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‘Computicket’s acquisition of Pretoria startup an opportunity to learn more’

Computicket’s acquisition of local company Entry Ninja is an opportunity to take on new technology and to learn more, says the Pretoria startup’s co-founder Frans Jooste.

“It’s a lot of fun to see your product blowing up,” Jooste, 29, told Ventureburn today on Computicket’s purchase of the online sporting events portal. “It’s like seeing your baby growing up.”

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Computicket on Saturday announced that it has acquired the startup for an undisclosed sum. Neither Jooste or Shoprite Holdings, which owns Computicket, would disclose the amount of the deal.

‘It’s a lot of fun to see your product blowing up’

Jooste said the startup was approached in May last year by the ticketing company, which was looking at expanding into sporting events.

“They (Computicket) took a look at our product and said they liked what they saw,” he added.

He said the idea is to integrate Entry Ninja into Computicket’s online portal and its 1000 ticketing outlets.

While Computicket has said it wanted five founders to remain in the company, Jooste said he and his partners were still “smoothing out” the details around their involvement going forward.

“From our side we just want to continue growing emotionally, mentally and financially,” he added.

Since starting out two and a half years ago, Entry Ninja has handled booking for about 460 events, mainly obstacle course and road running races like the Joburg 10k Cityrun and FNB Cape Town 12 Onerun.

Jooste said Entry Ninja has its roots in a timing company started six years ago when his cousin — co-founder Francois Jooste, 28 — and his father were organising local sports events and battled to find a good company to handle the timing.

It’s then that the approached Frans, who was studying software development at the University of Pretoria at the time. He was joined by then fellow students Phillip Buys, 28 and Jaco van der Berg, 27.

They then joined up with the founders of a local GPS timing company, before they split in 2014. The four along with George Boot, 25, formed Entry Ninja. which was registered the following year.

While things began slowly, Buys helped the startup to secure the Toyota Warrior obstacle course race involving 10 000 weekend participants. “That’s when things boomed,” said Jooste.

From their initial focus on timing, the five turned to focus more on events booking which Jooste describes as more scalable than timing, which relies on timekeepers on the ground to expand. Despite this, the company timed 152 events last year, with timings captured using electronic tags.

‘Don’t just try to build everything from day one — pick three things and try to master them’

His advice to other entrepreneurs is to focus on one’s core business and ensure one has tested one’s idea thoroughly before adding any more products or services.

“Don’t just try to build everything from day one — try to pick three things and try to master them,” he pointed out.

Shoprite Holdings Deputy Chief Operating Officer Joseph Bronn said in a press release that the company had been actively looking to extend into event registration to better service its customers.

“Entry Ninja’s service extends to different types of sporting events, plus it makes allowance for team entries and even offers event organisers a timing facility. “It really is a one-stop solution,” said Bronn.

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