Cape Town’s R10m start-up lab gets off to a flying start with two new tech businesses
Petru Saal | 2017-02-21 18:52:48.0
The R10-million lab was opened by small business development minister Lindiwe Zulu and French ambassador Christophe Farnaud‚ who said it followed the success of the first such lab in Africa‚ in Ivory Coast. File photo
Image by: Linda Mthombeni
A “tech lab” that supports start-ups has already chalked up two success stories even though it officially opened only on Tuesday.
Kim Zanasi‚ of BnB Sitter‚ which offers services such as check-ins and housekeeping to AirBnB hosts‚ said the French South African Tech Labs in Cape Town had assisted with the development of her website and payment platform.
And Nk Mvulana’s start-up‚ Amagetsi‚ which allows Zimbabweans in South Africa to buy electricity for their families north of the Limpopo‚ has been helped with software development.
The R10-million lab was opened by small business development minister Lindiwe Zulu and French ambassador Christophe Farnaud‚ who said it followed the success of the first such lab in Africa‚ in Ivory Coast.
“Innovation is what we need to build the next century. The more we work together‚ the better we will live‚ the better our children will live‚” said Farnaud.
Zanasi said the assistance she had received meant she could focus on growing her company‚ which aims to cash in on the boom in AirBnB rentals in Cape Town.
Mvulana said Amagetsi aimed to circumvent the high cost of sending money to Zimbabwe‚ half of which was spent on “virtual services” such as electricity‚ airtime and DStv.
“Our research found that we needed to create a platform that enables Zimbabweans to buy the product in South Africa. Our first solution is aimed at prepaid electricity. Any Zimbabwean that has a phone and access to the internet and a bank account will be able to do so.
“We had to find a capable software development house that understands what we are trying to do‚ that has some experience in mobile payment services and e-commerce‚ and I think we found that in the French Cape Town hub. Through their expertise we were finally able to launch the product.
“Their support has been excellent it has enabled us to worry about the market and not worry whether the technology will work or not.”
The investment in the lab‚ in Century City‚ has come from Methys‚ a French company operating in digital transformation‚ and the Small Enterprise Development Agency.