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Local Start-Up Gets Pay Back

Three tech entrepreneurs find success in a pay-to-tweet business that’s rapidly evolving. Luyanda Jafta explains how.

Juliet Pitman




How does Paybook work?

Paybook is a conversational marketing company that allows advertisers the opportunity to interact with their market by utilising social media.

Simply put, its a pay-to-tweet platform where we pay 3c a follower to our subscribers for tweeting about our clients’ brands. We focus primarily on the teenage and young adult market, which are very active on social media and, more importantly, determine what is ‘cool’.

This market views traditional advertising as annoying spam and Paybook developed out of a need we identified to help advertisers regain traction in this market.

Where did the idea come from?

It grew out of an initial business idea I had when I was at university and I started wondering if it would work if you paid people to endorse brands.

What didn’t come easily?

We needed to work out what a tweet should be worth. That was tough because there is no agreed upon model in the market. Then we had to educate the market about why that pricing structure made sense.

How has it evolved?

Building on the pay-to-tweet model, we’ve developed a number of other platforms including Life Jingle, which connects musicians with brands to develop jingles; Paybook BlogLog that connects bloggers and advertisers; Pic cha Pay which is a photo branding platform; and Paybook Evo, a gaming platform that encourages users to find out more about brands in return for prizes.

Was there ever an instance where you had to change tack because something wasn’t working?

We realised that we had a great value proposition for subscribers (the people we pay to endorse brands) but that we needed to strengthen our offering to clients. This is why we came up with the different product platforms mentioned earlier.

What were the key challenges you faced?

Initially we thought our biggest hurdle was lack of funding. But we quickly realised that it’s possible to think your way out of a business crisis if you just use a bit of creativity. Having access to the capital you need can actually be a bad thing for a start-up because it constrains your ability to problem-solve.

What advice would you give other start-ups?

I’d tell black entrepreneurs to stop relying on BEE. Rely on yourself and your ability to forge relationships with people. Rely on having a good product. Relying on BEE just spoils good people who may otherwise be talented enough to be successful on their own.

Vital stats

  • Players: Mendy Nkosi, Zamo Tshabalala and Luyanda Jafta
  • Company: Paybook
  • Est: 2012
  • X-factor: Innovative platforms that offer subscribers cash in return for building and endorsing clients’ brands.
  • Contact:; +27 (0)11 025 8166

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Profiting from July Fever. Read the Story Here


Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.


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.






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




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.


“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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