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Cura Software Solutions: Avi Eyal

South African governance, risk and compliance business is acquired for $19 million by Indian software solutions provider.

Juliet Pitman

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Avin Eyal of Cura Software

When Avi Eyal co-founded Cura Software Solutions, he had a small round of seed funding, some unique IP and a vision to grow a global business in a short period of time. Today he’s in the enviable position of having achieved his goal.

Cura is recognised as a global  leader in governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) and in the seven years since its inception has grown to employ 100 staff members in four countries, with distributors in a further ten countries. For the past four years Cura has posted a compound annual revenue growth rate of 80%, with profits after tax exceeding 20%.For most entrepreneurs, that would be enough – but then Eyal is not most entrepreneurs. He had his sights set on bigger things, better products and a more established international footprint,as well as a global client base.

Taking it forward

“In the global market, which is where the majority of our business comes from, we were playing against established competitors who’d had the benefit of millions of dollars in funding. To remain a leader and really grow the business substantially, we needed to invest considerably in research and development,” he says.

That left the company with three options: raise venture capital funding, ask shareholders to invest more money in Cura or look to be acquired. In the end, they went for the third option,selling 100% of the company to Indian software solutions provider Soft Pro.“It was a fantastic deal for us. At a time of economic uncertainty we sold a business in which we had invested $600 000 over four years, for $19 million,”says Eyal.

Making the grade

When asked what he thinks attracted SoftPro to Cura, Eyal answers, “We’d been independently rated among the top five global GRC companies and SoftPro saw how we’d used our capital efficiently in the past. I think they felt assured that we had sound management and shared common principles.

At the same time our business was also sufficiently small and entrepreneurial for them to get involved and make a difference.” David Frankel, Cura company chairman, also indicates that the strategic fit was ideal for a match and in line with shareholders’ interests.

Shifting gear

For many, the sale of a company would signal the end of an era but Eyal sees it as the beginning of the next growth phase. He will continue to run Cura, which has retained its brand. “Although I now report to a different board, I am still able to pursue our initial vision,which is to be the smarter GRC provider.

What this sale means is that we now have the capital and skills required to get on with achieving our vision by investing in R&D and executing go to market strategies,” he explains. SoftPro has already allocated $5 million to growing the R&D team and India is the place to do it. “South Africa has a dire shortage of top IT talent and even if we’d received the funding from elsewhere we would still have had to expand our R&D in an offshore location.

We were finding it increasingly difficult to locate talented skills in the local market, whereas India has a wealth of skills and expertise in this area. Our connection with SoftPro allows us to attract the people we need,” says Eyal.

New opportunities

With a GDP that’s among the fastest growing in the world, the Indian market is also ripe for Cura’s GRC solutions.“I would estimate that India is where South Africa was in 2004 when it comes to GRC, so it’s a market that we can definitely grow,” Eyal adds.

SoftPro will aggressively market Cura’s products in India and will fund the business’s growth, bolting on additional acquisitions in future. “Its intention is for Cura to grow into a company with revenues of  $150 million by 2014. It’s a tall order and our most immediate need is to find the right people. We’re recruiting heavily at the moment,but once the right team’s in place, everything else will follow,” says Eyal. Is he even just a little intimidated by what lies before him? “Nah,” he replies,“it’s a great challenge and we’re up for it.”

Cura Software Solutions

Player: Avi Eyal

Est: 2002

Contact: +27 11 483 7640

www.curasoftware.com

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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