Website-builder VIGO gains traction while assisting SMEs

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South Africa-based website-building startup VIGO has set itself a goal of helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) prosper, and is gaining significant traction itself as a result.

VIGO first launched in August 2013, and is now on its second version. The platform is an online website builder that enables users – even if they do not have the relevant skills – to create their own professional websites.

The service works on any device, providing people with only mobile phones and tablets with a way to get their businesses online in a professional manner without breaking the bank.

“SMEs are failing rapidly all over the place as only 20 per cent of startups make it past year one for multiple reasons,” founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Carl Wallace told Disrupt Africa.

“We are trying to change this figure by working closely with corporates to provide the tech and information that will slow down the failing rate. Naturally anyone can use VIGO, personal, small or large companies. However my personal goal as an entrepreneur is to help other entrepreneurs become successful. That’s what drives me.”

The goal may be high-minded, but VIGO itself is seeing success from its platform. Around 2,500 businesses currently use VIGO, with Wallace believing it will hit 50,000 businesses by the end of this year. The company raised ZAR10 million (US$850,000) in its first funding round, and is in the process of raising another ZAR20 million (US$1.7 million). The company has expanded to Kenya and Nigeria, but is looking to scale further, and plans to expand its current team of 12 by two extra employees each month.

“We are a monthly subscription-based business that earns annuity income, allowing us to grow exponentially. We are very close to breaking even which is why it is the right time for our second capital raise,” Wallace said.

He attributed the startup’s growth to the fact it was satisfying a serious need within Africa’s SME sector.

“African business owners are desperately in need of a solution that works for them. Something so simple that they can use on any device without it being complicated. VIGO was developed in Africa for Africans in order to help African businesses thrive,” he said.

According to Wallace, VIGO is more than just a site builder.

“We are building an ecosystem of technology and information that will help grow the SME sector of Africa.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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