Former Dimension Data execs invest in digital ID solutions company Contactable


Pretoria based secure identity solutions company Contactable has landed investment from former Dimension Data executives Allan Cawood and Scott Gibson.

Cawood’s investment was made via his private equity company, Mast Capital, while Gibson’s was made in his personal capacity, Gibson (pictured above, with Contactable founder Shaun Strydom) confirmed to Ventureburn today.

Contactable, which was founded in 2009 by Shaun Strydom, has a cloud-based platform that assists corporates with the safe and secure handling of the digital identity of their clients, particularly when it comes to the onboarding of customers.

Former Dimension Data execs Allan Cawood and Scott Gibson have invested an undisclosed amount in Contactable

SA tech publication TechCentral reported in an article on Monday (16 March) that Cawood and Gibson had been appointed to the Contactable board, and that Gibson had taken up the role of chief commercial officer.

It said the size of the stake and the value of their investment has not been disclosed.

Cawood served as CEO of Dimension Data’s Middle East and Africa business between 1998 and 2012. Since then he has been involved in the private equity sector to help startups.

Gibson was CEO of Didata subsidiary Britehouse from 2007 to 2015. He then served as head of the group’s global digital practice. He left Didata in July last year and is an angel investor in a number of startups.

‘Close to 30 corporate clients’

Speaking to Ventureburn today, Gibson said the company now serves or is close to serving, about 30 corporates in South Africa.

These include Vodacom and MTN, as well as companies in the financial services, retail, property, insurance and automotive sectors.

Contactable assisted Vodacom with the Rica process that cellular network operators must follow, and has helped automotive retailers with a KYC (know your customer) solution, said Gibson.

It also assisted MTN in fulfilling the digital identity of its mobile money solution which was launched last month, he said.

In addition, TechCentral reported that Contactables also the identity and KYC platform behind a new digital bank to be launched in the US later this year.

Pivot to B2B offering

While TechCentral reported that the company was founded in 2017, the company’s LinkedIn page has it as 2009. Strydom’s LinkedIn profile has the date the company was founded as 2013.

Gibson said the company initially started in 2010, but that it initially had a consumer app which offered a kind of digital business card.

He said Strydom later pivoted the business in about 2013 to working with enterprises providing assistance to them in onboarding customers and following KYC and other requirements around the storage and handling of information.

It was during this time that the company received funding from the Department of Science and Technology’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). Scott did not reveal how much this was.

The company took on its first corporate customer in about 2015, he said, with things beginning to take off in about 2017. Today the company has partners in the US, Australia and in Asia.

‘I’ve invested in four startups’

Gibson said Contactable was the fourth company that he’d invested in as an angel investor, since last year. He said he got to know Strydom when he was CEO of Britehouse and the company was involved in some software development work for Contactable.

“It’s a bit of a huge leap going from a 3000 to 30 people organisation, but I’m having fun,” said Gibson, who said he returned to full-time work after a break of four years travelling the world.

In August last year he said he invested in Lumin, an Australian startup that has developed a performance dashboard for athletes.

More recently, in November last year he invested in a black-owned tech startup in the Eastern Cape, while in January he invested in a Johannesburg based tech startup. He declined to reveal any details of who the companies are.

So, what about the coronavirus?

“Everyone is working from home until after Easter. We’ll make the call on what to do then,” said Gibson.

He agreed that in a world of “no-touch”, digital identities will become increasing for customers and companies alike.

In this, Contactable might find it has an increasingly important role to play.

Read more: Digital identity in a ‘no-touch’ world [Opinion]

Featured image (from left to right): Contactable chief commercial officer Scott Gibson and the company’s founder Shaun Strydom at the recent MTN mobile money launch (Supplied)



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