Meet the Entrepreneurs
Geekulcha November 2013
Connecting young mobile developers to their future Mixo Ngoveni, Founder, South Africa
CHALLENGE South Africa suffers from a lack of channels connecting its IT students with the industry. Young, talented, and creative developers often have a hard time finding areas in which to develop their careers, especially when they come from township backgrounds. In parallel, the industry does not know how to reach out and connect to the grassroots community.
“SCHOOL IS A GREAT PLACE TO LEARN ABOUT THE IT WORLD, BUT AT GEEKULCHA, WE BELIEVE THAT YOU NEED TO PUT WHAT YOU LEARNED TO WORK.”
CONTACT INFORMATION Pretoria, South Africa
+27 128440239, +27 743730639
BUSINESS MODEL Geekulcha’s platform is both a source of updated IT and mobile industry information and a market place where demand for work will be met with a supply of young talents. Young developers will find jobs, resources, and ideas. IT and mobile sector companies and professionals will find a pool of untapped talent to create new value. Revenues come from four types of activities: (i) providing a media space for advertising; (ii) app development by pooling developers for different projects; (iii) event organization that leverages Geekulcha’s network; and (iv) recruitment brokerage between companies and individual developers (still under exploration).
IDEA The idea originated in 2010 during the Microsoft Imagine Cup in South Africa that brought together participants from all over the country. Mixo Ngoveni, founder of Geekulcha, realized that several of his fellow students had a strong handicap as they had no contact with the industry. He then created a Facebook group providing information on the industry and events, connecting students and developers to create a network of peers, which later became Geekulcha (Geek + Culture). The company was registered in March 2013 and launched its website in October 2013.
“OUR AIM IS TO CREATE A CULTURE OF INNOVATION, CREATIVITY, DEVELOPMENT, AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP AMONGST OUR FELLOW YOUTH.”
WORKING WITH mLab SOUTHERN AFRICA
Attract investors • MAKE A PLAN AND FOCUS: Don’t try to do everything at once. You lose a lot of energy and you don’t make any progress in your work. • PLACE REALISTIC DEADLINES: Plan realistic dates and the resources you need. • UNDERSTAND THE BUSINESS AND ITS ENVIRONMENT: learn about structuring ideas, how startups work, how the industry works, and how to pitch ideas.
Extend the network across South Africa Create sub-communities by specialization Make a cross-platform app Expand to other IT fields
• THE mLab PROVIDED GEEKULCHA WITH VALUABLE SUPPORT, from a simple laptop, office space, and access to the Internet to banner and business card design. • THE mLab PROVIDED THE STARTUP WITH LOGO AND BRANDING EXPERTISE and gave the company access to a wide array of contacts in the IT and mobile community, which has given Geekulcha the possibility of contacting and learning from peers. • THE mLab PROVIDED A MAJOR CREDIBILITY GAIN because “when you mention mLab, people have trust in you.”
KEY OUTCOMES VALUE FOR USERS Putting skills to work: Geekulcha is helping young IT and mobile developers to find jobs in the industry. As of October 2013, 32 students had found a job within the industry through the platform. Complementing Education: Students gain exposure in the environment through events and networks: “It is not just about studying, passing, then hoping to get a job. You need to constantly polish your skills.” An opportunity to shine: It provides students and young developers with a platform to showcase their work. Learning about success: Through a large network of developers, young developers establish peer-mentoring relationships and workshops with industry leaders. Users reached: Since the website was launched in October 2013, 2,630 people have been reached through Facebook and 1,055 through Twitter. Geekulcha’s YouTube videos were viewed 1,894 times.