Johannesburg - Platinum Seed founder Bradley Elliott tells IOL how he got into his first start up in this Q&A series.
1. Is Platinum Seed your first start-up?
Yes, Platinum Seed, a digital company that services a range of large corporates, was the first company I started and was founded in 2009
2. What gave you the idea?
Post my studies I became the Marketing Manager and eventually Marketing Director of a company that had Aesthetic Clinics in South Africa and the UK. Unfortunately the company was liquidated and I was retrenched, which is when I started Platinum Seed.
I’ve always had a huge passion for technology and digital. I worked very closely with our digital marketing agency in my previous position, so it felt right to pursue a business in the technology industry. The beauty about digital is the constant pace of change and innovation.
3. How is it doing?
We’ve grown at 70 percent-100 percent year-on-year for the last 7 years, and have worked with some of SA’s leading brands and JSE listed companies. The only real way to differentiate ourselves in our industry, in my opinion, is through the quality of our work and the value we can add to our clients businesses.
4. Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
I grew up in a very entrepreneurial household, where we often discussed business and the markets. I was fortunate enough to start trading in shares when I was 15 years old, which is where my love for business grew further. I truly have a passion for the business world, so yes, you could say wanting to be an entrepreneur was always on the cards.
5. What made you choose this career path?
My passion for business, questioning the norm, and trying to make a difference. Working for yourself gives you the freedom to carve your own path, but also comes with a huge amount of responsibility.
6. What's next on your list?
I’m currently involved in two other start-ups. Continuon, a product Platinum Seed, is a Social CRM tool that provides deep insight into the way people interact and engage with a brand, providing the essential understanding needed to build and maintain highly valuable relationships and experiences with customers.
getTOD is a mobile application which connects individuals with credible plumbers, electricians, locksmiths and other suppliers in real time- the Uber for these industries, which is currently in closed beta testing and will be launching in the coming months.
7. What would you say to someone who wants to be an entrepreneur?
I believe that you’re only as strong as your team. We used to hire based on skillset, now we hire based on attitude- company culture is hugely important to us. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and have a shared desire to achieve a common goal.
If you want to be an entrepreneur because you think it will make you wealthy, then you’re starting with the wrong mindset. Most entrepreneurs set out to achieve a very specific idea or goal. If you’re passionate and driven about this, the money will come.
8. Please explain what your start-up does
Platinum Seed is a digital technology company that focuses on 3 key areas:
1. Digital Marketing, which comprises of digital strategy, social media management, content creation,brand websites & apps, campaign development, community building, and eCRM
2. Business Transformation, which comprises of digital products, platforms (e.g. Discovery Vitality Health), apps, websites, which helps brands develop long-term value with their customers and/or become more efficient
3. Ventures, which is where we help tech-start-ups build MVP’s (minimum viable products), develop go-to- market strategies, invest in start-ups we believe in, as well as develop our own products internally
9. Would you say you need a degree to get started?
I don’t believe you need a degree, but with any form of education, there are bound to be learning that are valuable. Key understandings, especially in terms of financial and economic principals are extremely helpful in running a business, and therefore a business degree that covers these is valuable. The most valuable part of a degree, in my opinion, is the level of work ethic and organisation required. Generally, when looking at CVs, it’s not so much what degree a candidate has completed, but more importantly that they had the determination to achieve a long-term commitment and goal.