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Cibecs: Richard Dewing

Five-year-old start-up corners the enterprise data back-up and recovery market and sets its sights on the really big league.

Juliet Pitman

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Richard Dewing

There are growth curves and then there is the vertigo-inducing rise and rise of Cibecs. Started just five years ago as a partnership between Dewing Holdings, represented by brothers Richard and Neal Dewing, and CICA Holdings, represented by Ilze Pieterse, the venture has grown to dominate the business computer back-up industry, signing on clients like the South African National Prosecuting Authority, Unisys, Dimension Data, Business Connexion and GijimaAst. In 2008, it caught the attention of venture capitalists at Hasso Plattner who invested an undisclosed sum to take a minority shareholding, and in the first four months of 2010, it tripled its 2009 revenue figures. Not bad going for a company that was started in a lounge.

Simple ingenuity

Richard Dewing, a rare breed of IT geek with a talent for explaining things in layman’s terms, sums up the company’s core offering in a single sentence: “Cibecs software automates the data back-up and recovery for enterprises’ PCs and laptops.” You mean businesses aren’t already doing this, you ask. “Surprisingly no, they are not,” he answers, “Most businesses have a server back-up but even if they have a personal computer back-up policy, most employees simply don’t follow it. Then when their computer crashes or their laptop is stolen, they lose all their work and because it’s not backed up, it can’t be recovered. This represents enormous risk for the company and causes loss of both time and income,” he says. And it’s not just small companies that aren’t doing it; most large corporates don’t have systems in place to effectively and automatically manage this problem.

Solution-driven software

The beauty of the Cibecs system is that it addresses one of the very reasons why staff fail to perform personal back-ups in the first place. Dewing explains: “In order to back-up your PC or laptop you usually have to copy all your files across to the server. This is incredibly time-consuming – besides which, if all a company’s employees happened to perform this task at the same time, the system would usually crash under the strain.” Cibecs has been designed to only back up the very latest changes to a document. “Instead of copying the entire document across, the software updates the latest changes to the document which takes up far less time, and uses up far less space. The data is then compressed, and encrypted,” he adds. And because it’s automated, it happens without the need for personal intervention from each employee.

Adding new value

But while Cibecs might have been one of the first companies globally to develop and offer software of this nature, the market has since opened up and competition has increased. Nevertheless it’s retained its position as industry leader, partly because of the way it has evolved beyond its initial back-up software offering. “We have a very strong focus on helping businesses to improve their operational efficiencies,” says Dewing, illustrating a fine understanding of the importance of changing clients’ perceptions of back-up software from a ‘grudge purchase’ to something that can help them save time and money. “Cibecs means far more than ‘insurance in the event of a crash or theft’. Because of the way the system has been designed, it doesn’t take an entire day to recover lost data or rebuild data on an employee’s new machine – it takes minutes. This means clients save time, frustration and money,” he adds.

All eyes on expansion

Looking to the future, Cibecs has its sights set on some big strategic partnerships, the first of which it signed with GijimaAst in 2009 to the tune of more than R250 million. “This deal sees GijimaAst offering all of its customers the Cibecs solution,” says Dewing, adding that partnerships of this nature represent a much quicker and more effective route to market for the company. “For companies like GijimaAst, whose core business is managed IT services, it provides the opportunity to really differentiate in a market that is becoming increasingly commoditised,” he says. Dewing and his team are also hard at work expanding their international operation with the planned establishment of three offshore branches (the company already has clients in the Middle East, United States, Europe and Canada).
In spite of all this success, however, Dewing remains grounded. “People look at where we are today and they don’t realise the hard work it took to get here and the many mistakes and difficult lessons we had to learn along the way,” he says. The most important of these? “Surround yourself with great people but never make the mistake of thinking you can hand the big things over to someone else, and expect them to do it with the same passion that you have. Being an entrepreneur is all about being hands-on.”

Company: Cibecs
Player: Richard Dewing
Est 2004
Contact: +27 11 791 0073
www.cibecs.co.za

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton

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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.

CEOwise

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Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect

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Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.

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“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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