Manny Teixeira, Frank van den Berg and Ronald Henry are self-confessed techno-geeks and proud of it. With good reason.
Their passion for new technology, coupled with the desire to identify its practical applications in the local business market, meant that the three old school friends pioneered new territories in digital cinema technology.
Their company, Spectrum Visual Networks, was responsible for establishing the world’s first digital cinema advertising network on behalf of CineMark.
The overwhelming success of the pilot project led to the rollout of 61 digital cinemas countrywide and a host of awards, including first place in the Top Technology 100 in 2004.
With such a success, it’s perhaps not surprising that the company recorded a turnover of R15, 8 million at the close of the last financial year. This was achieved in just five short years, the first of which recorded a total loss. Teixeira, now MD of the company, remembers how it all began.
When tobacco advertising was banned in cinemas, few advertisers had enough money to produce the very expensive 35mm advertising material, leaving a big gap in the cinema income stream. The industry needed an alternative solution and Spectrum’s digital cinema advertising network provided it.
Though the pilot project was a resounding success, the company ran at a loss in its first year. However, the investment paid off with the awarding of a contract to roll out a further 30 screens nationwide. This presented its own challenges. “The biggest difficulty was how to finance the project,” says Teixeira.
With only a six-month track record of loss, banks refused to finance them. Undeterred, they drew on the relationship they had built with their primary supplier, who agreed to bankroll the project and give them the hardware they needed, against nine post-dated cheques.
“If it wasn’t for that supplier and that relationship, the entire thing would have fallen flat,” says Teixeira. That was five years ago and the rest is history. Some might argue that achieving once-off success in the right market conditions is easy, but that continuing to run a successful company is a different matter altogether, and they would be correct.
So what has Spectrum done right? The company is now made up of 25 people and Teixeira is quick to point out that its success today is owing to the creativity, passion and hard work of this group of people.
The company deliberately employs young graduates with no previous work experience and he believes this is one way to keep ideas fresh and relevant. “These are the people who are excited about technology and are using it,” he says.
The company’s key differentiator is also its ability to make that technology deliver real business value to clients. Teixeira explains that Spectrum has had to educate its clients about this aspect of technology, forcing them to look at the business reasons for having it.
Apart from mobilising digital media across a broad platform of applications, Spectrum’s services have been extended to include helping clients to plan and ultimately manage the content on the digital network they have invested in.
“This is why we think of our business as having two elements – we’re a service provider to clients, but we also develop our own technology to enable us to provide that service in the most cost-effective and efficient way,” he explains.
Changes in technology take place at lightning-fast speed but the Spectrum team remains at the cutting edge. With digital cinema still its primary area of focus, the company is capitalising on huge growth in the industry, as well as the increased demand for plasma screen technology solutions.
In addition, it is tapping the potential in video on demand (VOD) solutions, identifying a huge market in the hotel industry ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Spectrum’s solution will not only provide VOD systems for every room but internet access as well.
What really excites the trio at this point, however, is the enormous potential in IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) technology. “In the future consumers are going to have far greater choice over when, where and how they consume different types of media,” Teixeira says. “Spectrum Visual Networks wants to be at the forefront of that future.”
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
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.
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.
- Elisabeth Bradley
- Sharon Wapnick
- Bridgette Radebe
- Irene Charnley
- Wendy Ackerman
- Paul Harris
- Wendy Appelbaum
- Mark Shuttleworth
- Desmond Sacco
- Giovanni Ravazzotti
- Markus Jooste
- Gus Attridge
- Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
- Cyril Ramaphosa
- Adrian Gore
- Raymond Ackerman
- Michiel Le Roux
- Lauritz Dippenaar
- Jannie Mouton
- Stephen Saad
- Patrice Motsepe
- Allan Gray
- Koos Bekker
- Ivan Glasenberg
- Christoffel Wiese
- Johann Rupert
- Nicky Oppenheimer
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.
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:
- Joe Phalwane
- Nandi Dlepu
- Sonto Pooe
- Michel M. Katuta and Thabo Mphate
- Naledi Sibisi
- Reabetswe Ngwane
- Neo Lekgabo
- Vusani Ravele
- Lulo Rubushe
- Samke Mhlongo
- Sizwe Nzima
- Nicolas Bereng
- Lebo Mphela
- Monalisa Molefe
- Siya Kolisi
- Leah Molatseli
- Nhlanhla Dlamini
- Fhumulani Nemukula
- Itumeleng Mpatlanyana
- Nozipho Dube
- Sarinah Matema-Morgans
- Nneile Nkholise
- Mahadi Granier
- Shalton Mothwa
- Theo Mothoa-Frendo
- Bakani Ngulani
- Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube
- Sandra Mwiihangele
- Constance Mapule Bhebhe
- Ignatious Nkwinika, Mbulelo Mpofana, Shane Curran
- Karidas Tshintsholo
- Mutoda Mahamba and Gavin Waldeck
- Ntuthuko Shezi
- Botlhale Tshetlo
- Dineo Lioma, Loretta Magagula, Danisa Nkuna and Lindiwe Nkosi
- Neo Ratau
- Mpodumo Doubada
- Obakeng Moepya
- Ouma Tema
- Lucky Kgwadi
- Nyakallo Mokoena
- Sibongile Sambo
- Mogau Seshoene
- Sibongile Booi
- Khanya Mzongwana
- Nkazi Sokhulu and Tlalane Ntuli
- Nothando Moleketi
- Nthabiseng Ramaboa
- Lilian Muhammed
- Sunshine Shibambo
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