grow its network coverage?
Roos also talks about building a network of scale in a competitive industry and how it plans to differentiate itself.
It’s a great discussion about South Africa’s fifth – and newest – mobile operator. Don’t miss it!

154 episodes

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