An African Digital Agency on the Cutting Edge”, Pixel Entropy aims to create “order out of chaos” and get South African companies working smarter by thinking differently about technology and its impact on their business. We spent half an hour with Tebogo Mokobo, the energetic young founder of Pixel Entropy for a little chat about his progress as an entrepreneur and small business owner on the Accenture Enterprise Supplier Development programme over the past 16 months.
In his own words, Tebogo shares his lifelong commitment to learning and how that helped him launch an internationally award-winning app that is helping to address the HIV/Aids crisis in Southern Africa through information and support.
Mine is not really a rags to riches story but for any small business the struggle is real. Growing up with a school principle as a mom, education was always the priority. She also managed to see me awarded a full academic scholarship at Saint Stithians so success was not an option… I had to make good. I think my parents would have preferred me to become something respectable, like a teacher, doctor or lawyer but I had dreams of becoming a footballer!
Coming to the big city for school and later university opened my eyes to a world of opportunity. I enrolled in a BCom Accounting at Midrand Campus (MGD) but dropped out in the first year and got into the events space, doing promotions at nightclubs and that sort of thing, which eventually led to my own small eventing company where I got to work on some awesome events for the SABC and ad agencies such as TBWA, but I realised I had stopped learning.
So, I went back to school, completing my Brand Marketing Honours at Vega within five years, working at the same time for Core Group (the local Apple IOS distributors) handling order management for the ZA Store Online, the precursor to the iStore. The experience gave me valuable insight into the online purchasing environment which I apply to this day.
I then scooped an opportunity with Times Media, selling ad space for online newspapers and gained exposure to SA’s emerging digital media space.
With the advent of mobile, Sunday Times decided they wanted a subscription app, and so Amorphous Media (the digital agency of Times Media) was born, with me at the centre of it all, dealing with app developers and content people (the whole new value chain of app development).
“I saw that with my experience in the digital media space, I could create my own entity, and I opted for app development.”
Our first big project was for the Gauteng Department of Health who wanted an app for HIV/Aids. The Pasop GP App was such a hit that we were invited to present it at the International Aids Conference in Durban in 2016. This opportunity to raise the profile of South African innovation gave me the courage to approach Accenture to help us refine our offering ahead of global conference.
Today, Pixel Entropy has experience in online media, e-commerce, in app advertising and we operate out of a swanky new office on Keyes Avenue, the design district in Rosebank. It hasn’t been smooth sailing all the way. Risk-averse clients who struggle to justify spend on new solutions, or believe they can do it themselves, battle to see the value we bring.
While there is great will from government and the private sector to transform the economy through entrepreneurship, we need to see a mindset shift for the inclusion of African contributions. I’d say it’s a great time to be innovating, but not an easy time
The help we’ve received from Accenture, however, has really helped us see the bigger, global picture. The training sessions and time with our mentor made me think differently about business, how to hunt down new business. If there are no sales, then there is no business.
In five years’ time, I look forward to seeing our mobile tech game expanding into new aspects. Currently, we can do app dev and a bit of gaming, but we want to move into augmented reality, virtual reality, new ideas.”
“The Accenture training sessions/speakers made me think differently about business, how to hunt down new business. If there are no sales, then there is no business.”
Tebogo’s vision:To see Pixel Entropy’s mobile tech game expand – into unchartered territory, such as AR and VR