Financial Data
Updated 14 Jul 2020

Luck: When preparation meets opportunity

Want your start-up to get lucky? Be prepared.

Wayne Berger, 22 August 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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In his 2015 Ted Talk, Bill Grossman spoke about five factors that influence start-up success – the idea, the business model, funding, the team and timing. He wanted to know why some start-ups succeeded while others, with equally brilliant ideas, failed.

He took each of these factors and looked at how they impacted start-ups across the board – those that had been incredible successes like YouTube and Airbnb, and those that had been unexpected failures. What he found was compelling and transformative (for those start-ups that listened) - the single most important factor that influenced success was timing.

There have been countless examples of businesses that have failed just because they’ve hit the market too early. Sometimes it’s worth holding onto your idea for a little while longer, waiting until the timing is right before unleashing it on the market. Sometimes your idea may be too late.

Related: Is now the best time to jump into South African commercial real estate?

The most important thing is to be completely honest with yourself when you look at your start-up concept and the market its aimed at – your idea may be amazing tomorrow, not today.

Timing is everything

Before developing Instant Property, we launched a product called in 2011/2. It had cross-platform native apps that could help the shopper find geo-location sales at malls and outlets nearby. It was the ideal deal finder for the cash-strapped South African and our launch was hugely successful. We worked with Highveld Mall to advertise their winter sales and with Disney to launch Marvel products. But the product failed. Not because it wasn’t capable or because the demand was poor, but because retailers didn’t have internet access and couldn’t upload their special offers to the platform.

Today, internet and fibre are being installed in malls nationwide and salespota has another chance at life. We are already signing deals that are breathing air into this solution that came too early for first time success.

While salespota fermented in our technology vault, Instant Property was evolving from an idea into a viable platform. It’s the first of its kind and the only solution to service the commercial property market, providing businesses with free access more than eight million square metres of commercial and industrial space immediately available to rent.

Instant Property has numerous capabilities that include sales platform technology, leasing platform technology and big data capabilities, helping real estate industry players grow their property related businesses. However, it was also too early.

We had meeting after meeting, but the industry wasn’t interested.

Related: To buy or to rent? 3 Factors to consider before finding a home for your business

Did we give up?

Not a chance.

We continued to fine tune the platform and the features it offered until the market caught up and today we have customers around the globe. We have a company headquarters in the United States with 77 000 staff, we have clients in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, and we are working with industry-leading auctioneers, High Street Auctions Co., to provide them with their cross-platform real estate auction technology.

The moral of the story is simple – work on your idea, make sure you have a business plan, get a great team in place and ensure you have funding, but never forget the importance of timing.

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About the author

Wayne Berger

Wayne Berger is an experienced technology entrepreneur with the qualifications to match. He is a Director of Instant Property – a property platform that makes commercial real estate simple for the landlord, the broker and the tenant. Wayne is a serial entrepreneur with significant achievements under his belt, including the role of Managing Director of iShack Ventures, a Venture Builder mandated to develop disruptive technologies in property, fintech and big data. So far, both Wayne and the companies he created are doing an exceptional job of achieving this mandate.

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