The 2016 series of Seed Academy’s Alumni events kicked off with a bang! We were incredibly honored to have serial technology entrepreneur, Vinny Lingham take time out of his busy schedule to join us.

South African born Vinny Lingham has achieved – and continues to achieve incredible success in Silicon Valley. His first entrepreneurial venture was through Yola, after a successful exit he started the now Google backed Gyft – which he exited earlier this year. Having concluded an incredibly successful round of founding, Vinny is set to launch Civic in April 2016.

The afternoon was captivating to say the least and it was great to get an international perspective on entrepreneurship in S.A.

Below are some of our key insights:

  • South African entrepreneurs and investors are short-term focused – investors want returns quickly
  • Have a single focus and know that area backwards – then you can beat anyone
  • Validate your hypothesis
  • Don’t go after markets that are too small
  • Conquer your local markets before you think of expanding
  • Investors should have smaller investments across a number of businesses
  • Don’t outsource your coding – it is a critical skill to have in-house (Vinny, as investor doesn’t invest in startups that outsource)
  • From a product development perspective – focus on solving a pain
  • Don’t go into markets that are crowded
  • Be the first mover
  • Don’t focus too far into the future – focus on volume and scale
  • Set-up advisory boards – give them a fraction of your business (equity) and use them for business development and strategy
  • Use friends for advice – and get advice from multiple sources
  • Start and join forums – and leverage them
  • Don’t go it alone – have a founding team – entrepreneurship is hard enough
  • Every company gets to a point where you think you are going to fail – but you need keep plugging away
  • You are not working in isolation – you are part of an ecosystem – successful entrepreneurs need to give back and fund up & coming entrepreneurs