Connect with us

Snapshots

Cape Venture Partners: Geoff Hainebach, Tony Mallam, David Murray & Andrea Böhmert

A team passionate about helping entrepreneurs succeed provides a much-needed service to technology SMBs.

Juliet Pitman

Published

on

Geoff Hainebach, Tony Mallam, David Murray & Andrea Böhmert of Cape Venture Partners

This much we know: South African entrepreneurs have their work cut out for them. The chances of their businesses failing within the first three years are between 70% and 80%. Unless they were fortunate enough to be among a small minority who has tertiary education in business science, they lack almost all the critical skills and knowledge required to establish, run and grow a successful enterprise. But perhaps their two biggest challenges remain ever-elusive seed capital and a lack of objective, professional, practical business advice.

This is the gap that has provided Cape Venture Partners (CVP) with a market. The company offers two critical services to high potential technology entrepreneurs: a contact base of potential international and local investors (including private equity funds, venture capital funds, angel investors and a range of institutions), and hands-on business advice and mentorship that accelerates the development of SMBs.

The company’s four partners – Geoff Hainebach, Tony Mallam, David Murray and Andrea Böhmert – have combined a wealth of experience in business with a specific focus in the technology field. Murray tells the story of how the business started: “Geoff was chairman of the Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town and Andrea, who is now a board member as well as the chair of CITI (Cape IT Initiative), was involved in interviewing all the entrepreneurs in the Bandwidth Barn to try and determine why, with such great technology concepts, they still weren’t managing to be successful.”

The answers they found were enlightening, to say the least. Murray elaborates: “Most technology entrepreneurs spend their time developing high-potential technology solutions. But as we all know, it takes more than a great product to make a successful business. And what we learned was that so many of them simply don’t know how to run a business – they know next to nothing about finances, accounting, marketing, sales, client service and there is nowhere they can turn for advice and input on these things. Even if they do manage to grow, they don’t know how to put structures in place to manage this growth.”

Banks are notoriously risk-averse when it comes to funding most SMBs, but particularly those in the IT space. “Add to this the fact that there are very few investors that offer early-stage seed capital and you can understand why it’s so difficult for these entrepreneurs to get their hands on the kind of money they need to set up and grow,” he says. However, Murray adds that while entrepreneurs’ complaints about the difficulties of accessing funding are a reflection of reality, their lack of understanding about what investors require doesn’t make the process any easier. “Because they don’t know what investors’ requirements are, they are totally unprepared to meet their requirements,” he explains.

The proof of Cape Venture Partners’ success lies in the track record of its clients. “Clickatell is one of our biggest success stories. Tony was the company’s first angel investor. It was started by Pieter de Villiers out of his dining room and today is one of the dominant bulk sms firms in the world,” says Murray. BizCommunity is another case in point. “We’ve been working with them for the past two-and-a-half years and in the last 12 months alone they have quadrupled their turnover,” he adds. The company has also been involved in training and mentoring historically disadvantaged SMBs which are participating in the Bandwidth Barn’s VeloCITI programme. “We’ve been showing them the basic ropes of business and some of them are really starting to take off. It’s very exciting to watch,” he says.

Looking back, Murray reflects on the challenges CPV experienced as a start-up itself. “Sourcing funding for early stage technology entrepreneurs was much harder than we thought it would be. Venture capital firms are more interested in later stage investment and South Africa has no formal angel investor network,” he relates. The company is currently in the process of raising its own early stage venture capital fund and Murray anticipates announcements on this in the near future. The news will no doubt be welcomed among the IT SMB community. But then, any growth in this business can only be good news for South African entrepreneurs.

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Sean Venter

    Oct 18, 2012 at 20:40

    I tried to email them but the email doesn’t work. What other contact details are there for them

  2. Sean Venter

    Oct 18, 2012 at 20:40

    I tried to email them but the email doesn’t work. What other contact details are there for them

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Snapshots

Alan Knott-Craig On Learning To Overcome Your Fears And Building Successful Businesses

After Alan Knott-Craig ran some of South Africa’s well known companies like Cellfind, iBurst and Mxit, he’s on a mission to broaden South Africa’s wireless internet network with HeroTel.

CEOwise

Published

on

By

ceowise-entrepreneur-magazine-thumbnail-design-alan-knott-craig

We interview entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig, who after running well known South African companies like Cellfind, iBurst and Mxit founded HeroTel, which is a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) and his strategy is to buy up smaller WISP companies to create a broader network.

Continue Reading

Snapshots

Ian Fuhr Explains Why He Likes To Launch Businesses In Unfamiliar Industries And How He Made Sorbet A Success

Ian Fuhr, a serial entrepreneur is not scared of opening businesses in industries he knows nothing about.

CEOwise

Published

on

By

ceowise-entrepreneur-magazine-thumbnail-designs-ian-fuhr

We interview entrepreneur Ian Fuhr, who founded the Sorbet Group in 2005 which has now grown to over 200 stores in South Africa with stores in the UK. Ian is a serial entrepreneur who has launched many successful companies in industries he knew very little about.

Continue Reading

Snapshots

How Pepe Marais Went From Bankruptcy To Founding Joe Public And Becoming An Entrepreneurial Success

After being bankrupt in 2009 Pepe, along with his partners, turned their business around to being one of the best advertising agencies in South Africa.

CEOwise

Published

on

By

ceowise-entrepreneur-magazine-thumbnail-design-pepe-marais

We interview entrepreneur Pepe Marais, who co-founded Joe Public, one of the biggest independently owned advertising agencies in South Africa. After being bankrupt in 2009 Pepe found his life’s purpose and not only turned his business around, but his entire life. It’s all documented in his booked titled Growing Greatness, which is a must read.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending