South African CIOs: Visionaries behind multi-million rand companies


For Motivation Monday, ChatGPT sheds light on entrepreneur CIOs.

The CIO South Africa community has had the opportunity to engage with various CIOs, each with their own unique and diverse backgrounds, as part of its community building endeavours. When it comes to CIO/CTOs who have decided to flex their entrepreneurial muscle and venture into business, two names stand out. The first is Oliver Krantz, co-founder and CTO at Impact Rooms, an enterprise escalator that uses emerging technologies to evaluate companies, match them with investors, provide training and connect them with services.

The second, Joshua Raphael, is founder and CTO of Parket, the world’s first turnkey digital access parking management system to provide you with better management, valuable insight and seamless cashless and ticketless public parking. Joshua shared some advice and considerations for tech entrepreneurs and those looking to launch a startup in a recent article.

We wondered which other IT leaders decided to take the leap of faith of becoming technology entrepreneurs, and had succeeded in doing so. As such, we asked ChatGPT, a very simple question: Who are the South African CIOs that have started multi-million rand companies?

South Africa, a vibrant and dynamic country in the African continent, is witnessing a wave of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Among the pioneers driving this transformation are Chief Information Officers (CIOs) who have leveraged their technological expertise to create multi-million rand companies. These visionary individuals have combined their deep understanding of information technology with entrepreneurial acumen, forging successful ventures that have made a significant impact in various industries. In this article, we will explore the stories of some remarkable South African CIOs who have turned their visions into reality.

1. Gareth Hawkey - CEO of redPanda Software

Gareth Hawkey, a former CIO, co-founded redPanda Software in 2007. This South African-based company specializes in providing customized software solutions across multiple industries, including retail, finance, and healthcare. Hawkey's expertise in understanding the complex requirements of businesses and aligning them with technology has been instrumental in redPanda's success. Under his leadership, the company has experienced exponential growth, expanding its client base both locally and internationally.

2. Michael Jordaan - Founder of Bank Zero

Michael Jordaan, a highly accomplished CIO, is the brains behind Bank Zero, a digital-only bank disrupting the traditional banking landscape in South Africa. Jordaan, with his deep knowledge of financial systems and technology, recognized the need for a modern, customer-centric banking experience. Bank Zero aims to simplify banking through its innovative approach, providing a seamless digital platform for users. Jordaan's vision and extensive experience in the financial sector have propelled Bank Zero to become one of the most promising startups in the country.

3. Benjamin Mophatlane - Co-founder of BCX

Benjamin Mophatlane, a renowned South African entrepreneur and former CIO, co-founded BCX (formerly Business Connexion) in 1996. BCX is one of the largest information and communications technology (ICT) companies in South Africa, offering a comprehensive suite of services to clients across various industries. Mophatlane's forward-thinking approach and ability to identify emerging trends have been instrumental in BCX's growth and expansion. The company has established itself as a leading player in the ICT sector, providing innovative solutions to meet the evolving needs of businesses.

The success stories of South African CIOs turned entrepreneurs highlight the immense potential that lies at the intersection of technology, business acumen, and innovation. These visionary leaders have demonstrated that by leveraging their deep understanding of information technology, they can create transformative companies that make a lasting impact. Through their ventures, they have not only contributed to the growth of the South African economy but have also inspired aspiring entrepreneurs and technologists across the country. As South Africa continues to foster an environment conducive to innovation, the achievements of these CIOs serve as a testament to the boundless opportunities that await those who dare to dream big and take the leap into entrepreneurship.

Related articles

How and where will the future CIO work?

What is the workforce of the future? Who will be doing the work? And where will you be doing work? During a discussion with Eskom CIO Faith Burn at the 2024 CIO Day, Investec CIO Shabhana Thaver discussed the role of IT in shaping future work.

Warren Hero joins SARS as new CDO

The 2023 CIO Awards winner will be responsible for designing the South African Revenue Services’ business model for antifragile digital transformation.