SA recruitment start-up wins spot to Geneva contest

Marcello Schermer of Seedstars World says that supporting local start-ups is key to success. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Marcello Schermer of Seedstars World says that supporting local start-ups is key to success. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town - A local recruitment start-up has won a place to pitch its business against competitors and win a potential $500 000 (R6.2m) in equity.

Giraffe, which runs a company recruitment outfit in Johannesburg, beat out 11 other start-ups in the Seedstars World competition to find a hit firm for emerging markets.

"We really love what we're doing and hope we can help a lot of people and we're happy to get that validation from Seedstars World," said Shafin Anwarsha, co-founder of Giraffe.

The company operates as a business-to-business application that connects job seekers with positions at firms.

"Employers can simply submit their requirements and Giraffe will automatically identify the most suitable candidates from our database of thousands of ID-verified, screened candidate CVs," the start-up says on its website.

Winning benefits

Judges felt that the start-up combined the aspects ideal for effective scalability in emerging markets that can also add value to established business practices.


Seedstars has tapped Giraffe as the South African winner of a start-up contest. (Seedstars World)

"It was an exciting event where we recognised amazing start-ups in South Africa. Standard Bank has seen the need to recognise the start-up community as well as accessing innovative companies that can improve our value chain as well as our corporate client base," said judge Jayshree Naidoo, head of the Standard Bank incubator, which is also a sponsor of the competition.

Seedstars had two rounds in SA - Cape Town and Johannesburg - and the organisation will be heading to Lagos on July 31 for a final round in Nigeria before the Geneva finals.

In SA, Causal Nexus and NicheStreem rounded out the top three start-ups.

In 2013, SimplePay from Nigeria won $500 000 in the competition and the company is preparing to expand its mobile payment platform to both Latin America and South East Asia.

All start-ups that win investment have access to mentors, but organisers rejected suggestions that mentors take control away from founders.

"Actually it's the other way round: We started out as a company builder so we have experience in building, running, (and) scaling companies," Marcello Schermer, regional manager for Africa at Seedstars World, told Fin24.


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