MORGAN BARNARD: Welcome to the Moneyweb podcast. I’m Morgan Barnard and today we are continuing our talk with the South African entrepreneurs that the incubator initiative company Grindstone is going to be supporting in the following year.
With me today is co-founder of Electrum Payments, Dave Glass. Dave can you please tell us a bit about your company and how it all began?
DAVE GLASS: Electrum started about two years ago. We found that there was a real demand from corporate customers in South Africa who were looking for transaction processing solutions and integration. All the founders have a strong background in transaction processing solutions and we thought that we could add the value to the market.
MORGAN BARNARD: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs in South Africa?
DAVE GLASS: I think one is perhaps skills…is the big one. As a software development company we need talented developers and there is really not a huge pool available, so it would be fantastic if we could encourage young people to study maths and science and to become software developers. It’s a brilliant career and pays really well.
MORGAN BARNARD: So what are your plans on growing Electrum Payments?
DAVE GLASS: Look, we deal with a lot of companies who have an eye on sub-Saharan Africa, in fact Europe, Middle East and Africa in general and typically we think we’re going to be pulled along with our clients who are growing their footprint. So we grow organically and we continue to beef up ourselves. We’ve been very successful so far with a very good track record and we get along very well with our clients and I think that’s going to be our turnkey going forward.
MORGAN BARNARD: So we have recently seen that Ikubu, another one of Grindstone’s businesses has been sold to Garmin. What role do you see Grindstone playing in your business?
DAVE GLASS: Grindstone gives us quite a few different things. One is definitely they focus on our operations and they give us a lot of advice and inputs on how we can improve operationally. Certainly in terms of financing there are some initiatives we’d like to pursue which maybe might require some additional capital? And we hope that Grindstone will give us access to cheaper and well-priced capital that we can use and leverage to drive our business forward. So yes mainly cleaning up our start-up operations is one for sure, and really looking for leverage growth going forward.
MORGAN BARNARD: Where do you find good inspiration for your business ideas?
DAVE GLASS: We find good inspiration all around. Certainly a lot of our inspiration actually comes from our customers. We really do a lot of execution on behalf of our customers. They have some great ideas. We take what they need and we make sure that we deliver to them on time and on budget, good quality and really our customers are quite inspiring. Other than that there is a ton of interesting things happening in the transaction processing space with the likes of crypto currencies, like bitcoin and mobile banking and things like that, and we’ve seen quite a few novel things coming out. My main inspiration comes from the intersection of the novel consumer facing technologies and really some of the amazing things that are happening in child computing and civil computing these days, like that big yellow stuff and distribution transacting processing and exciting database, things that are happening as well.
MORGAN BARNARD: And lastly what is your number one tip for entrepreneurs?
DAVE GLASS: Sjoe, my number one tip for entrepreneurs is definitely don’t try and guess what your customers want. Ask them what they want and then do what they want. You’d be surprised how many people try and dream something up that actually nobody really needs.
MORGAN BARNARD: That was Dave Glass, co-founder of Electrum.