27Dinner Event talking Banking and Venture Capital – January 2011

The 27Dinners events epitomize the networking capacity of the online community in South Africa, and I love attending these events. They are always well co-ordinated, well executed, well attended and well enjoyed; and this, the first of 2011, was no exception.

Generously sponsored by Seacom and Intel Venture Capital, and held at the infamous Metro Restaurant, in Benmore Gardens, all 120 registered attendees were served both food and drink in style.

LeBistro were also part of the proceedings and kindly sponsored customised name tags for all who registered. It works with a QR Reader system. There are a number of  applications available for all types of smartphones that can read these tags. Read here for more information.

The main course was served before the first speaker. Options for the meal was Cheeseburger & Chips, Linguini Bolagnaise (my choice), and Mascaponi Pizza.

First Guest Speaker – Herman Singh | Standard Bank Director

His very engaging presentation was all about the future of banking – globally.  Entitled “Making rands and sense of the chaos, he  went on to discuss the major players in the online space; and how much they are spending on R&D.

Getting in on the action

Basically whoever owns the payment stream, owns the money. Gaming communities have introduced their own forms of currencies which are infiltrating into the global economy. Facebook also recently announced the use of Facebook Credits for all online games – read more here >>

Money is made on applications and no longer on adverts. Facebook, Google and Apple (amongst others) are able to monetize their existing databases.


Banking as we know it is changing. Virtual currencies are becoming stronger and mobile banking appears to be the future in Africa.

Second Guest Speaker – Sam Mensah | Director of the sub-Saharan branch of Intel Venture Capital

The first issue discussed was the appointment of Will-i-am into Intel. The basic idea behind this was to bring in someone who could be involved in creating innovative products that are currently relevant.

Sam then spoke about Silicon Valley and how they are trying to replicate this all over the world, including the Cape (Silicon Cape).

Why Silicon Valley? Because its the basis of almost everything. Turning research into actual products that people want to buy.

Venture Capital is available in South Africa you just need to know where to look. Between 2001 and 2011 there was total investment of 2.6 billion rand in VC with a big portion of this coming from government.

Unfortunately he went on for too long and many of the people lost interest. @markusher did happen to win a nice bottle of wine though.

Desert was then served shortly after the second presentation which gave us more time to chat to all the regulars; many people left before being served.

In closing, I always find these events inspiring and a great networking opportunity. Thanks to Cerebra for making 27dinner such a success and the place to be on every other 27th (or thereabouts) of the month 🙂

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