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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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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton

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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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