Entrepreneurs looking to sell their tech solutions to corporates can register to join a recently launched online platform.
Launched last week by BCX, a Telkom owned company, SpliceWorks aims to become a match-making service between tech entrepreneurs and big business and claims it can “turn your big idea into a big business”.
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While it is open to any tech entrepreneur to join, BCX has selected 70 tech entrepreneurs to trial the platform which has been in testing since April.
“SpliceWorks was specifically created to source the latest and greatest digital technology to not only transform the Telkom Group and BCX but also our enterprise customers into digitally fit businesses,” SpliceWorks CEO and founder Floris Buys (pictured) told Ventureburn.
The platform has so far facilitated two deals within the Telkom Group — for a fintech and an agritech startup. However Buys did not want divulge more details of the deals.
SpliceWorks seeks to make the process through which corporates and startups engage more efficient
Buys said following their registration on the platform, business development partners would help match entrepreneurs with corporates. In addition, enterprises can also approach the platform with specific needs, requirements and opportunities and the SpliceWorks will match them with the right solution.
He said SpliceWorks is funded by BCX which is also providing business development support. He however declined to disclose how much BCX had invested in the platform.
SpliceWorks will generate revenue by charging a commission for commercial deals it facilitates for entrepreneurs. At the time of writing, the SpliceWorks website had it pegged at five percent.
“Where possible, SpliceWorks will negotiate this commission with the customer or investor and not the entrepreneur,” said Buys.
‘Biggest missing link’
The former head of digital business at Telkom Group said the idea behind the platform came after he witnessed how difficult it was for corporates to engage with startups and gain access to their tech.
He then started to think of ways to make the process more efficient for both startups and big business, culminating in him and his team developing the SpliceWorks platform in February.
Buys believes access to markets is the biggest missing link in the South African innovation ecosystem.
“It is very difficult for entrepreneurs to reach the right audience and to quickly scale their businesses in line with the fast-paced technology industry. It is also challenging for private and public enterprises to buy from startups due to corporate procurement processes,” said Buys.
“Enterprises are bombarded with pitches and have no idea whether the startup pitching to them can actually deliver on the promises and whether it is the best solution for them.”
Buys says SpliceWorks has a growing network of ten partners comprised of venture capital firms, incubators, software houses and incubators that will provide funding and business development support services.
“Entrepreneurs will be introduced to these partners via the platform based on where they are in their lifecycle stage,” he said.
In addition to access to markets, entrepreneurs who join the platform also stand to gain from deal flow within the Telkom Group as well as the Telkom and BCX customer base.
The platform also works with Telkom’s FutureMakers programme around enterprise development.
How it works
Although the platform is still in the beta stage, startups can currently register and request an invitation. “It can be as quick as 10 minutes to join and build a basic profile. A 100% completed profile could take some time depending on where the startup is on their journey,” said Buys.
The registration process requires that startups answer some mandatory questions on the entrepreneur, their businesses and solutions they develop. However parts of the process are optional.
“The more information the startup provides the better the chance that we will be able to match them to opportunities,” said Buys.
Once registered, startups are sorted into one of five categories, depending on the stage at where their business is. Those rated at Stage 4 startups qualify for SpliceWorks Certification. To get the accreditation, the startups go through a skill, legal, technology and financial audit.
“The SpliceWorks Certification is the accreditation that tells our network of investors and customers that we believe the business is ready to scale. It means SpliceWorks will officially vouch for your solution,” said Buys.
He said the certification will open doors for future growth. “Once certified, the business will receive Telkom and BCX’s backing to plug into the supply chain.”
Buys said BCX plans to later this year launch a second version of the platform which will allow businesses seeking new tech partnerships to register on the platform. He said BCX is also considering taking the platform to a global audience, beyond South Africa’s borders.
Featured image: Spliceworks CEO and founder Floris Buys (Supplied)