Meet Savant’s 2019 Seed Fund Beneficiaries

Four Cape Town based start-ups have collectively landed over R2.7-million in seed grants from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), administered by Savant, a hardware tech incubator located in Cape Town.

The four start-ups — which each received grants of between R527 000 and R774 000 in the last few months — include three tech firms and an innovative company that is developing a new brand of fertiliser. The tech companies include a business that is developing a mobile gym that can be used for automated physical condition monitoring, a start-up with a wireless charger for venues and another start-up that is working on a tech solution for taxi tracking and passenger counting to ensure commuter safety.

Vekta Innovations: Automated physical-condition monitoring

John van Niekerk and Newtown Fortuin, who run Vekta Innovations which they founded in 2015, have designed KineDek, an automated physical-condition monitoring, rehabilitation and strengthening machine. The machine, which can be likened to a mini mobile gym, links to a cloud-based system which enables data sharing between key players in the health, fitness, insurance, information technology and stakeholders in other related industrial sectors.

Volkswagen (VW) SA recently took an interest in using the invention to carry out mandatory health checks on their 4000 employees when returning to work. It was on the back of VW’s interest that technology incubator Savant gave the company a R774 400 from TIA late last year.

The two intend to file an international patent application in Vienna next month, which they hope will offer the idea more protection.

Opencharge Wireless Power Technologies: Wireless charger

A second start-up, Opencharge Wireless Power Technologies in December, received a R774 400 grant from TIA, with which it hopes to use to secure patents and develop prototypes for product extensions of its charging stations.
The company was founded by Denys and Phebeon Vera (who is pictured above) in 2018. Denys is a software engineer and Phebeon is a hardware engineer. Their charging stations are aimed at restaurants, cafés, bars, hotels, offices, co-working spaces or stadiums.

Quickloc8: Minibus taxi tracking

Quickloc8 has scored a R527 025 TIA grant. This is the start-up’s second TIA grant. In 2018 it accessed a R472 975 grant (see this story). The start-up, which was founded in 2015 by Mbavhalelo Mabogo, offers a combination of real-time taxi tracking and passenger counting to ensure commuter safety as well as an advanced taxi management system for owners. The latest grant will help the start-up to complete development work on its passenger counting solution, production of prototype units and to conduct field trials with 40 current tracking clients to validate assumptions and stimulate demand among its current client base of more than 1000 taxis.

Smartroots: Smart fertiliser

Smartroots is developing a natural fertiliser product based on different fungi species and is aimed largely at smallholder farmers. The start-up was founded by Nkululeko Ngqinambi in 2018. Nkululeko has a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in chemistry and geology. He has had further training in project planning focused on social innovation.

He plans to use the start-up’s R638 191 seed grant, which it received in December, to cultivate feedstock from root cultures, then harvest and process these into a product ready for field trials in different agricultural settings. The goal is to prove the efficacy and business case for use of the product to allow product registration and first sales to target customers.

This is an adaptation of an article entitled, “Four Cape Town start-ups land over R2.7m in Savant TIA grants for their innovative ideas” on the Venture Burn website.


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