7 unique startups that caught our eye in 2017
There is something to be said about going against the grain. In today’s global economy launching a business that is against the norm can be an advantage for an entrepreneur – including decreased competition and the opportunity to be a market leader. This is exactly what the following startup businesses we profiled this year successfully achieved, proving that it is possible to find success in any industry.
1. SNEAKER CLEANING SERVICE – Clean Grip Shoe Laundry co-founded by Luyanda Mehlomakhulu and Lebogang Mohlala
Luyanda Mehlomakhulu and
Two young East Rand-based entrepreneurs, Luyanda Mehlomakhulu and Lebogang Mohlala, inspired by the rise in popularity of South Africa’s footwear culture, launched a professional cleaning service for your prized All Stars and Air Jordans or your favourite Superga and Arbiters.
Taking a cue from township’s fashion-conscious youth who routinely spend thousands of Rands on ‘fresh kicks’, the duo are bringing the “spa” treatment for your footwear.
Clean Grip Shoe Laundry is a shoe-cleaning business offering services such as washing, refurbishing, colour touch-up, stain removing, waterproofing, disinfecting and deodorising as well as customising shoes.
The startup was inspired by township’s youth launching initially in Soweto, Vosloorus, Dawn Park and Edenvale, the startup has now expanded its market and is now based in Johannesburg’s suburb of Bedfordview. Read more
2. FRESH PRODUCE DELIVERY – The Munching Mongoose founded by Brad Meiring and Tamryn Dicks
The Munching Mongoose is one of a growing number of artisan businesses in South Africa. They startup sources and finds the best local produce from small scale farmers and producers. Having secured high-quality produce, it delivers farm fresh milk, eggs, cheese, bread and an assortment of fruit and vegetables directly to its customers.
The Munching Mongoose has thrived, thanks to a receptive market, its exceptional customer service and the reach of the Internet.
However co-founder, Brad Meiring, says that it hasn’t always been plain sailing.
“Logistics has been a big challenge for us as we operate a delivery service and many of the small scale producers we work with do not have great business systems in place. This makes reliably sourcing goods and receiving them at an expected time difficult,” he adds. Read more
3. BEE FARMING: Iliju Bee Farm founded by Mmabatho Morudi
Mmabatho Morudi is an agri-preneur who is also a qualified beekeeper.
Together with her partner, Desmond Morudi, they own a beekeeping and agricultural produce business, Iliju Bee Farm, located in Winterveld, north-west of Pretoria.
Beekeeping for Morudi, was never part of the plan, she says. It was only after her grandfather, Dr Sam Motsuenyane, suggested they attend a course in beekeeping that the interest arose.
“Going into bee farming happened by chance. Even though I had always had an interest in agriculture I was rather comfortable in my corporate job. Our grandfather, who at the time was 85, suggested we go for a course in bee farming following what we at the time thought was a problem. Bees would settle in our ceiling and produce so much honey that the ceiling would collapse. I enjoyed the course so much that I went on to complete the advanced course and start the business,” says Morudi.
It was while studying that she discovered that there was a huge shortage of good quality honey in SA and that most of the country’s honey was imported from China, she says. Read more
4. PARKING TICKET APP – Wizzpass co-founded by Bradley Hornby, Ulrich Stark, Tyron Fouche, Francois Stark, William Saunders
CEO Bradley Hornby who together with co-founders Ulrich Stark, Tyron Fouche, Francois Stark, William Saunders launched the parking ticket app in 2015.
According to the founders the smartphone application requires user interaction with booms, barriers and mechanised objects.
“The user has control over each action and the client benefits from improved security, better customer knowledge and cost savings. We believe that smartphone uptake will continue to grow and grow and in the near future, the smartphone will be the medium for everyday activities and actions. The smartphone will be your digital key to everything you do.” Read more
5. CROWDFARMING PLATFORM – Livestock Wealth founded by Ntuthuko Shezi
Serial entrepreneur and qualified electro-mechanical engineer, Ntuthuko Shezi, is hoping to elevate the cow as an asset and in so doing tap into the dormant commercial value inherent in, what he says, is Africa’s 100 million cattle.
In October 2015 Shezi launched Livestock Wealth, a startup that marries technology and Africa’s oldest and most enduring traditional form of wealth – cattle.
Calling it the traditional African ‘asset class’, the crowd-farming platform introduced the cow as an investment asset class in which consumers are able to own cattle regardless of where they are or their expertise in cattle or farming. Read more
6. STOKVEL APP – Stokfella app founded by Tshepo Moloi
Tshepo Moloi is with the launch of his app hoping to bring tech to an institution that has yet to embrace technology – the still very traditional world of stokvels.
Stokvels are a long-standing practice within township communities. They are an invitation savings scheme, whereby members regularly contribute an agreed amount from which they receive a once-off lump sum. The sum can cover the costs of burials, groceries, investments and holiday celebrations, or simply to save.
StokFella, a financial management application for stokvels, offers a solution to streamline the administrative burden of running a stokvel. The app allows users to not only keep a record of all financial transactions, it also has a scheduling tool to help with the planning of meetings and even helps with governance in the form of a stokvel’s constitution. Read more
7. HOME AUTOMATION – Fazil Ogle, Fortune Ngubane and Thabang Kekana
FFT Electrical co-founders (from left
to right) Fazil Ogle, Fortune Ngubane
and Thabang Kekana
There are a few stereotypes that Fazil Ogle together with his partners Fortune Ngubane and Thabang Kekana, are hoping to shatter with the idea to launch their own home automation system designed specifically for the township market. The most enduring being the perception that technology is only meant for the rich.
Ogle is the founder and managing director of electronics company, Ops360 that provides LED lighting and solar solutions for the mid to low end domestic and commercial market. Ngubane and Kekana co-founded Mukoni Technical Services, they focus on service and repairs to mining equipment such as control panels, PLCs (programmable logic controller) and motors.
All qualified electrical engineers, the trio came together and created, FFT Electrical, a newly established tech startup that offers bespoke solutions for electronic design and home automation. They designed and built their demo home automation systems in-house in Olievenhoutbosch, a township in Centurion in Gauteng.
“Together with my partners, we came up with the idea to introduce a low-end home automation system for the masses. We are targeting young, upwardly-mobile township residents across the country,” Ogle says. Read more