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These SA Founders Successfully Sold Their Startups to A Silicon Valley Firm


TechInAfrica — Getting acknowledgment in Silicon Valley is every tech startup’s dream, like an aspiring singer and actress dreaming of getting famous on Broadway. The best way to make it to Silicon Valley is to sell their startup to a firm based in Silicon Valley.

Here are five startups that sold that have been acquired by US companies and successfully made it to the giant startup scene according to Ventureburn.

Nimbula to Oracle

Nimbula, a cloud-computing startup was founded by Chris Pinkham and Willem van Biljon in 2008. This startup was based in Silicon Valley and Cape Town and was acquired in 2012 by software giant, Oracle for US$110 million.

Pinkham currently sits on the board od SA fintech, Jumo, and previously served as Twitter’s VP of engineering, while Van Biljon has served as co-CEO at SA e-commerce site, Takealot, since 2014.

Before starting Nimbula, Van Biljon was a former CSIR employee and was co-founded Mosaic Software which he sold to S1 Corp in 2014.

Via Ventureburn

WooThemes to Automattic

WooThemes was founded in 2008 by Adriaan Pienaar, Magnus Jepson, and Mark Forrester. This Cape Town-based startup is a maker of themes and plugins for microblogging site, WordPress. Alongside its sister site, WooCommerce, this startup was sold in 2015 to a web development company Automattic in a deal worth more than US$30 million.

Forrester is an investor in many SA tech companies and startups, such as Over, Jonga, Yebofresh, and Sentian, as listen oh his LinkedIn profile.

Fundamo to Visa

Mobile financial service provider, Fundamo, was started by Hannes Van Rensburg in 2000 in Cape Town. It was later bought by Visa, a Bay Area-based credit card company, in 2011 for US$110 million.

Van Rensburg is a trained nuclear physicist and author of a book called Cash In, Cash Out, in which he documented the story behind Fundamo. He now sits as a chief commercial officer at Clickatell based in Florida.

Via moguldom

OrderTalk to Uber

In May 2018, Uber’s food delivery business, Uber Eats, acquired an SA tech startup, orderTalk from Cape Town venture capital company, Knife Capital for an undisclosed price.

OrderTalk offers online ordering software to restaurants that integrates with a restaurant’s point-of-sale system.

The startup was started in 1998 by Hilton Keats. Lawyer Patrick Eldon then joined as the CEO and opened the Cape Town head office in 2005. The company later relocated to Dallas, Texas.

Cape Networks to HP

In March 2018, Cape Networks, a software-as-a-service and hardware startup acquired by IT giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for currently an undisclosed price.

This Cape Town-based company uses Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors to monitor and optimize Wi-Fi networks. The acquisition included Cape Networks merging with Aruba, an HPE subsidiary, specialized in data networking solutions.

Cape Networks was founded by David Wilson under the name Asimmetric, in 2013. Wilson was then joined by Ross Douglas, Fouad Zreik, and Michael Champinis in the following year. The company later changed its name to Cape.

As stated in his LinkedIn profile, Wilson is now based in San Fransisco and works for Aruba as a product and engineering lead with teams in the Bay Area and Cape Town.



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