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Springleap: Eran Eyal & Eric Edelstein

Eran Eyal and Eric Edelstein have been slowly plugging away at perfecting the online social networking, crowd-sourcing and e-commerce web-based software platform used to run Springleap.com – and their efforts have finally paid off.

Juliet Pitman

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The pair have just closed a deal worthR4 million in second-round funding, not bad going in the depths of a financialrecession. Not bad going for any start-up actually, no matter what the economicclimate.

Eyal and Edelstein co-founded FashionEvolution, the holding company of Springleap, and invested their own funds asstart-up capital. Around seven months ago, the business caught the attention ofYDE founder Paul Simon, who invested a first round of funding along withintellectual capital. The start-up’s latest investment comes from Lord DuncanBarratt, MD of Agri-Best, for a 10% equity stake in Fashion Evolution. Theinvestment will allow Fashion Evolution to further develop, improve andultimately commercialise its web platform. “Essentially, we’ve usedSpringleap.com as a testing ground for our crowd-sourcing, social networkingand e-commerce software,” Eyal explains. Springleap.com is an interactivewebsite that has created an online community of people who love great designsand great t-shirts. Aspiring designers submit their t-shirt designs online andthe community votes for their favourite one, which is then printed as a limitedrun. These are sold online, a model that has allowed Springleap to be monetisedfrom day one.Having perfected the model through Springleap, the company is nowready to take it to market. Edelstein explains how large commercialorganisations might
use it.

“Imagine a big brewing company wantingto create a new name for a beer. Using our web-based platform it can have afully functioning 100% crowd-sourcing, social network website within a coupleof weeks, and with our unique methodology it can also have a community ofpeople wanting to get involved. People who think creatively will conceptualisenew names and the general community will interact with the brand on multiplelevels, voting for the various beer names and commenting on and discussingideas about the brand.” It’s a compelling proposition and onein which Barrett saw immense possibility. “The business model shows incrediblepotential to quickly become another success story along the lines of Facebook,Twitter and Ning. “I was amazed at the innovation andpotential represented by the platform that the founders are creating. Theopportunity to invest in cutting-edge technology and development with such areputable team was an easy decision,” he said. 

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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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Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

Live free of the opinion of other, but always in service, is one of the key principles Pat Pillai lives by.

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Pat Pillai, is a social entrepreneur who after being a national news anchor for 15 years, is founder and CEO of LifeCo UnLtd SA, which invests in impact entrepreneurs and impact enterprises. LifeCo UnLtd SA has benefited over 112 000 beneficiaries in SA (5000 are young entrepreneurs; 124 are established adult entrepreneurs, of those 76 are impact/social entrepreneurs).

Related: Mike Sharman Talks About Retroviral’s Successful Campaigns And The Importance Of Social Media In Marketing

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