Start-up eyes Africa's workplace collaboration market
Tapping into IBM technologies Watson and Bluemix, Johannesburg-based Connect-2-Me (C2Me) is looking to disrupt the workplace collaboration market in Africa.
The start-up was founded in 2016 by four long-time business associates - Gary Swale, Ray Hayes, Eugene Theron and Lloyd Thompson - who previously owned Knowledge Dimension, an IBM business.
C2Me is a cloud-based business collaboration platform that removes barriers so that all members of the workforce are engaged, empowered and help the business to transform, says Swale.
"It creates an ecosystem that enables organisations to deliver meaningful and compelling value to people in and outside the organisation, through addressing gaps in communication, supporting responsiveness and driving innovation.
"Many businesses continue to operate in silos, which compounds existing barriers to communication. Add to this, the disconnect in organisations between employees who are 'online' and those who aren't, and an even larger rift in communication, productivity and efficiency is caused."
The company is entirely funded by the four founders so far.
"We are at a stage where we have proven the concept, both in terms of technology and customer acceptance, and would be open to holding discussions with parties who could assist with developing and growing the business from both a funding perspective as well as being able to open doors in terms of access to markets and customers," says Swale. "We have an opportunity to create another South African success story."
Hamilton Ratshefola, country GM for IBM SA, says C2Me is a business partner to IBM and has a viable business model.
"However, before we brought them onto our Enterprise Development Programme, they did not have adequately skilled staff to enable them to scale up their business and elicit big deals," Ratshefola points out.
Swale adds C2Me was developed in, and hosted in, IBM Bluemix. "We have successfully integrated selected IBM Watson services into the C2Me platform. So this is a South African world-class solution using state-of-the-art technologies."
Bluemix is a cloud platform for developers to build and run modern apps and services. It enables developers to launch quickly, iterate continuously and scale with success, says Ratshefola.
Watson is IBM's artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language.