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Fraxion: Stanton Jandrell & Mark Du Plessis

New software component offers business owners greater financial control

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Stanton Jandrell of Fraxion

Spend management. Just reading those words should get confirmation in your mind of the necessity for such a system in any business. However, the truth of the matter is that this may be one of the first times you have encountered the concept as such. Indeed it is such a rarity that Stanton Jandrell and Mark du Plessis, founders of software company Fraxion, often face as their biggest challenge educating their potential customers on the concept and how it adds value to corporations. But add value is does, as the pair have built a viable and thriving software business around spend management. Says Jandrell: “There is a component missing from most enterprise resource planning systems – that component is spend management.”

So just what is spend management? In a nutshell, it covers all spending activities that have a financial impact on the organisation, giving them the ability to gain control of and eliminate unnecessary spend. It’s a concept which pushes all the hot buttons of fiscal discipline, good corporate governance and sound financial management. Like many really good ideas, it makes such sense that one can only wonder why spend management such as that provided by Fraxion, is such a niche market. Easygoing and affable, Jandrell cut his technology teeth in the networking industry, before moving into CRM software. Those who know the technology industry will appreciate that networking is a world apart from software; Jandrell admits that making the change was: “Quite a challenge. Networking equipment is hardware – a company either needs it or it doesn’t. Software on the other hand, is sold on a ‘perceived benefit’, so taking it to market is a little different.”

That experience no doubt stood Jandrell in good stead; while working for the CRM company, he and du Plessis bought the incomplete spend management product from that organisation and, as he puts it, took a great idea and went to work making it into something that people would buy. Thus was born Fraxion. Taking spend management to market was difficult in that it is not a commonly understood concept. “It’s not like selling a physical product; first you have to establish a context,” says Jandrell. “Generally, people believe an accounts system does spend management; the reality is that it does not. Hence it is an educational process, but through an alliance with one of the big accounting firms and alignment with professional bodies such as the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants, we are getting over this hurdle more frequently.” “When we started, we hadn’t made a cent and had 15 developers working on a product which was close to completion but not yet ready to go to market. Funding came from securing our first customer; we also managed to secure funding from the Department of Trade and Industry which recognised our solution as a viable industrial innovation,” says Jandrell.

Like many other entrepreneurs, their own resources were also drawn upon heavily. “We had some resources from our previous employments, such as share options. We also tapped into our mortgages. There was a lot of faith in what we were doing, and maybe a touch of stupidity, but there was a definite vision of where the company should be,” Jandrell relates. As the company steadily grew, so did demands on cashflow. Fraxion soon reached the point where it needed further investment to fuel its growth. “Knowing this was an eventuality, we developed relationships with private equity companies, but without asking them for money. Of course, those relationships changed when we did ask for money, but with a good story to tell we had Venfin buy into the company by taking a 30% stake,” says Jandrell. He believes success is a result of a great concept backed by people who are qualified and experienced for the roles they perform within the organisation. “Recognise your strengths and weaknesses, and employ or partner with people who have complementary abilities. In our case, there are four core areas – sales and marketing [Jandrell’s focus], research and development [du Plessis’ metier], professional services and financial management. We have the right people in these areas which we believe positions us very well to handle the challenges of business and continuing to grow.”

Contact: +27 21 683 5310; www.spendmanagement.com

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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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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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