Euphoria Telecom Co-Founder George Golding is a born entrepreneur – he started his first business at primary school and sold computers to his fellow UCT students at university.
This entrepreneurial spirit drove him to start Euphoria Telecom in 2011 with two friends, Conrad De Wet and Rafal Janik.
He recalled how they wanted to solve a problem for small businesses in South Africa at the time.
“Small business owners wanted PBX systems but the high costs, long term contracts, antiquated technology and weak service put them off,” he said.
“We wanted business owners to have the functionality of a corporate level PBX that they could easily manage themselves for a fraction of the price.”
Golding and his co-founders decided to build an international class Cloud PBX system to serve local businesses, and Euphoria Telecom was born.
Starting and growing Euphoria Telecom
Euphoria Telecom started in a spare bedroom in De Wet’s house in Woodstock, Cape Town, with only the three founders as employees.
An angel investor funded the business through payments of R100,000 per month for 10 months in return for equity in the company.
“We kept our past small businesses running on the side and paid ourselves only R11,000 per month,” Golding said.
“We used asset finance where we could and required a further R400,000 from the angel investor before the company broke even and began paying and funding itself.”
Business started to blossom. While it took Euphoria Telecom 18 months to make its first R1 million in revenue, it took only another 30 months to increase that to R1 million per month.
Building a successful tech startup
Golding believes that any tech startup requires a minimum of two different types of people to grow it into a success.
“One should be a product person who is the lead engineer or tech architect of the system, application or platform,” he said.
“The other is a sales and operations person whose primary responsibility is to sell the product and build the operation and the brand.”
He said both these core employees need a have a “solid, unbreakable belief in the idea”.
“It’s your undying belief and resultant inspiration that helps you to persevere against the odds,” he said.
Love for computing
Like many tech entrepreneurs, Golding always had a love for computing. He received his first computer – a BBC – when he was eight and was captivated by it.
“I received an IBM 386 XT for my 11th birthday and it was the best birthday present I could have ever asked for,” he told MyBroadband.
“I remember using it and saying to myself – I am going to change the world with computer systems. So, I was always a bit of a tech head.”
Euphoria Telecom CEO George Golding’s tech and business choices
Euphoria Telecom CEO George Golding shared his tech and business choices with MyBroadband.
What was your first ever business?
In standard 5 I bought half litre tubs of non-stick, non-toxic slime and sold it the whole primary school at a 100% markup.
I also started a computer and software sales business while studying at UCT and sold them to students at cost-effective prices.
What was your first job and what was your salary?
I have never had permanent employment. I completed a few short IT contracts in the UK for the banks over a period of 20 months. I have never been good with authority or the status quo. I am always seeing better ways to do things and I have always been driven to make them a reality.
What laptop do you currently use?
An Apple Macbook Air running Windows 10.
What smartphone do you currently use?
Apple iPhone X.
What is the best gadget you have ever bought?
An Electric Mountain Bike – that’s the most fun I have ever had on the mountain.
What is the worst gadget you have ever bought?
An iPad – it very quickly became a digital photo frame.
What was your best ever investment?
Buying Bitcoin at $180 each.
What was your worst ever investment?
I invested in a venture called Poolcop that was meant to revolutionise and automate pool maintenance. The investment has literally been a total loss.
What is the best business advice you have ever received?
When building a business make sure you receive income before paying major suppliers. It puts the business into a positive cash flow position meaning you can make a loss but there is still money in the bank.
The money can be used to help grow the business into a profitable and sustainable entity.