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mophethe-moletsane

Tech startups must spend more time on honing target market says MTN manager

Tech entrepreneurs must spend more time developing a complete value proposition for the apps and web platforms that they pitch to corporates, says MTN’s general manager of digital commercial management Mophethe Moletsane.

“Unfortunately, most startups do the work on the solution, but are quick to rush to their demos without contextualising the market opportunity,” says Moletsane.

He says aligning the app, widget or platform to the strategic initiatives is everything for a big organisation.

Unfortunately, most startups do the work on the solution, but are quick to rush to their demos without contextualising the market opportunity, says MTN manager

Read more below on the advice he has for startups who plan to pitch to the cellular provider.

Ventureburn: What are some important tips for startups looking to approach MTN with their idea for an app, widget or platform? What should they prepare or think about beforehand regarding their idea for the company?

Mophethe Moletsane: MTN’s focus and priority initiatives are key to understand: aligning the app, widget or platform to the strategic initiatives is everything for big organisations. It’s also just as critical to consider the resourcing viability of the solution or service in relation to the organisation, and if it fits the organisation’s values.

VB: What channels should startups go through, and what should they prepare before approaching a bank with their ideas?

MM: The business development or commercial divisions within big organisations are a good starting point. Furthermore, most organisations have set up digital divisions or have assigned key personnel to the digital or innovation responsibility.

VB: In general, how can startups improve the way they deal with corporates? Are there certain things that make them look more professional?

MM: Relationships are paramount in any business, especially when dealing with corporates. Thus, we advise entrepreneurs to build and maintain relationships with all their contacts by being polite and accessible.

Tech professionals should also keep in mind that their solution or app is only one part of their offering: to be a complete value proposition, a target market must be clearly articulated. Unfortunately, most startups do the work on the solution, but are quick to rush to their demos without contextualising the market opportunity.

VB: What are some of the common mistakes startups make when they want to sell tech products or services to a bank?

MM: Sometimes, startups approach banks without a detailed business case that outlines their goals and how they plan to achieve them. As with corporates, financial institutions expect a complete value proposition or business plan before they’ll be willing to finance any venture.

VB: On average, how many pitches do you currently get from startups per month, and what kinds of services and products are the start-ups usually pitching? 

MM: On average, we receive five pitches, with solutions ranging across the main verticals of media, finance, healthcare and education, for instance.

VB: What kinds of (innovative) services and products is MTN looking for?

MM: MTN is looking for a range of services and products throughout a number of industries. Our categories include:

  • Mobile gaming solutions
  • Educational solutions
  • Agricultural solutions
  • Health solutions
  • Mobile financial solutions
  • Breakthrough local developer apps
  • Best innovation solutions

Want to learn more about pitching to corporates? Read Ventureburn’s series of Q&As below.

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