Endeavor welcomes Clickatell’s Pieter de Villiers, FlexClub’s Tinashe Ruzane into fold


Clickatell co-founder Pieter de Villiers and FlexClub co-founder Tinashe Ruzane are the latest SA entrepreneurs to have been selected as Endeavor entrepreneurs.

The two tech entrepreneurs were among 24 entrepreneurs leading 15 companies from 11 markets that were selected at Endeavor’s 92nd International Selection Panel held in Riviera Maya, Mexico from 11 to 13 December last year.

Clickatell was founded in 2000 by De Villiers, with Casper de Villiers, Danie Du Toit and Patrick Lawson.

The company provides a chat commerce platform that enables brands to connect, interact and transact with their customers the same way they do with friends and family through chat.

The company has evolved over the past 20 years to become a service provider for 15 000 customers, ranging from Fortune 500 organisations to well-known consumer brands and SMEs, and has connected hundreds of millions of mobile phone users worldwide.

Clickatell’s Pieter de Villiers and FlexClub’s Tinashe Ruzane are the 76th and 77th entrepreneurs selected to join Endeavor SA’s portfolio

This, while Joburg-based startup FlexClub which Ruzane founded in 2018 with Marlon Gallardo and Rudolf Vavruch, links investors and drivers to cars for ride-hailing services. In March last year the startup announced that it had landed a $1.2-million in investment in a round led by CRE Venture Capital (see this story).

Former Uber man once helped entrepreneurs

After several early entrepreneurial ventures followed by an MBA at Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Business School to provide a more formal perspective on business, Ruzane joined the Awethu Project, where he had the chance to directly support high potential entrepreneurs in SA communities.

Later, while leading the Vehicle Solutions for EMEA at Uber, Ruzane purchased two cars with his own money to lend out to Uber drivers and realised that Uber’s data could replace traditional data used to develop a credit score.

From this perspective, he saw that banks and leasing companies did not have the right approach to solve this problem, as 80% to 90% of ride-hailing vehicles came from the informal market.

In all, 4000 of Uber’s over 12 000 drivers in South Africa have signed up to the platform and FlexClub is now a preferred long-term rental partner in both South Africa and Mexico.

Through the FlexClub platform, investors can become the owners of ride-hailing and delivery vehicle fleets without requiring them to manage the fleets themselves.

Endeavor now helps over 2000 entrepreneurs

De Villiers’ and Ruzane’s selection follows a rigorous multi-step process that aims to identify high-impact entrepreneurs who demonstrate the potential to leverage the Endeavor’s resources and mentorship to create large-scale wealth and jobs.

The entrepreneurs will also be expected to commit to re-investing their time and money in their respective local entrepreneurship ecosystems to help others take off.

With the selection of these entrepreneurs, Endeavor now supports 2016 entrepreneurs (having screened 60 000 individuals) leading 1258 companies in over 35 growth markets around the world, according to a statement by the organisation last month.

These companies generate $20-billion in revenue and have created 3 million jobs, according to Endeavor.

Ruzane and De Villiers are the 76th and 77th entrepreneurs to be selected for Endeavor’s South Africa portfolio.

They join current entrepreneurs Skynamo (Sam Clarke), SweepSouth (Alen Ribic and Aisha Pandor), Ozow (Thomas Pays, Lyle Eckstein, and Mitchan Adams), Retail Engage (Retail Engage), Saryx Engineering Group (Ingrid Osborne, Julie Mathieson), ITSI (Jacobus Liebenberg), Pargo (Lars Veul and Derk Hoekert), Sancreed (Graham Rowe and Richard Johnson), GO1 (Melvyn Lubega and Andrew Barnes), Spark Schools (Stacey Brewer), ArcAqua (Crispin Russell), Hello Group (Nadir Khamissa and Shaazim Khamissa), Merchant Capital (Dov Girnun), Entersekt (Schalk Nolte and Dewald Nolte), Wyzetalk (Gysbert Kappers), GreatSoft (Bruce Morgan), BrandsEye (Jean-Pierre Kloppers and Craig Raw), The Training Room Online (Kirsty Chadwick), Masana Hygiene Services (Cynthia Mkhombo and Richard Mkhombo), IsoMetrix Software Solutions (Dennis Marketos and Paul Marketos), CallForce (Candice Roberts) and InnoVent (DJ Kumbula and Zakhe Khuzwayo).

Read more: SA startup FlexClub closes $1.2m round led by CRE Venture Capital [Updated]
Read more: Michael Jordaan joins Clickatell as chairman alongside two other big names
Read more: SA born Clickatell honoured at 2017 Messaging and SMS World conference

Featured image (left to right): Clickatell co-founder Pieter de Villiers and FlexClub co-founder Tinashe Ruzane (Supplied)



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