South African fuel management and payment system innovator Payment24, now a multi-million rand company signing up blue chip international clients, is aggressively growing across pan-Africa and into the U.S. But achieving international success, the goal of many born-in-SA companies, is not a simple matter, according to Payment24’s joint CEOs, Shadab Rahil and Nolan Daniel.
“Our ambitions were international from the outset and we never saw ourselves as a start-up,” said Rahil.
“So we launched with a proper business model, road plan and big playbook. This helped drive our growth. “
A carefully-plotted strategic focus saw the business targeting only regions where the product-market fit was right, and where reliable local networks could be established.
“It’s not easy doing business across Africa,” said Daniel.
“You have to be cautious about the projects you want to become involved in. Some big projects, across multiple countries, could virtually kill your company off slowly because they can take too much time and focus away from your own company’s strategic growth plans.”
Pan-African business expansion is also challenging in terms of cross-border payments and red tape. Despite the challenges, Payment24 is actively expanding across Namibia, Kenya, Ghana, Botswana, Nigeria and Mozambique. The company’s growth was supported by its being selected as one of 36 to participate in the international 500 Start-ups Global Seed Accelerator programme in San Francisco last year.
“This programme gave us an opportunity to establish links in the North American market and to conduct research that confirmed product-market fit in the U.S,” added Daniel.