10 game-changing South Africa businesses that didn’t exist 10 years ago
- A number of new popular businesses, many of them leveraging emerging technologies, were created in what proved to be a very difficult decade for SA companies.
- These include a data-only mobile network (Rain) and a digital-only bank (TymeBank).
- Others - like FlySafair and King Price Insurance - also disrupted established industries.
- For more, go to Business Insider South Africa.
Ten years ago, South Africa was emerging from its first recession in seventeen years, but the business mood was increasingly buoyant ahead of the World Cup and what would turn out to be a pretty decent 2010, with growth exceeding 3%.
A lot has changed since then - almost everything for the worse. But amid the largely wasted decade of state capture, load shedding and economic stagnation, a number of disruptive new businesses, many of them leveraging new technologies, were born.
These were some of the most exciting newcomers in the past decade:
Takealot.com was officially launched in June 2011 by a US-based investment firm, Tiger Global Management and former MWeb CEO Kim Reid. Naspers-owned Kalahari.net was merged with Takealot in 2015. Takealot bought Mr Delivery (now known as Mr D) to bolster its deliver network, and then also acquired the fashion retailer Superbalist, which was merged with Naspers’ Spree in 2018.
With 30,000 products and 400 brands, Superbalist has also emerged as one of the top new businesses in South Africa over the past decade. Launched by Claude Hanan and Luke Jedeikin in 2010 as citymob.co.za, it was rebranded as Superbalist in 2013.
Naspers now owns 96% of Takealot, which has more than 2,000 employees and earns an estimated R700 million in revenue per month.
TymeBank was launched less than a year ago, and already has more than one million account holders - without opening a single branch. Its partnership with Pick n Pay allows clients to withdraw money free of charge and deposit amounts for just R4 at tills, and at kiosks placed in the store. TymeBank’s majority shareholder is Patrice Motsepe's African Rainbow Capital.
While the air cargo company Safair has been doing business for more than a half a century, its budget airline FlySafair only began operating in 2015. It was profitable by the following year, as its low prices and its on-time track record (only 6% of its flights are delayed) found a grateful market. Unlike most other airlines in SA, which depend on SAA Technical for maintenance, FlySafair uses its in-house Safair services, which the company says helps to keep its planes on time.
Rain Mobile, partly owned by financial heavyhitters Patrice Motsepe, Paul Harris and Michael Jordaan, is South Africa's first data-only mobile network. It was officially launched in 2018, offering cheap-cheap data prices, and last year pioneered 5G in South Africa.
In 2013, SnapScan launched one of the first mobile payment apps in South Africa. Its founders were three twentysomething entrepreneurs, lead by Kobus Ehlers, who met as students at the University of Stellenbosch. The app was first tested at food markets, but quickly caught on around the country as consumers appreciated the ease of paying for goods using only a cellphone. It was also revolutionary for many small South African merchants who couldn’t afford card machines. Standard Bank now owns a majority stake in Snapscan.
Another company that disrupted payments, Yoco was founded by CEO Katlego Maphai and three friends in 2015. The Yoco device offers cheaper mobile point-of-sale devices than traditional credit card machines. Some 60,000 merchants use it in SA.
Entrepreneur Brian Altriche, who owned a stake in Ocean Basket and was also a Spur franchise holder for a number of years, opened the first Rocomamas restaurant in Randburg in 2013. He thought there would be a market for a fast-food restaurant that catered specifically to millennials - and he was right. Rocomamas' customisable "smashburgers" (the patty is the result of smashing a ball of ground beef on a hot grill to "seal in the juices") are the most Instagrammed burgers in the country. It now has restaurants in more than 50 locations , with branches in Australia and India. In 2015, Spur bought a majority stake in RocoMamas.
Read: This young entrepreneur overcame failures and legal woes to launch one of South Africa’s most popular fast-food chains
King Price Insurance was founded in 2012 by Gideon Galloway, who previously worked for Auto & General and Hippo.co.za. King Price disrupted the industry by offering car insurance that decreases every month – in line with the depreciation of the value of the vehicle.
The cryptocurrency platform Luno was founded in 2013 by two South Africans, former Morgan Stanley investment banker Marcus Swanepoel and ex-Google software engineer Timothy Stranex. Luno now has three million users, who buy and store Bitcoin and Ethereum on the platform. Naspers, Rand Merchant Investments and a number of other parties all own minority stakes in Luno.
Business Insider South Africa is part of 24.com, which is in the Naspers stable.
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