Contact Us   |   Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Register
News & Press: Latest News

Design Innovation Seed Fund (Round 3) recipients a showcase of SA innovation

Thursday, 18 April 2019  
Share |


It’s been a busy few months on the Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF), which has seen a total of six businesses contracted as part of the third DISF funding round; all six are receiving grants to support their innovations as approved by the DISF Investment Committee. To date, over R1.2m has been disbursed.


The DISF funds designers, inventors, entrepreneurs and product developers with pre-revenue innovative technologies and tech-enabled ideas and products. These businesses are not able to raise funds easily from traditional banks or funding agencies because of the risks involved. The seed funding assists recipients to understand their opportunities by designing and building prototypes; and validating their assumptions around the technical and market-related challenges.


The DISF is a project of the CDI with investment and management funds respectively provided by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism. The Fund is being managed by the CDI’s subsidiary CDI Capital, our entity catalysing funding for SMEs.




swiftVEE is a livestock trading platform connecting agents and farmers for better trade and price transparency. A technology start-up from South Africa, swiftVEE has received some high accolades on the international stage. The swiftVEE platform facilitates better livestock trade, minimising water wastage and the carbon footprint of beef production.


In so doing, swiftVEE solves some of the world’s biggest problems - Resource scarcity, food insecurity and global hunger. swiftVEE has thousands of livestock farmers on its database from all sectors of the economy creating financial inclusion. By linking livestock agents to its database, swiftVEE enables commercial, small-scale and emerging farmers to trade on a central platform. Since active development in 2017, swiftVEE has scaled to create eight jobs and a national agent network.


Legal Connection

Legal Connection is building enabling technology to help millions of South Africans get access to justice. By creating digital infrastructure that links up the various community advice offices, community paralegals, legal aid clinics, and pro-bono law departments, getting high quality legal advice is now possible for millions of South Africans who are often left out of the system. Legal Connection allows for quick client-intake, case management, distributed collaboration, referrals and ultimately resolution of legal matters at scale. 

The system is not just of benefit to the public, it also stimulates the economy by providing community advice officers and entrepreneurs in the legal space with the capacity to set up their own online business and generate revenue in a number of ways. Practitioners can charge small monthly fees to their user base, create off-the-shelf fixed price legal products and earn money through paid referrals linking willing-sellers and willing-buyers in the ecosystem.  They are already seeing great growth in the community legal space at a legal insurance startup, Tender Legal Care in Cape Town, who serve the poorest South Africans. Legal Connection is also currently ‘live’ at one of South Africa's most respected university law clinics, CALS, and running a pilot project with 20 paralegals who are members of South Africa's biggest community paralegal network, ACAOSA. This project has attracted international attention and was featured on stage at the world's biggest justice innovation forum hosted in the Peace Palace of The Hague last month where it received fantastic feedback from the international justice community. They are also
working with Lady Liberty, connecting people in Soweto in need of legal advice with lawyers wanting to do pro-bono work.

Vula Mobile

Vula Mobile is an app and online based system that connects health workers in rural and underserved areas to specialist medical practitioners. 80% of the users are in the public sector and 20% in the private sector. In 2015 the health tech start-up won a National Public Sector Innovation Award and a Western Cape Premier's Entrepreneurship Award. Fast forward to 2019 and it has won the Western Cape medical referral tender and is used in five other provinces. It has been presented to Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, National Minister of Health and Dr Rob Davies the National Minister of Trade and Industry. 

In February 2019 the 100 000th patient was helped and currently a patient receives specialist guided healthcare at a primary level every four minutes. Vula Mobile has also received International recognition, winning the AfricaTech prize at Vivatechnology in Paris in 2018. It is an example of local innovation having a social impact. The system is currently only available in South Africa and 18 other
countries have written to the company requesting its services.

CDI Capital is working with Vula Mobile to help expand its operations and help more people across the world benefit from having specialist guided healthcare at a primary health care level.


Currently between 350 - 400 patients benefit per day. It is now available in 20 specialties. The latest are Psychiatry, TB and Paediatric Surgery. They have recently signed a four-year contract for R12m with a French pharmaceutical company.



EveryChild is a mobile application which empowers South African township daycare centres to run fund-raising campaigns by leveraging their families’ need for FMCG products. EveryChild provides the customer with monthly FMCG product combinations which, when purchased together, provide a retail reward directly to the customer’s phone number and a cash contribution to the day-care centre e-wallet.


EveryChild’s first tapable prototype was used in early testing with both educare owners and a focus group of parents. The insights gathered will be used to enhance the prototype. They are aiming for minimum viable product (MVP) completion in April 2019.





The BinTag System is a low-cost yield mapping solution for hand-harvested fruits such as apples, pears and citrus. BinTag is a location-based tracking tool for fruit bins that collects data from the orchard to generate a yield map of its trees. This information is critical to precision farming. BinTag were contracted to the DISF in quarter four of the past year and will begin implementation in the first quarter of 2019/20. They are already well underway with the project, and they have undertaken the first testing of the mock-up for the user interface.

Grommet Insertion System (GIS)


Acute Otitis Media with Effusion (OME) – fluid build-up in the middle ear causing pain, deafness and learning disabilities  –  affects more than 709 million patients worldwide each year and 51% of patients are under the age of five.

Grommets are used in the treatment of OME, by leveraging the widespread uptake of endoscopy, recent advancements in materials and the application of a novel surgical technique, the GIS aims to drastically simplify the level of skill and equipment required for successful grommet insertion with the objective of transforming grommet insertion into a low-cost outpatient procedure.
GIS were contracted to the DISF in quarter four of the past year and will begin implementation in the first quarter of 2019/20. 

more Calendar

Understanding Financial Statements

Creative Problem Solving – Design Thinking Workshop

Featured Members

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal