South African startup Springleap, which last month closed a US$400,000 funding round from a consortium of local and British investors, is expecting further investment in the next six months.
Springleap, which was founded in Cape Town in 2007 as a crowdsourced platform for t-shirt designs, has since pivoted into a conduit for clients to access thousands of creatives for design, creative research and co-creation projects, while also opening offices in Johannesburg and New York.
Last month’s funding round secured US$400,000 from angel investors Colenso Capital, Clearwater, Kevin Gaskell and Crystal Bay Capital, Springleap’s first funding round as the company had previously sustained itself through sales.
Chief executive officer (CEO) Eran Eyal told Disrupt Africa the startup was working hard on closing the second round in the next six months “at latest”, though he could not divulge its size.
He said the growth potential of Springleap was “enormous” and “very scalable”, as it was playing at the intersect of the powerful advertising and research markets.
“On the one hand, we’re helping brands and agencies find scale in variety of creative by tapping into our global community. Especially, pan-Africa, our clients are enjoying the access to localised talent, execution and insights,” Eyal said.
“On the other side of the equation, we’ve developed a powerful product product that allows brands, agencies and startups to tap into design thinking and critical feedback on design and emerging trends using our agency-class community.”
He said the South African startup ecosystem was maturing quickly, but needed more support from government.
“It’s nowhere near what’s happening in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles, but these locations have had a huge head start,” he said.
“There are some phenomenal people pushing the ecosystem in South Africa forward, such as Vinny Lingham, Eric Edelstein, Ariel Navarro, Kay Inkster and Marc Elias, so the future definitely looks rosier than ever before. It’s a rhetoric, but until South Africa sorts out the draconian IP restrictions, reserve bank issues and access to real funding at realistic tech valuations – the ecosystem will not make the huge leap it needs. We need a paradigm shift in the way the government thinks and delivers.”
Springleap’s investors are optimistic about the company’s future.
“The team at Springleap had gained significant traction in a short amount of time with Fortune 500 brands and have a big vision to empower the creative industry,” said Kevin Gaskell, chairman of the Springleap advisory board.
“The pivot at Springleap made a lot of sense, but we are also backing Eran’s ambitions and vision, here. In a short time, he’s brought a world class team and advisors together around Springleap and positioned the business for huge potential,” said Colenso Capital’s Tim Leclecrq.