Following an on-stage pitch at the AfricArena Summit in Cape Town last year, Disrupt Africa interviewed Wyzetalk CEO, Gys Kappers to uncover a bit more on what has been happening with Africa's leading employee engagement company.
Disrupt Africa: Do you have any updates on uptake / customer numbers etc?
Gys: 2019 was momentous for Wyzetalk. We focused on large multinational deals and successfully deployed into Anglo American and De Beers, Shoprite, Woolworths, Pick n Pay, RCL Foods, Harmony Gold, Impala Platinum and others. This has necessitated a change in our team structure which has doubled in size including the introduction of a 24x7 centre to support clients in all time zones. Our product and solution is far richer and we’re excited by our pipeline and the many great projects we’re working on that will bring immense benefits to all, but particularly, the frontline workers in these companies.
Disrupt Africa: How/why are you expanding into the Netherlands? What are your targets there?
Gys: The Netherlands provides attractive incentives and concessions for companies and employees. My family is from Holland and we have strong networks there. Speaking the language and understanding the culture has also been an advantage. We’ve also met incredible partners that share our vision that are working with us on our expansion, and refining our technology offering for more developed markets. Aside from the business benefits, the Netherlands is centrally located and interestingly, the South African and Dutch cultures share certain similarities. For our COO who has moved there to spearhead our European expansion, he’s found it an easy transition from South Africa.
Disrupt Africa: Any further expansion plans?
Gys: Our COO moved with his family to Utrecht a few months ago and we’re establishing our local presence with an office in the Netherlands. That will be our first base outside of South Africa for now. Our Cape Town and Johannesburg offices are expanding rapidly to cater for the growing demand from clients for 24x7 support – it’s also where our innovation, engineering and professional service centres of excellence will remain for now. We don’t have immediate plans to set up additional offices in other countries but we are in the process of refining a bold globalisation strategy that might require this in the next few years.
Within the next 6 months we’ll have clients and users on all continents which is incredible reach for this Stellenbosch start-up. Although our plans are ambitious we are also sensitive to considerate growth, making sure we have the right team to deliver, and a product that is right for the markets we serve.
Disrupt Africa: Tell us about the Anglo/De Beers deals. What impact will that have on the business, and what markets will it take you to?
Gys: Anglo American and De Beers have been amazing partners for us. They feel strongly about the power of connecting their whole business – from the CEO right the way through to their frontline workers everywhere in the world. They’re taking engagement, communication, safety and productivity very seriously. De Beers were first to launch in South Africa and Canada, and Anglo American will launch to all countries by the end of Q1, with launches already underway in South America and one of their international divisions.
The impact for our business has been immense. It has taken a lot of planning, infrastructure set up and customisation which has helped us evolve our product and solution. The partnership has been incredible from a brand acquisition perspective, and we’re learning from them all the time. That we competed and were successful in being chosen as the employee engagement partner for Anglo American worldwide against significantly larger and more established vendors is significant for Wyzetalk.