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
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.
“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:
- I Am Emerge Provides An App For Township Spaza Bulk Purchasing
- Tuluntulu Offers High Quality Video Streaming On Low Data Speeds
- SSG Consulting Developed KEY360: A Cloud-Based And Web-Enabled Platform For Managing Large-Scale Construction Projects
- Pargo Solving Last-Mile Distribution Challenges
- HouseME Is A Digital Real Estate Platform
- Olympic Paints Has Developed A Built-In Paint Tray Causing An Unexpected Industry Shift
- Passion4Performance Developed A Recognition of Prior Learning Assessment Concept
- NewSpace Systems Delivers High Quality Components At Lower Costs
- My Online Presence Creates End-To-End Solutions For Online Brand Presence
- Skynamo Offering Insights To Sales Teams In The Field
- RecruitMyMom Creating A Platform For Job-Seeking Moms
- GAAP Provides A Hardware And Software Point-Of Sale And Enterprise Solution For The Hospitality Industry
- HeroTel Bringing Wi-Fi To Low Income Communities
- Saryx Engineering Offers Digitised Compliance and Safety For Companies
- BrightBlack Is An Energy Providing Innovative Solar Energy Solutions
- Howler Is An Event Technology Platform
- execMobile’s PocketWifi Keeps Business Travellers Connected
- Rhino Africa Provides Online Touring Assistance
- Snapplify Is Offering Students Access To Textbooks
- GoMetro A Commuter-Driven Mobile App
- Domestly Connecting Cleaning Professionals and Homeowners
- NMRQL Using AI To Deliver Consistent Returns
- Colony Live Connecting Users Across Multiple Platforms
- codeX Is Growing The Work Experience Of Coders In Africa
- This Is Me – Disrupting By Offering A Unique Business Model
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.
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.
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.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mergeconnect/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mergeconnect/
- Website: http://www.mergeconnect.co/
- Email: Hello@mergeconnect.co
- Number: 072 458 2182
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.
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.
“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.
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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