Category Archives: Entrepreneur

Woman in Tech of the Week: Lindiwe Matlali

Woman in Tech of the Week: Lindiwe Matlali

Name: Lindiwe Matlali

Designation: Chief Executive Officer

Company: Africa Teen Geeks

What do you do every day? I spend an hour or two every day keeping up with tech news on Techcrunch and MIT Tech Review.  Staying informed is very important.  “I also make a list of the top three things I must get done each day.  I also make a list of the three things that must be achieved each month and each week to ensure that we remain focused and committed to our strategic goals.

How did you get into the tech space? I didn’t study technology at University. I got involved in tech because I saw the need to expose children from disadvantaged communities to tech not only as consumers but as creators too. I believe that the difference between a child born in Sandton and a child born in Diepsloot is lack of opportunity not intelligence. My passion is to close the opportunity gap and hopefully inspire the next Mark Shuttleworth or Elon Musk.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? My grandfather told me to never compare my weakness to other people’s strength. Consistency can achieve more than intelligence. I need both to succeed.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? My advice for anybody wanting to get into the tech sector is to just do it. There are may free resources now available for one to learn how to code from Edx, cousera and others. All it takes is commitment and determination. In as little as three months you can be a software engineer. 

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I am motivated by the impact we have made so far. We have children who before joining ATG had never touched a computer but now are writing a Java code and coding robots. They now have dreams to be the next Mark Shuttleworths. Instead of looking up to celebrities, they now have raised their aspirations and see themselves as the youth who could change the world one day. That for me is what inspires me and help me get up in the morning even when things are tough. Knowing that in my small way, I am making a difference.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I would like to teach one day. I am furthering my studies torwards my dream of becoming a University lecturer within the next 5 years.

Twitter: @LindiweEM

Blog: https://medium.com/@lindimatlali

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindiwematlali/

 

Do you know an inspirational women in tech? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global) to get her featured!

Do you want to sponsor Women in Tech ZA (our research, website and events around South Africa)? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Do you want to advertise to the  Women in Tech ZA network? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Woman in Tech of the Week: Sam Beckbessinger

Woman in Tech of the Week: Sam Beckbessinger

Name: Sam Beckbessinger
Designation: Writer, Money Dork, Entrepreneur
Company: Phantom Design

What do you do every day?
I am trying to build a world where money isn’t a complex, opaque thing, but is something that we all understand and can use to fund our most audacious dreams. I wrote a book about this, called Manage Your Money Like a F*cking Grownup, and I run a company that helps to build apps and tools that make finances easier to deal with. We’ve built everything from smart credit cards to apps that show you where your money is going to cryptocurrency exchanges, and more.

How did you get into the tech space?
In my heart, I’m a writer, which means that I am fascinated by human beings and how we’re making the world. I started out writing about tech, and then realized that it would be more fun to also start making some tech products of my own.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The stuff that makes you weird is what gives you the power to change the world. Not everyone’s going to like your weirdness, and that’s fine.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Tech is about building a new vision of what the future can look like. It’s far too important to leave to only one narrow type of person. Don’t assume you need to have studied computers at university or have been a gamer since you were 5 to have a successful tech career; you just need to pick a project you care about and start making something. We need people with a background in the humanities, in social science, in biology, in business, in ethics… in everything. We need you: come and join us!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
My cat sitting on my face and demanding to be fed. But also, my work is really fun, so getting out of bed is easy.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
No idea. Only boring people make long-term career plans.

Twitter: @beckbessinger
Website: http://likeafuckinggrownup.com/
Blog: https://medium.com/@greenhamsam
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sambeckbessinger
FB: https://www.facebook.com/likeagrownup/

Do you know an inspirational women in tech? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global) to get her featured!

Do you want to sponsor Women in Tech ZA (our research, website and events around South Africa)? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Do you want to advertise to the  Women in Tech ZA network? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Deshnie Govender

Deshnie Govender

Name: Deshnie Govender

Designation: Creative Director

Company: iVENT

What do you do every day? No two days are the same in digital but essentially I work with brands, agencies and influencers. From strategy and content creation to post production – engaging and authentic content is my key focus.

How did you get into the tech space? It found me! Starting out as a DJ I needed my music to be heard and social media was the easiest (and free) platform that allowed me to connect with others in seconds. When I realised social media and influencer management could become actual careers, I leveraged off my experience in music to start up my consultancy.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Do what you love and never work a day in your life. I can honestly say that I love what I do and, notwithstanding stressful days, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Start with your own platforms. What do your social media accounts look like and what is the frequency of your content? Hands-on experience is the best way to start so I would suggest job shadowing or interning at a digital agency. Trust me, this is the environment that will show you how fast paced this industry can be.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? My company, iVent. I am deeply passionate about what I do and never do anything half-heartedly. My work ethos dictates that my dedication and commitment – not just to my clients, influencers whom I collaborate with and projects that I run – are given 150% of my effort. There is no such thing as sleeping in for me!

What do you want to be when you grow up? I’d like to become a better version of me ☺

Expanding my offices in the UK and America, showing that market what our local influencer offering is like and collaborating on projects. We need to be the first to market, not the last option.

Blog: www.ivent.co.za
Linkedin: https://za.linkedin.com/in/deshnie

Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Name: Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Designation: Technical Director / Co-founder

Company: Viga Interactive, Taggo, Boulot

What do you do every day? I hustle. My days vary considerably, some days I’m swamped with admin and strategy meetings, some days I’m in back to back usability tests, other days I just code or create architecture, but every day I manage a team and client’s projects.

How did you get into the tech space? I started my career in the graphic design industry. Even while studying I wasn’t convinced of this weird exotic thing called coding, but one day I was asked to develop a website instead of just designing it, and so I started coding. I started my first registered company at 25, unfortunately it failed just over a year later. The failure of my first business resulted in a knock to my confidence, from which it took a while to recover from. When I started my next company, however, I was a lot more knowledgeable, stronger and wiser.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Stay humble. As entrepreneurs we have to be confident, sometimes even arrogant, so it is difficult to remain humble all the time. When I succeed in staying humble it keeps me honest, grateful, and makes me a better listener. All of which tends to come in handy in the big bad world of business.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Never stop learning. Things move fast in the tech space and you need to stay up to date and relevant, when it comes to new technology and trends.

Another essential piece of advice I would give is to create rock solid specification documents. Because there are always issues around communication, a good spec can avoid misunderstandings.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The possibility of a game changer. Every day I’m excited about the prospects that particular day can bring, you never know what’s around the corner and how it can make your business a success.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I love being an entrepreneur. Yes, it is extremely difficult and sometimes I think I must be crazy. The reason I keep pushing is that someday when I’m all grown up I can look back and say it was all worth it, I helped build some really cool stuff.

Twitter: @VIGAInteractive
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-bezuidenhout-26484235

WOMEN START-UP ENTREPRENEURS: WIN THE ULTIMATE START-UP PRIZE

WOMEN START-UP ENTREPRENEURS: WIN THE ULTIMATE START-UP PRIZE

South African women tech-innovators should take note of an amazing business development opportunity with the chance to win the ultimate start-up prize for their technology driven businesses –  thanks to the ‘Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa’ initiative of the Embassy of Israel.

This competition is open to all South African women who are the founders or senior managers of any company in the hi-tech field which is in early stage seed funding. This year the competition has a particular focus on women tech leaders and aims to reward innovation and entrepreneurship in the hi-tech sector.

The prize is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Israel for a full week of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities with some of the world’s leading tech and start-up experts.  The winner will travel to Israel for and intense, all-expense-paid, five-day startup experience in the heart of Tel Aviv in September 2016, during the exciting and innovative DLD Festival.

‘Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa’ has selected a team of internationally respected judges to select one woman who is actively involved in an innovative company that has developed a unique, sustainable and scalable technology driven business.

Judges on the panel include; Noluthando Gosa, former Investment Analyst and a longstanding member of a number of professional organisations like the Institute of Directors of South Africa; Business Women’s Association of SA (Gauteng) and the Black Business Council, Tanya Kovarsky, the PR and Communications Lead of Core Group and an award-winning parenting blogger with more than 12 years of experience in magazine and newspaper journalism, Hillary Joffe, who is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s most talented financial journalists, Toby Shapshack, Described by GQ as “the most high-profile technology journalist in the country” and one of South Africa’s top 30 men in media, and Arthur Goldstuck, award-winning writer, analyst and technology commentator and head of the World Wide Worx Organisation.

The judges will be looking for a truly innovative business spearheaded by a woman, as explained further by one of the judges, the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Ambassador Arthur Lenk: “Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa, now in its 3rd year, aims to share the energy of Israel’s start-up culture with women in the tech-sector of South Africa through supporting truly innovative start-ups. We know that in South Africa there are widely creative people who will gain from exposure to the world renowned innovation eco-system in Tel Aviv.

Our Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa content is of benefit to both South Africa and Israel by highlighting the benefits of outside the box  creative thinking and honouring the best new woman ‘startupist’ in South Africa.”

The prize winner will travel to the DLD Festival in Tel Aviv to participate in lectures, workshops and meetings with leading Israeli investors and professionals. The winning start-up experience takes place during the DLD Festival week (www.dldtelaviv.com), Israel’s largest international hi-tech gathering, featuring hundreds of start ups, VC’s, angel investors and leading multinationals including top technological talent, the highest venture capital investments per capita and multi national centers for industry leaders such as Intel, Google, and Microsoft, Kimberly Clark, Amazon, GM, Amdocs, Facebook and more.

The South African winner will have the opportunity to meet the coolest and smartest companies, techies, investors, designers, artists, scientists, and cultural drivers from Israel and abroad.

For more information and to enter, visit http://startuptelavivsouthafrica.com/

CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES IS Friday the 3rd June 2016

Lisa Lyhne

Name: Lisa Lyhne

Lisa Lyhne

Lisa Lyhne

Designation: Managing Director

Company: Jump Software

What do you do every day? My business, Jump Software, works as a tech-co-founder to startups. I love the energy and faith in the startup world. I also love the disruption that is possible through technology. Tech startups deserve the best possible systems to meet their early and growing businesses, and often it’s their tech that fails, rather than their business ideas. At Jump Software, we partner with founders to build flexible solutions to meet their technical needs. Keeping their larger business strategies in mind, we create, extend and maintain software solutions which power our partners’ businesses.

On a daily basis I work on projects with my very capable tech team to deliver on our promises to our founders. I also meet with many folk in the startup networks – founders, funders, accelerators, incubators and the like, to secure new sales for my business.

I also do a fair bit of consulting as a software development mentor. I work for Microsoft in their Bizspark programme, mentoring their startups, as well as for other startup businesses. In these sessions I work with founders to improve their software development processes, as well as define and refine their business offerings.

How did you get into the tech space? I was really lucky. I did a BCom (IT) at university, and was sent on a year’s student exchange to Copenhagen in Denmark. I was meant to spend six months in the IT department, and move to the accounting department for the next six months. After the first six months I asked to stay in the IT department, which was agreed. That was 1986 – and I’ve worked in IT ever since.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t worry about doing it right – just do it and back yourself to get it right. Carry on and on and on. It is the determined that win, not the brilliant!

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Most importantly, get educated. There is no substitute for a thorough, formal (preferably university) education. There is soooo much to learn, and you will only ever scratch the surface if you try to do this via personal exposure. If this is not feasible, try to find your way into a position that will support your education while you work.

Then, get working. Work for a tech company if you are looking for a variety of experience. Cleave to the better skilled of your colleagues and learn-learn-learn-learn. Read widely.

As a woman, know that you’ll need to be pushy. Women are not given the prime opportunities. Even now, we are paid about two-thirds of what men earn in the same position. (Unfortunately I know this from personal experience. It has been the case for me, a pushy woman, for my whole career (even as a director). Now that I am the boss, maybe it’ll change!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I am really energised by my new business. The startup space is vibrant and optimistic, and I love the idea of getting dreams off the ground.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I want to grow businesses (my client-founders and my own) and grow veggies in my back garden.

Twitter: @LisaLyhne
Website: www.JumpSoftware.co.za
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAMAAABi8n4BE3divLa0mBT_qpbCuFR3rmQxd10&trk=hp-identity-name

Brittany Hawkins


Name:
Brittany Hawkins

Brittany Hawkins

Brittany Hawkins

Designation: Chief Experience Officer (CEO)

Company: Explore Sideways

What do you do every day? As the CEO of a startup I wear many hats. At the end of the day, I do whatever it takes to get our company and our team to the next stage in growth.

How did you get into the tech space? I lived and worked in Silicon Valley for 7 years, which sparked my endless fascination and adoration for technology. The frenzied tech space is the perfect place for people like myself that don’t see problems, but rather, potential solutions. It’s when technology and imagination collide that I’ve seen the most incredible things happen.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t be afraid to fail. Technology is wildly mutable and faster paced than any field in history – all you can do is embrace the insecurity and learn as much as you can along the way.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Approach each day as a new opportunity to learn. If you focus on deriving enjoyment from the process, rather than the outcome, you’ll be both successful and happy.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The opportunity to learn something I didn’t know the day before.

Twitter: @hawkbritt
Web: exploresideways.com
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/hawkinsbrittany

Darlene Menzies

Darlene Menzies, TDH/SMEasy

Darlene Menzies, TDH/SMEasy

Name: Darlene Menzies

Companies and Designation: The Development House (TDH) – Founder and Chairman, SMEasy Business Software Pty Ltd – Founder and CEO

What do you do every day? Team role – leader and innovator. I run a business that develops simple scalable software solutions that address gaps in the small business market. I enjoy the risk and challenge involved in taking an idea from concept to commercialisation – going from initial ideation and market research to product design, the development of a minimal viable product, market piloting to demonstrate early user traction and then raising venture capital to fund product commercialisation. In terms of my role in the team I am the ideas person, the team leader as well as the product evangelist. I love my job.

How did you get into the tech space? I started work as a bank teller and got involved in the bank’s IT division through my interest in helping test new IT systems that were being implemented in the bank at the time. I was moved to the regional IT division in KZN in the late eighties, there were no ladies in the division at the time. I worked in corporate IT for 15 years before starting my own software development business in 2004.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? If you don’t totally love what you’re doing stop doing it, immediately…then do everything you can to get started doing what you are passionate about. This one decision will change your whole life.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? I encourage them to do it, it’s the future, the opportunities are endless. I tell them they have to be prepared to work hard, very hard. If they are starting a tech business I usually tell them to be prepared to make big sacrifices and take massive risks, the rewards down the road will far outweigh the sacrifices in the early years. Also that the key to success and growth is your team. If you focus on building your team, your team will build your business.

For people who ask me if I have any particular advice for women wanting to get in tech – I tell them to forget about gender and just do what they are gifted to do and passionate about, that is what will ensure their success. It’s not about gender, it’s about ability, timing, hard work and a bit of luck!

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? I totally LOVE what I do; I would do it even if I didn’t get paid. I wake up on a Saturday and Monday feeling equally excited about the day ahead.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A mix of Melinda Gates, Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep and Katy Perry… LOL. I think all these ladies are incredible in their own fields! Seriously, I want to be me but with loads more money; I would like to be able to make the kind of social and economic impact that someone like Melinda Gates is making. It’s a privilege to be able to change people’s lives.

LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/darlenemenzies
Twitter: https://twitter.com/darlenemenzies / https://twitter.com/thedevhouse