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Last month, Startup Grind kicked off the year by hosting Lean Iterator co-founders David Campey and Roger Norton. Their latest event, which took place on Monday night, saw Yoco’s CEO and co-founder, Katlego Maphai take the stage.
Startup Grind Global Conference
In welcoming the crowd, Startup Grind’s global community director, Guillaume De Smedt spoke about the Global Conference happening earlier this year in Silicon Valley.
“This conference is where over 5000 entrepreneurs from over the world will be congregating to listen to some of the best entrepreneurs in the world,” said De Smedt.
With tickets being priced at US$500 and US$600 per head, the lineup is promised to be pretty exciting with SA’s Project Lazarus’ founders Daniel van der Spuy and Adriaan van der Spuy to showcase their work.
“What’s really cool is that we’re going to be featuring 100 startups, these guys are coming from all over the world and one of them is the Lazarus Project,” said De Smedt
Standard Bank representative, Linda Swart took to the stage to share her feelings on the journey of entrepreneurs, such as Maphai.
“One thing I think that’s missing in South Africa are role models,” Swart said.
“Not just movie stars and people that inspire us on those levels, but also the entrepreneurs that are working hard, building businesses that can teach the younger kids that entrepreneurship is not just for people that can’t find a job, it’s actually the way to go,” she continued.
Swart also announced that aside from Standard Bank signing with Startup Grind as partners for another year, they’ll be hosting the first Startup Grind in Pretoria tonight.
“We just launched a hybrid branch in Pretoria actually at Hatfield, it’s a bank branch…the top floor of the branch is actually an open co-working space,” Swart said. “It shows you that Standard Bank is thinking beyond just banking and cheque accounts.”
In the meantime, the banking giant from an incubator perspective is making good progress and are scouting for even more places to create co-working spaces to support entrepreneurs. Swart added that they would be making announcements soon.
Microsoft has also signed on as a new partner with Madelein Grobbelaar representing them at the event.
“We attended a Startup Grind here in Cape Town a couple of months ago and we were completely blown away, we realised that this is the place to be to meet innovation and see technology the way that it’s supposed to be,” she said.
“Microsoft is really passionate about startups and we want to be part of this initiative,” Grobbelaar continued.
She stressed the importance of startups to the tech giant. “We’re going to throw lots of software at you… we really are interested and we really want to be part of your journey and we’re looking forward to joining Startup Grind.”
The main event: Katlego Maphai on his journey
The seeds for Yoco were planted when Maphai visited California, he said, having spent part of his childhood in the state.
“During one of my annual trips, I saw Square… the company that pioneered our space. I saw it in a little antique shop… in 2011,” he explained.
“I went back exactly a year later and I saw it everywhere. I was like ‘wow, this technology’s really taken off’,” he continued. But it wasn’t until he walked into a “hole-in-the-wall type” barbecue eatery that he realised its potential. He said that a lady brought out the food and used a “battered Android phone” along with Square to conduct a card payment.
“She was running her business from her mobile phone… and in some way, this was actually formalising her business.”
What did we learn from Maphai? Here are 12 takeaways from the Yoco co-founder.