South African Start-ups Quietly Conquering Global Markets took a close look at local start-ups that expanded their businesses globally in 2016 in the best strategic ways and aiming to conquer new markets with their innovation solutions developed in South Africa. By Gugu Lourie

The 5 top South African companies globalising quietly include:

MyBucks aims to mitigate global fraud and identity theft

African FinTech firm MyBucks, which was founded by South African-born Dave van Niekerk, through its brands GetBucks, GetBanked and GetSure offers unsecured consumer loans, banking solutions as well as insurance products to customers.

davebackg3-1024x683MyBucks has experienced exponential growth since its inception in 2011 and today has operations in nine African and two European countries. In June, MyBucks – the first African focused Fintech company listed in Germany – started trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

In July, the firm extended its operations into Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania.

In August, MyBucks announced partnership with Frankfurt-listed technology banking group FinTech Group AG in order to boost its consumer lending activities across both Africa and Europe.

In a second step, FinTech Group and MyBucks are further looking to expand into several European markets together. Tim Nuy, Deputy CEO MyBucks SA says that the combination of MyBucks’ unique and proven machine learning credit scoring technology and FinTech Group’s Europe-wide banking license and efficient banking technology is a unique and winning combination. MyBucks already has operations in Spain and Poland.

Going forward, MyBucks is in the process of developing facial recognition algorithms that will be incorporated into the fraud prevention system. Most European markets currently require copies of photo identity documents, and as such we are in the process of developing facial recognition algorithms to address this requirement, said the company.

“A longer-term goal is to add biometric verification using facial recognition to our mobile applications. This can be very useful in African countries where national ID systems are non-existent or poorly functional.”

IsoMetrix – SA GRC Software firm spread wings in Americas

As part of plans to spread its wings internationally, IsoMetrix, a South African-based tech firm, specialising in integrated Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) software solutions mainly to the mining industry, opened their latest office in Atlanta, USA in September 2016.

“We have a strong competitive advantage,” says Paul Marketos, IsoMetrix Director and co-founder. “Our Atlanta office will be our largest branch in a few years. We go beyond best practice and give our customers exactly what they want and what suits their business best.”

The Atlanta office joins a network of offices in Toronto, Perth and Johannesburg.  These regional offices allow the company to provide local, time-zone based support to a growing international customer base. These include many of the world’s largest mining and oil and gas companies.

“With the bulk of the world’s EH&S spend in North America, our office in Atlanta will better serve our existing and new customers there,” says Benoit Froment, IsoMetrix Director: North America, who heads up the company’s Toronto office.

IsoMetrix was founded in 2003 by Paul de Kock, and brothers Dennis and Paul Marketos. The agile, integrated software solutions allow organisations from a wide range of industries – construction to financial services, manufacturing, mining, transport and logistics, oil and gas and everything in between –  to replace a myriad of point solutions and paper or spreadsheet-based systems with a fully integrated, web-based solution.

IsoMetrix comes with built in, comprehensive dashboards for clear visibility of areas of non-compliance or overdue actions so that nothing falls through the cracks.

IsoMetrix has more than 60 000 users world-wide. Customers include Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Anglo American, De Beers, Glencore, Rio Tinto, South32, Statoil and Transnet.

Marketos concludes: “South Africa is at the vanguard of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC). We are leading the shift from compliance as a ‘tick-box’, grudge exercise to a holistic governance approach that has material benefits for organizations. There is a growing need for the way we approach GRC, and we are ready to bring our solution to the world.”

 Hello Paisa – Creating a Hello Nation

Based in South Africa, Hello Paisa is a low cost international money transfer solution for remittances.

Hello Paisa is a service that allows you to send cash from South Africa to countries all over the world, to your family and friends. It is a quick, easy, and efficient way of sending money.

The service is available in Bangladesh, Botswana, Cameroon, China, Congo DR, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

SA’s Tuluntulu: One of the global ‘break through’ brand

Tuluntulu, which is an African mobile video on demand (VOD) service, was selected by Interbrand as a global ‘break through’ brand in 2016. The inaugural Breakthrough Brands, and the Future Growth Report celebrates a new breed of upstarts and challengers, the next generation of brands that are reshaping the market and embody a critical characteristic—growth.

Launched in August 2014, Tuluntulu targets audiences in Africa, and globally, with African focused content delivered on its mobile content platform.

The Tuluntulu app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play and App stores.

The app has been downloaded over 460,000 times in 154 countries.

The cumulative usage numbers of the Tuluntulu app since launch in August 2014 has reached over 15 million screen views with over 3 million sessions.

The platform currently has 26 x 24/7 streaming TV channels; Entertainment (Africa365), News (tNews4U, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, France24), Education (SABC Education, BrainBoosters, Spark4U, VTC), Documentaries (Afridocs), Movies (Nolly4U), Series (AfrikTales), Sport (AfricaSport4U), eSports (OPTV), Fashion (Fleur), Lifestyle (Africa4U), Children (SABC Children), Comedy (Good4U), Music (Mafrik), Shopping (VerimarkTV), Public information (BetterLife4U, Health4U), Religion (Elev8), and French (TV5 Monde, Mandinka). Tuluntulu also has over 20 streaming radio stations broadcasting in English, French, Hausa, Portuguese, and Kiswahili.

Last year, Tuluntulu was named by the Unilever Foundry 50 as one of the top 50 start-ups in the world.

The first, and only one from Africa.

LifeQ – Tapping into the global human sensor

South Africa’s health informatics firm LifeQ has set out to catalyze a change in how we understand and optimize our health. Championed by computational systems biologists, LifeQ sees the human body as the ultimate sensor.

LifeQ has teamed up with Nasdaq-listed Analog Devices to improve effectiveness of body monitoring devices in health management.


Tapping into this, LifeQ provides people with the information required to live intelligently today, and, in the future predict changes in personal physiology and health.

LifeQ’s goal is to create a continuous, on demand record and model of personal physiology that will enable wearable device companies, application developers, data scientists, researchers, health experts and of course individuals to better monitor and understand health. There are a huge range of applications of this information, including: fitness, nutrition, sleep, stress, medical, health, and population level data research.

In June, Garmin and LifeQ joined forces to deliver connected health solution.

By combining the market-leading wearable devices of Garmin with the unique on-device and cloud based biomathematical capabilities of LifeQ the two companies will deliver a joint digital health solution as part of the broader health ecosystem.

“The connected health and insurance ecosystem of the future will be propelled forward to a whole new level through rapid delivery of personalized physiological information that is now possible due to rapid advances in hardware and analytics capabilities,” said Riaan Conradie Co-Founder and COO of LifeQ.

“By combining LifeQ’s computational systems biology based on-device and cloud based analytics products with Garmin’s world leading devices we will jointly open up a range of high value personalized solutions to the health and life insurance industry. We are very excited about this preferred partnership.”









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