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Micro-internship startup Mintor walked away as winner of the Silicon Cape pitching competition #PitchVinny. The event, which was held in Cape Town on Monday, saw three startups pitching to renowned South African angel investor and serial entrepreneur Vinny Lingham.
Mintor co-founder Leànne Viviers described her startup as an online platform that connected students with internships or — as she described it — micro-internships.
“Micro-internships enable businesses to access low-risk and affordable skills,” Viviers told Lingham in front of an audience of a few dozen industry enthusiasts.
“There’s a unique opportunity to address the skills gap,” she added.
To date, Mintor has facilitated a total of 10 “mintorships”. The startup has 150 businesses and 300 students on its platform.
They are seeking R500 000 to build the platform and aim to scale to 100 mintorships. “Our demand is exceeding our capacity,” she added.
The competition awarded Viviers a R50 000 investment as well as assistance and guidance from Lingham. The Gyft founder also urged Viviers to get a technical co-founder on board.
“I like the concept — the focus,” Lingham told the entrepreneur. “The revenue model is clear and works well. There’s definitely a big need for getting students into the market.”
Beyond Mintor’s achievement, the event gave both the pitching startups and the audience a chance to learn from Lingham’s insights. For example, he advised that having a technical co-founder was important in retaining skills, as well as cutting down on costs. Lingham also emphasised the need to cut down on as many variables as possible and focus on one market vertical.
Lingham also noted that South Africa doesn’t have enough good startups to invest in. While there was talent, he said, there weren’t enough portfolio investors:
There’s not enough portfolio investors. You have to price the valuations realistically. If you’re valued at R20-million, I want to make R200-million in the future. If I can’t make 10 times the return, then I can’t invest. Early investors don’t care about profit. We just want to see an increase evaluation.
Image by Peter Herring