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Realmdigital founder Wesley Lynch has stepped down as CEO the company confirmed in a statement today.
The news comes shortly in the wake of AngelHub and former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan leading an investment round into Lynch’s e-publishing startup Snapplify.
While Lynch will remain onboard as chairman of the agency he founded 16 years ago, his energies will now shift to Snapplify, where he remains CEO.
“The timing is right, for both companies, for this strategic leadership shift,” Lynch said in the statement. “Realmdigital is expanding more rapidly than ever and the opportunities for growth are plentiful, which is a good sign of things to come.”
Taking Lynch’s place will be Simon Bestbier, who has been with the company for a decade now. In the statement, the development-focused agency says that Bestbier “has lead and grown the company in a managerial position, and shown himself to be an innovative and passionate leader who greatly understands the needs of both his staff and clients.”
“Realmdigital has seen some fantastic growth last year and we’re keen to see what 2015 holds,” says Bestbier. “We are fast becoming the development agency of choice for a number of enterprises in the retail, media and travel space and I’m excited to be part of the journey with the support of an incredibly solid team.”
First on the cards for the new CEO is a plan to expand into East Africa, although it’s not exactly clear what form that expansion will take.
Founded in 1999 Realmdigital has always had a bit more of a tech focus than many other developmental agencies and has done especially well in the ecommerce space, where it has won a couple of awards.
Since launching in 2011, Snapplify has won a number of startup and publishing competitions both locally and abroad, including in the Tech Innovation category at the Future Book Awards for Snappbox, its ebook distribution hub.
That said, it always appeared to potter along without appearing to have a massive growth explosion within its grasp.
With the kind of investor pressure Lynch now faces, shifting his energies to focus on Snapplify does make sense. Among the investors in the funding round led by Jordaan was RMB co-founder, Paul Harris’ family fund. In 2012, serial entrepreneur Alan Knott Craig Jr famously stepped down from his position as CEO of Mxit following disagreements with Harris around the direction the company was taking at the time.
Lynch is however well-versed with the investment space, having been involved with AngelHub prior to its acquisition and rebranding. He is also a friend and associate of AngelHub co-founder and lead partner Brett Comaille, who spent a year as chairman of Snapplify’s board.
Image: Daily Maverick