South African payments startup SnapScan is one of the continent’s most obvious success stories, having been acquired by Standard Bank back in 2016. Having sought new challenges in 2019, the startup’s founders are now back in the entrepreneurial game with HR platform Radar.
Kobus Ehlers and Gerrit Greeff spent close to a decade building various payments products for and with banks, culminating in SnapScan, which became South Africa’s biggest mobile payments product prior to its acquisition by Standard Bank at the end of 2016.
“The acquisition allowed it to really scale and become one of the default ways South Africans pay for goods and services. In 2019 we decided it was time for a new challenge, and to tackle some of the other interesting problems we identified in working with more than 80 000 SMEs. SnapScan had a very capable team running it, and some new blood was also healthy for continuing the growth of that product,” Ehlers told Disrupt Africa.
Ehlers and Greeff started working on Radar alongside Richard Oakley in 2019, and signed up their first customers in 2020.
“We looked at many known pain points South African businesses faced, and concluded that the most significant impact we can make is to help companies better look after their employees,” said Ehlers.
“When the pandemic struck in 2020, it became even more critical for people to have great systems to keep their businesses growing even when not working from the traditional office.”
Radar is an integrated service that takes care of everything a business owner needs to grow and manage their team.
“We make sure you have all the tools you need to run your company’s HR function, do contracting, track and manage leave, and stay compliant. We also run your payroll and even handle the salary payments. We’ll even help you set up benefits like pension funds and medical aid for your employees. And all of this is available as an affordable online product with full self-service capabilities your employees can access directly,” Ehlers said.
Prior to Radar, he said South Africa lacked an integrated SME-focused solution that took care of all of a business’ people management requirements.
“There are some good payroll offerings and several products aimed at large corporates – but SMEs largely had to resort to many spreadsheets and emails to make sense of their HR admin. Many smaller companies also don’t have the luxury of a full-time HR department,” said Ehlers.
“We believe that a good, modern product that automates as much of the admin as possible can help a business avoid many headaches. We put a strong focus on integrating the different parts of your business and expose as much of the functionality as possible directly to employees to meet their needs via self-service. Radar is more than just software – we try to incorporate best practices into the design, making it easier for companies to make healthy employment choices.”
Primarily self-funded, the startup took on a minority investment in June 2020, but Ehlers said the biggest milestone was signing up the first – and every subsequent – customer.
“It’s great to see how a well thought out system can save people time and effort and make their businesses run better,” he said.
“Of course, it’s still early days, but we’re very confident that we are addressing a real need. Every good company is already prioritising their employees as a critical asset, and making sure that they are happy and well looked after just makes sense. With Radar, you can do this without all the pain of many different systems, spreadsheets and emails, and so much of the effort is automated.”
The startup is only operating in South Africa, with no immediate plans to expand.
“One of the real challenges in the space is that international products just don’t work in South Africa due to our particular tax and legal context. That’s why we built a product specifically for South Africa to ensure that companies can get the best experience possible,” said Ehlers.
And with their track record, you wouldn’t bet against Ehlers and Greeff making more history in the South African tech startup ecosystem. Radar is one to keep an eye on.