Our June profile is none other than Jaco Gerrits – one of Africa’s most acclaimed technology entrepreneurs. International Business Magazine recently selected him as the ‘Top Young Achiever of the Year’ in the South African technology sector. Jaco is also a previous winner of the Top Technology Entrepreneur in Africa Award and his latest venture, CrashDetech – a multi award-winning life-saving app, continues to receive international acclaim.

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Ambitious. Dreamer. Doer.

When I was a kid I wanted to be…..
A fighter pilot – still want to be one every now and then…

 You have a lot of awards under your belt. What do you believe has been the main driver of your success?
It’s funny how awards are always well documented, but few mention the endless challenges and failures one has to endure as an entrepreneur. I’ve learned over the years that failure should be used to your advantage. Simply put – failure is nothing other than valuable feedback, allowing you to pivot and to try different approaches until you find one which works.

Tell us about your latest venture, CrashDetech.
CrashDetech is a multi-award winning app, which auto-detects a serious car crash using only the sensors in your phone, pinpoints your location, and immediately dispatches the nearest ambulance. We also supply vital medical information to responding paramedics to ensure correct medical treatment. We offer various additional value-added benefits as part of our subscription packages, looking after the safety and security of our members whilst on the road.

How would you describe CrashDetech’s marketing strategy?
We’re on a drive to increase awareness of our products and services. Digital channels are primarily used and we’re focused on establishing a strong, value-based relationship with our community.

How do you work with performance-based affiliate marketing?
We have various campaigns, including but not limited to CPL, CPA and hybrid campaigns. I enjoy the fact that we can jointly work on and implement models, which is designed to benefit all parties involved.

Your view on the future landscape for online businesses in South Africa?
It’s definitely an exciting space and one which cannot be ignored. We’re lagging a few years behind leading markets, but I foresee strong future growth. Smartphone penetration & internet access is on the rise, whilst data costs are decreasing all the time. This results in greater reach and better market access for online businesses.

What advice do you have for aspiring tech entrepreneurs?
Starting a business requires hard work and you can expect numerous challenges along the way. There are external challenges such as funding, talent acquisition and technology. More importantly, there are internal challenges such as stress, fear and self-doubt.

You have to power through serious mental hurdles in order to start a business and make it a success. You’re guaranteed to experience setbacks and failures along the startup journey. Adopting a positive mindset in order to learn from and constructively deal with these setbacks is a key ingredient for success.

When I’m not working, I’m…
Either out on the golf course, relaxing with family and friends, or enjoying a good book.

For more information on Jaco’s latest venture visit www.crashdetech.com