Now considered Africa’s leading tech and innovation hub, Cape Town is a desirable location for startups. The City is devoted to fostering creative culture by attracting talent with the right mindset and building a business-friendly environment for entrepreneurs.
Cape Town is also the ideal launchpad into Africa’s ever-growing digital and technological industries. The ongoing advancement of Information Technology infrastructure and innovative software developments have allowed the e-commerce industry to grow at a rapid pace here. This will continue to reach greater heights.
The city boasts the highest-ranked startup ecosystem in Africa, and is placed within the top 150 leading startup ecosystems globally (2022 Global Startup Index). Between 40 –50 000 people are employed in Cape Town’s tech industry. This is significantly more than the tech sectors in Lagos and Nairobi, which employ 9 000 and 7 000 people respectively (Evaluation and Network Analysis of the Cape Town-Stellenbosch Tech Sector Report, 2018). This part of South Africa also boasts the privilege of being home to the headquarters of global internet giant, Naspers. As Africa’s highest-valued tech company, it is a massive tech investor on an international scale buying into companies like Tencent and many others.
Since 2003, the city has attracted over 60 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the DigiTech industry. This investment represents 17,2% of 344 FDI projects in the city (FDI Intelligence 2019). It also indicates a healthy environment for investors to continue to explore.
Meet and partner with Cape Town’s top tech startups
Cape Town is home to an abundance of tech resources excelling in education, transportation and fintech. Startups contributing to the city’s status as a leading tech hub include:
Founded in 2005, Elemental is a Cape Town-based web and software development agency. With a skilled and experienced team of UI/UX designers, developers, project managers, and QA testers, the company specialises in creating custom websites, web apps, and platforms.
Elemental excels in delivering bespoke web development solutions precisely catered to the distinctive requirements of clients, ranging from start-ups to global corporations and esteemed brands. Their diverse client base spans various industries, such as EdTech, travel, iGaming, automotive, engineering, and consumer brands from all around the world.
“Our services go beyond development, including expert consultation and stunning UI/UX design. Our collaborative approach ensures seamless integration of design and functionality, resulting in user-friendly and visually captivating digital products”, says Angelo Zanetti, co-founder and Managing Director of Elemental.
“The benefits of being based in Cape Town are that we’re part of a bigger ecosystem for tech companies, namely Silicon Cape. We’re suitably positioned to serve clients in the UK, Europe, Middle East and the East Coast of the USA based on our central time zone.”
For more info or to partner with Elemental, visit the company website.
Lightbulb Edtech comprises of a bold group of visionaries, designers, coders and creators obsessed with changing what it means to learn and train online. Staff are restless in their pursuit to provide the most client-friendly, scalable solution to meet the training demands of a changing world.
With Lightbulb Edtech’s award-winning and innovative software, the team makes it easy for organisations to equip their employees with the right knowledge and skills they need to succeed, wherever they are in the world. Lightbulb Edtech offers fully integrated, all-in-one, global virtual learning environments (VLE) Powered by Amazon.
“We decided to establish the company in Cape Town because of it being the Tech hub of the country. We have found a diversity like none other in this province,” says Allan Mushabe, CEO and co-founder.
For more info or to partner with Lightbulb Edtech, visit the company website.
MellowVans are electric delivery vehicles that provide low-cost, efficient, and emission-free utility services in cities. They are unique in a niche market segment, replacing both traditional motorcycle-type deliveries often used in the food delivery category and light van-based deliveries, used for e-commerce and parcels. They are attractive and eye-catching, with class-leading range, acceleration, and safety features. Each vehicle runs at less than a dollar per day in operational cost, provides over 100 km of range, and features 2.4 cubic meters of space, which is more than enough for most urban deliveries. They have been developed with feedback from some of the world’s leading e-commerce and delivery companies.
“Our vehicles are safe and feature full internet of things functionality, combined with bespoke client-specific offerings like cold-chain and sensing features,” says MellowVans founder and director, Neil du Preez.
“In Cape Town, we have access to skilled labour, good engineers, and a favourable ecosystem, with reasonable costs. Plus direct connections from Cape Town to the world’s airports make it very convenient.”
For more info or to partner with MellowVans, visit the company website.
Cape Town based redAcademy offers an opportunity for organisations to secure a pipeline of specialised, custom-trained work ready software developers. This is achieved through a 12-month bespoke experiential software training programme.
Training carefully selected South African youth at the premises of their software development service provider, using lecturing and operations expertise tailored to clients’ tech stack and operational processes.
The academy is designed to fast-track careers in the real world, providing companies with a dedicated software talent pipeline to scale their business, allow for succession planning and eliminate the onboarding time in the search, recruitment and training of junior tech talent.
“Cape Town, as a proven innovation hub, with an abundance of raw talent, coupled with the ease and competitive cost of scaling business operations, makes the city an ideal hub for tech and software development specifically,” says Jessica Hawkey, redAcademy’s Managing Director.
For more info or to partner with redAcademy, visit the company website.
Amnova is a startup that is built by a group of talented, young and enthusiastic engineers, scientists and innovators who value sustainability and technology accessibility. Amnova has been developing technologies for over 9 years prior to forming the company. With their tech, Amnova has serviced numerous local and international clients and completed projects for companies such as Nescafe, The University of Oxford, The University of Cape Town and many more. Their focus is on growing the African economy and increasing local production capacity. Amnova strives to help Africa become a global leader in manufacturing and advanced technological developments.
For more info or to partner with Amnova, visit the company website.
A company that enables enterprise data scientists to build their best AI. Enlabeler believes in human-led AI with high-quality and unbiased datasets for Machine Learning, and Africa’s potential to play a key role in the global AI industry.
Enlabeler provides an end-to-end solution leveraging open source tools, unifying the machine learning journey across data types such as image, video, audio and text.
“We established Enlabeler in Cape Town and Johannesburg because we believe in Africa’s potential to play a key role in the global AI industry,” says Chief Revenue Officer, Michael Hodgson.
For more info or to partner with Enlabeler, visit the company website.
Ollie Health provides mental health credits which allow you to have live virtual therapy sessions via video call from anywhere in the world. You can finally have your own remote therapist at a fraction of the cost.
The Ollie Credit wallets are like company savings account for their employees’ mental health. Credits are used every day by remote employees and students in 16 different countries.
“Cape Town is a hub of innovation with top-notch talent. In my opinion, some of the best tech talent in the world right now. Cape Town has also been leading the way in improving the global mental health crisis,” says Marc Knowles, Founder and CEO of Ollie Health.
For more info or to partner with Ollie Health, visit the company website.
Resolute is a pioneering education technology company focused on providing turn-key solutions for schools to implement robotics and coding programmes. With a mission to empower students with the skills necessary for the future, Resolute offers a comprehensive package that includes reusable robotics kits, annual educational licenses, and training programs for educators.
By combining the expertise of engineers and teachers, Resolute creates engaging and accessible learning experiences that bridge the gap between theory and practical application.
Resolute’s unique approach lies in its ability to align content to schools’ specific needs, leveraging a team of educators and engineers to develop tailored solutions. The company’s in-house IT team ensures scalability and adaptability, while the product teams design physical robots that bring coding concepts to life. With a deep understanding of teachers’ requirements and the global education landscape, Resolute aims to equip schools with the tools and knowledge necessary to navigate the world of robotics and coding with confidence.
“We’ve chosen Cape Town as our strategic hub for growth because of its vibrant tech ecosystem, access to talent, and its commitment to education. We believe Cape Town provides the ideal environment to drive innovation and create lasting impact in the field of robotics and coding education,” says Huzaifa Khan, Head of Global Growth at Resolute Education.
For more info or to partner with Resolute Education, visit the company website.
The Cape of Great Opportunity
In summary, Cape Town truly is an inspiring place for investors and entrepreneurs to network. It’s perceived as a tech hub and is delivering year after year with growth and innovation. The local tech community is vibrant and enthusiastic with a large network of start-up support. The city and surrounds offer a globally competitive lifestyle that embraces recreation and natural splendour. In turn, this has led to a wealth of energetic talent being attracted to the city.
Why Cape Town? Many would argue why not. It’s a true drawing card for almost any DigiTech investment in South Africa.
Contact us for more information on investing in Cape Town’s Digitech sector.
Cape Town’s Competitive Advantages in DigiTech
The dynamism, productivity and high-impact companies of Cape Town’s information technology sector make it stand out as one of the most successful models in Sub-Saharan Africa. Competitive advantages in this industry include:
Competitive advantages of Cape Town as an IT location
Cape Town is a largely supply-driven city. The availability of ICT skills and the prevalence of an entrepreneurial culture are key aspects in this regard.
Cape Town has established itself as a key technology hub in South Africa with a number of major companies launching their head offices in the city. This is, in turn, attracting other tech companies. There are benefits to agglomeration.
In a highly mobile sector, Cape Town’s natural beauty allows for a better working environment and lifestyle is a strong pull factor for skilled employees.
The diverse ecosystem of companies across the value chain and a strong presence of supporting institutions provide for ease of business operations.
The perception that software developers are more progressive attracts other business operations, creating an environment of innovation, digital connectivity and opportunity.
Why Invest in Cape Town’s DigiTech Industry?
Besides the wonderful interconnectedness of the Cape’s entrepreneurs in regards to mentorship, investment, employment and inspiration, there is an already established culture of venture funding here. This makes engaging with enterprises in the city, from an investor’s point of view, a seamless and enjoyable experience. “Roughly one-third of the companies in [Cape Town] have received some form of angel investment or venture funding. This number is higher on average than the rates in comparable cities like Lagos, Nairobi, and Johannesburg,” (Endeavor 2019).