I have experience managing and executing operations, business development, and general strategy at an executive level in both corporates and startups within the publishing, media, and Fintech space. I was the General Manager at a technology news company, Sales Director of the online division at one of the biggest media companies in Africa, a founding partner at a boutique marketing agency that was acquired in 2016, and, most recently, was employee number one at a banking platform startup focused on the Swiss and European market.
I have represented businesses on various industry bodies in both media and finance, worked with regulators to understand bleeding-edge technologies, and have spoken at numerous conferences covering topics from marketing to the future of banking.
As Managing Director of Basalt, an award winning technical consultancy that works with financial institutions, I've learned to navigate beaurocracy. There is an art to getting things done in a highly regulated corporate environment, filled with many decision makers. Relationships are the be all and end all of business. Further, I have come to realise that this is true for everything. We're humans and we need each other to produce results. Otherwise, we would have been eaten by lions.
We have a diverse, highly engaged team that communicate on multiple levels. It's not impossible, it just takes effort and a little empathy.
As COO of BVNK, a modern banking platform provider, I gained experience developing and executing business strategy across territories. I oversaw day-to-day operations, marketing, communications, administration, business development, and sales. I worked closely with the CEO to deliver business and product strategy.
I also learned how not to sweat-panick in the night when things are not going my way. A critical lesson in general.
At the time, I secured a multi-million Rand contract with a prominent bank through a cold email. They are not a dead-end, provided you know who to send it to, what their challenges are, and how to frame it concisely. We launched in two markets, and focused on Switzerland primarily.
Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group
In South Africa, I was invited by the South African Reserve bank to be a member of the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group where I participate in workshops, along with other industry leaders, to discuss and debate issues in the Financial Industry.
- Digital assets: how to classify, regulate, and reduce risk in the market, including discussions about broader macroeconomic implications and systemic risk.
- Central bank digital currencies: discussions around the implications, benefits, and risks.
- AI/ML Regulation & Compliance Solutions: how to leverage Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to solve problems for regulators.
- Financial innovation: how to facilitate innovation, without introducing unnecessary market risk.
- Financial inclusion: how to reduce the number of the unbanked population.
South African Financial Blockchain Consortium
I am a member of the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium (SAFBC) representing BVNK along with other financial institutions such as ABSA, Standard Bank, FNB, Bankserv Africa, PwC, Deloitte, and more.
I have met (and hold relationships with) regulators where we discussed topics like bleeding-edge financial technology, digital assets, cryptocurrencies, platform banking, RegTech solutions, and more.
- South African Reserve Bank
- Financial Sector Conduct Authority (South Africa)
- Financial Market Authority (Liechtenstein)
- Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority
- Bank for International Settlements
- Bankenverband Liechtenstein
- Swiss Bankers Association
- Ministry of General Government Affairs and Finance (Liechtenstein)
I was the Sales Director for the online division of Primedia, one of Africa's media companies at the time. As Sales Director, I oversaw general commercial strategy (for both Primedia Online and our clients), digital transformation (for both Primedia Online and our clients), and advertising sales.
At the time, we had South Africa's biggest website (Gumtree) as a client, as well as leading websites like EWN, a premium news site, The South African, a South African focused news site, exclusive sales for E! Online in the region, and over ten other premium sites. I oversaw their online commercial strategies, and handled all of their online sales with my teams in Cape Town and Joburg.
I also developed and spearheaded the digital strategy for the advertising unit.
I served as General Manager for a group of technology websites:
- Ventureburn: technology startup news for emerging markets.
- Memeburn: digital marketing and social media trends and news.
- Gearburn: insightful gadget and technology reviews
- Motorburn: modern car reviews.
- Jobsburn: job board for the digital space.
During my tenure, I helped grow Ventureburn to be an influential brand throughout Africa, increasing revenue for it by over 30% year on year.
I oversaw the launch of Motorburn and the relaunch of Jobsburn, overseeing all aspects of the project.
I managed a team of 10+ people and consulted the digital agency arm (Burn Media was solely owned by Creative Spark at the time) on all publishing and content marketing related matters. I launched their Media department (although my involvement was minimal thereafter), which grew to be one of the biggest revenue drivers, leading up to their multi-million Rand acquisition in 2015.
I was a founding partner and CMO for a boutique marketing agency. We landed our first client on our first ever meeting, and grew the business over the following 8 months.
I oversaw all marketing strategy and execution. I also handled all the business development and sales.
We were then acquired by, and folded into, SwipeIX. My business partner took up the CEO position and I headed up content marketing operations, there before moving to our biggest client (TTRO, an e-learning company) to head up strategy there.
My insatiable curiosity has seen me in many other businesses in my early career. While they are no longer relevant for my career, I owe them a debt of gratitude. I honestly believe that my core people skills and overall grit were galvanised during those trying times.
Hospitality: I was a general manager for a nightclub, a night manager for a fine-dining restaurant, and a manager for an exclusive cocktail bar. I was also a manager at a fast-food burger restaurant.
Automotive: I was a software technician for a workshop management application, the training manager (for the same company), a workshop controller and an aftersales specialist at BMW. At BWM, I used to make extra money by negotiating a "finders fee" with the sales consultants, identifying cars that were in need of replacement, and selling them new ones. This income often exceeded my base wage.