December 2018 By Leslie Stones
Technology never stands still – which is a good job considering that our problems never stand still either.
Issues like poverty, hunger, disease, the quest for knowledge and connectivity or even our ceaseless desire to be entertained are burning challenges that the smartest brains are working to resolve.
Here are some of the people who Brainstorm believes are poised to make a difference.
Nico Steyn, CEO of IoT.nxt
Everyone talks about the Internet of Things (IoT), but Nico Steyn is such a believer that he named his company after the concept.
Steyn is the CEO of IoT.nxt, which has grown from a startup in 2015 to employ more than 100 people, with offices in The Netherlands and the US. That global expansion was made possible with R100m from its investment partner Talent10 Holdings. Steyn aims to grow IoT.nxt into an internationally relevant, but still proudly African business, creating jobs for Africans, and solutions for the world.
The company develops innovative software based on its patented Raptor gateway, which is technology-agnostic and lets companies rapidly digitise any industry, system or process to create an interconnected, interoperable ecosystem without disrupting the business. It’s been described as a world-leading framework that makes efficiencies, cost savings and increased revenue from IoT a reality, according to Nedbank, which chose IoT.nxt to participate in its Disruption Agenda matchmaking programme.
One project is seeing the Raptor gateway being rolled out in Florida and Dallas to optimise the amount of energy used by schools. Three people from IoT.nxt went to the US to manage the operation and to train local partners to take it forward.
Steyn and IoT.nxt have won several awards already, including being named by Gartner as African Aspiring Innovators to Watch, being a finalist in the Da Vinci TT100 innovation index for Emerging Enterprises, and being the overall winner of the MTN Business IoT Awards.
The company has achieved Level 1 B-BBEE status and is a Microsoft Gold Partner. It’s also become a silver partner of The Linux Foundation, a status that excited Steyn as he sees great opportunities to use open source software in IoT applications.
Michael Jordaan, Founder of Montegray Capital
During his decade as the CEO of First National Bank, Michael Jordaan was dubbed South Africa’s coolest CEO and Africa’s most innovative banker.
He’s still being cool and innovative despite ‘retiring’ in 2014, since he’s put his skills and his money to good use by forming Montegray Capital, a one-man-band venture capital company.
The modus operandi for Montegray Capital is to find highly differentiated businesses with a minimum two-year trading history, proven customer traction and the potential for rapid growth. In exchange for a meaningful minority stake, it provides those companies with growth capital of R2 million to R5 million, strategic advice and access to business networks.
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