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Prefix Technologies: Josh Adler & Sam Hutchinson

Two entrepreneurs build a product that is set to revolutionise the magazine publishing industry.

Juliet Pitman



Josh Adler & Sam Hutchinson of Prefix Technologies

When asked recently to highlight keyfactors in the ongoing success of Facebook, co-founder Chris Hughes, replied,“I think the basic idea of providing something that didn’t exist was a good onebut it’s more than that. I believe that the reason Facebook is where it istoday is due to a resolute focus on the product. We focused on buildingsomething that people would like using, would want to use, would find relevantand would keep them coming back every day.”

In other words, build it and they willcome. A simple, yet effective approach that Josh Adler and Sam Hutchinson ofPrefix Technologies have employed in developing Preditor, their unique contentmanagement platform for the magazine publishing industry. “It took us a whileto refine our focus but once we got going we kept our eye on developingsomething that would truly enable publishers to manage and monetise theircontent through a totally seamless publishing experience,” says Adler, chiefexecutive. “We wanted to build a software offering that would allow journalistsand editors to get back to doing what they do best, which is creating greatcontent,” adds Hutchinson, who acts as the company’s chief architect.


The result is a revolutionary frameworkthat not only manages content for multiple publications, but also for print,mobile and web formats, affording publishers more opportunities to create manyrevenue streams off a single article. Adler explains: “An article gets writtenonce and then can appear instantly on multiple web and mobile sites as well asgo into print editions.  So publisherscan sell more advertising around the same piece of content to distinctaudiences. “We benchmark ourselves against our customers’ ability to increaseadvertising revenues and reduce production time.” With simple interfaces, Preditor putscontent control back in the hands of editors while inviting the participationof readers. “Editors can collect and arrange content to create an immersive,media-rich reader experience online or on a phone. To produce the customer’sprint magazines, Preditor speaks intelligently to design programmes like AdobeInDesign,” he continues.

Drawingon experience

The fact that Preditor has been takenup by the largest publishing houses in the country is testament to how well thePrefix team has anticipated and responded to the needs of the industry. This nodoubt has much to do with the fact that Adler and Hutchinson have first-handpublishing experience. While still at university they started PC Music which,now known as Music Industry Online (MIO), is South Africa’s busiest local musicindustry site. “Along the way we realised that we werebetter at creating content management tools than we were at publishing, so wecombined this with a love of the publishing industry and Preditor was born,”says Hutchinson.

Refiningtheir focus

But while he and Adler today head up ateam 17 strong and boast a product that’s unique in South Africa and has few rivalsworldwide, the road hasn’t always been smooth. “We started the company freshout of university and for a long time we were good at a lot of things, butexperts at nothing. We became lost, doing a whole host of things for clientsthat we frankly, didn’t really enjoy,” says Hutchinson. It was while applying to becomeEndeavor entrepreneurs in 2005 that the partners realised how important it wasto refine their focus. “One of the panelists who interviewed us for Endeavortold us we were nothing more than smart opportunists. We knew at the time thatwe were all over the place, but we really needed that feedback to force us toact on that knowledge,” says Hutchinson.

The company culled products that didn’tfit into its publishing focus, a tough task according to Adler. “We had to letclients go and we felt like we were letting people down. As a result of thosedecisions we had a year of no growth, whereas before we’d grown substantiallyevery year,” he relates. In the end, though, the move paid off.The company’s growth doubled in 2008 and is set to do the same in 2009. PrefixTechnologies reapplied and were chosen to be Endeavor entrepreneurs by aninternational selection panel earlier this year. “A more refined focus has alsohad a positive impact on our team – we’re all much happier because we’re doingwhat we love,” Adler

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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