In October 2010, MyBroadband published an article titled “SA tech companies to watch”, listing a handful of lesser-known companies which we felt were well-positioned for growth.
The companies listed were Nology, Neology, ARC Telecoms, Cerebra, Altech Technology Concepts, and Quirk.
Two years down the line, it is time to see whether the list of companies published by MyBroadband showed the growth which was expected, or whether they disappointed.
Nology is a supplier of broadband, networking and communication solutions, and is the exclusive distributor of Billion and Airlive equipment in South Africa.
The company was split in two during September 2010, when Nology Distibution was formed as a new company to focus on the channel and retail markets. Nology Solutions remains focused on the ISP, telco, and VoIP markets for customised solutions and services.
The split seems to be working well for the company. Nology grew its revenue by 30% over the last year, and boosted profitability by 50%. The company also grew its staff compliment by 15% over this period.
ARC Telecoms is an IP telecommunications service provider offering connectivity, VoIP, managed network, and cloud services to the SME market.
It was acquired by Jasco in March 2012, which gave the company a big boost.
Between October 2010 and March 2012 (when the company was acquired by Jasco), ARC Telecoms showed an annual revenue growth of 200%. The company also grew its staff compliment 30% over this period.
Cerebra is a social and mobile media company and, shortly before the initial article, added a corporate communications arm the organisation. This and other strategies are paying off for the company.
Cerebra has shown exceptional growth since 2010. In 2011, the company grew its revenue by 90%, and the company is confident it will grow its revenue by another 50% this year.
Over the last two years, the company has grown the number of staff members from 12 to 32, and also moved into new offices to accommodate the growth.
Cerebra CEO, Mike Stopforth said that the company expects to show continued growth in future. “We continue to attract exciting clients and refine our strategic communication offering. There are exciting things on the horizon,” said Stopforth.
Altech Technology Concepts
Altech Technology Concepts (ATC) is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) offering Internet connectivity, IT services and support, and website and application development. The company was acquired by Altech, which further boosted its fortunes.
The company has shown great growth since 2010. Between February 2010 and February 2012, Altech Technology Concepts grew revenues by 80%. Over the same period, the company experienced a 67% growth in head count.
ATC further transitioned from a second-tier ISP to a first-tier ISP and built its own core, fully-redundant network with POPs in London, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
In March, ATC integrated with Autopage, and former ATC CEO, Wayne de Nobrega, said that the company expects continued growth going forward.
“ATC will continue to extend [its] penetration into the business market and extend [its] range of services, while at the same time [it] will start addressing the consumer market through the integrated AAPC/ATC entity,” de Nobrega said.
Quirk eMarketing is one of the largest new media companies and marketing companies in the country, with offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and London.
Since October 2010, Quirk has made great strides. The company grew its revenue by around 200%; increased its headcount by 150%; and added 4 companies to the group through research and development and acquisitions.
Quirk founder, Rob Stokes is bullish about Quirk’s future as well. “It won’t be as [fast-paced] as the last two years (that’s impossible to keep up in a service business), but we expect to grow 70% year-on-year in the next 12 months,” said Stokes.
Neology is a small tech company founded and run by three techies. Neology has close links with IPINX, another tech startup, and its network solutions are behind many services offered in the local and African telecoms markets.
Neology has shown good growth over the last two years despite numerous challenges. “We brought on-board a number of new key accounts, and launched our niche data-center. As of June 2012, the data centre is at 50% capacity and going strong,” said Neology CEO, Regardt van de Vyver.
“Our caching platforms are now deployed in 7 countries, and our radius and billing platforms (both hosted and on-site) have experienced good growth. Our managed capacity and network support services exceeded even our own expectations and will certainly be a focus for us in the coming year.”
The company has boosted revenues by 36% since 2010, and is confident that this growth will continue.
“With some planned expansion into new areas, and a clear resurgence of telecoms in Africa, we do expect growth in the coming year. We have plans for some infrastructure expansion and pretty aggressive R&D work which should result in further growth into the 2014 financial year,” said van de Vyver.
The feedback from these technology companies confirmed that they were indeed poised for good things, and that they have delivered on their promise to grow, generate higher revenues, and employ people in the IT sector.