Marnus Broodryk, the 27-year-old founder and MD of Virtual iD, said that he started the company because he was fed up with paperwork and providing the same information over and over to different service providers.
To get a better insight into the company and its founder, MyBroadband caught up with Broodryk to tell us more about this venture.
What is your background and where did your interest in technology come from?
I was born and bred in the small town of Harrismith in the Free State, and technology has always been my biggest interest. It all started with my first IBM XT computer (with an orange screen) – I took it apart and somehow managed to get it working again.
In primary school, the teachers excused me from class to help fix the school’s computers and in high school I learned how to design websites and soon started my first business. So, technology has always been a big part of my life.
What did you do before you started Virtual iD?
I studied BCompt. accounting and after finishing articles, I started my own accounting firm – The Beancounter. Last year, we launched a new company providing business solutions to the SME market and I’m also involved in property.
When and why did you start Virtual iD?
We started with development early March 2012 and we have just gone live. I was completely fed up with paperwork and providing the same information over and over to different service providers. I then had the idea of a central database all linked with a common field – your Virtual iD. When someone needs your information, you simply provide them with your Virtual iD and they can request all your details.
Where did you get money to start the company (and how much if you can say)?
From the beginning we took a very lean approach and being the owner of two other businesses, we had existing resources available that we could use. Our total spend from development to launch will be around R300,000.00 (excluding director salaries) which was funded with our own capital.
What were/are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge we are facing now is to get consumers to trust that our platform is safe and secure to use. Consumers complete application forms on a daily basis but when it gets to an online platform, they think twice before providing information. Ironic actually, as these online platforms are much more secure than your traditional systems. The majority of our startup expenses were for security and to make sure that we can launch with a great product.
Which skills do you think helped you the most in starting the company?
I have launched two successful businesses before and I have a great network of suppliers, friends and business partners who contributed immensely to this project. Let’s call the skill, “ability to network and surround myself with the right people”.
What advice do you have for new young entrepreneurs in the technology sector?
Just do it. I speak to so many people on a daily basis with great ideas but there is always an excuse as to why they can’t do it. It’s so easy to start something online today and with great outsourcing platforms like Elance.com and Odesk.com (and the newly launched local Freelancestation.co.za), you don’t need any technical skills. You can simply pitch your product to a team of developers and they can get it developed for you. So get your idea out there as quickly as possible.
For more scoop from the world of Nokia visit the Nokia blog, Ringaz