Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa
Fund This Image Credit: Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa
Fund This Image Credit: Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa

Fund This

Ask entrepreneurs, and one of the biggest challenges facing businesses is a lack of funding. Speak to funders, and the biggest problem is finding investable businesses — there’s more than enough cash available. To get the low-down on what it takes to become a fundable business, Entrepreneur spoke to funders and start-ups who have secured funding. These are their lessons.

Nadine Todd

THE 7 RULES OF PITCHING

If you want to build an investable business and land funding, you need to understand the landscape. Vusi Thembekwayo unpacks how smart businesses attract investors.

In 2014, Zithande Mbala pitched his business idea, a smart toilet paper lubricating device, to the Dragons on SABC’s Dragon’s Den. It was a bizarre pitch, not least of all when Zithande valued the business to be worth northwards of $100 million in a few months’ time. He was offering a 10% stake in the company for an investment of R1 million.

The Dragons did not respond to Zithande’s pitch well. It made for entertaining television, but no one thought they were watching a great investment walk out the door when the Dragons collectively said, ‘I’m out’.

And then in 2018, one of those Dragons, Vusi Thembekwayo, saw a smart toilet paper lubricating device at OR Tambo International Airport. He gave Zithande a call, only to discover that the business was off the ground — and had some large contracts to boot.

“How did we miss it? All of us are entrepreneurs and we completely missed it,” says Vusi. “I’ve rewatched that clip a hundred times, trying to figure out why we all thought it was a terrible idea with no hope of making it in the real world.”

There are lessons to be learnt in Zithande’s pitch for both funders and entrepreneurs look


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