Great tech companies started in Cape Town

Many successful tech companies were started in Cape Town, which made millions for their founders.

By - January 18, 2016 Share on LinkedIn
Cape Town Wifi

Cape Town has become known as a hub for new start-ups in the technology market, fuelled by initiatives like Silicon Cape.

While Gauteng has also seen the launch of numerous successful tech companies, Cape Town enjoys the title of “South Africa’s Silicon Valley”.

It is not hard to see why Cape Town and the Stellenbosch region have gained this reputation – many successful technology companies were founded there.

Here are some of the most successful technology companies which had their roots in the Cape region.

Thawte – bought by Verisign in 1999 for $575 million

Thawte Consulting is a certificate authority for X.509 certificates, which was founded in 1995 by Mark Shuttleworth.

In 1999, Verisign acquired Thawte in a stock purchase from Shuttleworth for $575 million.


Fundamo – acquired by Visa in 2011 for $110 million

Fundamo is one of the largest specialist providers of mobile financial services in the world.

It has played a major role in the development of the mobile financial services industry since 2000, and was headquartered in Cape Town. In June 2011, Fundamo was acquired by Visa for $110 million.


Mxit – sold for close to R400 million in 2011

Mxit was founded by Herman Heunis in 2003 in Stellenbosch, and quickly became a major IM player in South Africa.

In 2011, MIH Holdings (a subsidiary of Naspers) and Heunis sold their shareholding in Mxit to World of Avatar for close to R400 million. While Mxit succumbed to WhatsApp, its success cannot be denied.


iKubu – bought by Garmin in 2015 for an undisclosed amount

iKubu, which developed a low-energy bike radar system called Backtracker, worked on computer vision and radar systems from its workshop in Stellenbosch since 2006.

In 2015, Garmin acquired iKubu, and recently launched its Varia Rearview Bike Radar product.


WooThemes – acquired by WorldPress owner Automattic in 2015 for an undisclosed amount

WooThemes – a leading WordPress theme and plugin provider – was founded by Mark Forrester, Adii Pienaar, and Magnus Jepson in 2008, and headquartered in Cape Town.

The company later developed WooCommerce, which powers over 30% of all online stores. The company was acquired by WorldPress owner Automattic in 2015.


22seven – acquired by Old Mutual in 2013 for an undisclosed amount

22seven, a free app that helps you manage your money, was started by Christo Davel and Kenny Inggs in Cape Town in 2012.

A year later, Old Mutual purchased 22seven.


Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services is a collection of remote computing services that make up a cloud-computing platform offered by

Amazon EC2 was built by a team in Cape Town under Chris Pinkham and lead developer Chris Brown.

Amazon Web Services

The list above is only a snapshot of some of the tech companies which were founded and operate from Cape Town. Others include Zando, Takealot, and Snapscan.

More on tech start-ups in South Africa

South African start-up included in US accelerator

Cape Town tech start-up creates common mobile payment thread

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