Van Zyl Botha

Van Zyl moved from Johannesburg to Stellenbosch in 2012 to focus on the TMT industry and was part of HeroTel’s founding team. He co-invested with Alan Knott-Craig to lay the foundation for the group. He served as Financial Director, but focussed on and executed the company’s M&A strategy covering more than 30 strategic acquisitions. He was also responsible for raising capital and debt from initial angel, seed, venture, private equity, a rights issue and the current senior structured debt.

As the company is now moving towards organic growth and integration, Van Zyl was tasked by the board to serve as its Chief Executive Officer from 2019.

Before life at HeroTel, and after obtaining his qualification as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 2003, Van Zyl continued in the profession as an audit manager. He left the financial assurance industry and created a financial consulting firm focused on across the board private equity and the mining industry. He consulted to companies listed in SA, London and New York and private equity firms in Europe and in the USA. Van Zyl has been instrumental in mergers, acquisitions and the accompanying regulatory requirements of the JSE, TRP, Competition Commission and the SARB.

He has also dealt with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the USA and American Depository Receipt programs though the Bank of New York Mellon (www.bnymellon.com). In addition he served on the forensic and litigation team of a listed company where recoveries in excess of R1.2 billion were made. Van Zyl joined the corporate world in 2006 and was promoted to serve on the board of a listed mining company as Financial Director at the age of 29.

Alan Knott-Craig Jr

Alan is the founder of Project Isizwe, a non-profit company managing the deployment of the largest public Free WiFi network in South Africa. He is the former CEO of Mxit, Africa’s biggest social network and founder of World of Avatar, an investment house for mobile apps for Africa.

Alan was CEO of iBurst from 2006 to 2009, building one of South Africa’s largest wireless broadband networks. In 2003 Alan founded Cellfind, one of the African continent’s first location-based services providers. Between 2003 and 2013 he co-founded and funded 17 companies in the TMT sector in Africa, including Cellfind, Lucky Mobile, iFind34600, COLV, World of Avatar, Toodu, FSMS, Triloq, 6th Line, Daily Maverick, ARC Telecoms, Pondering Panda, MorMor Media and Boom.fm.

In April 2008 Alan published Don’t Panic, a best-selling book aimed at persuading South Africans to stay in the country. In 2009 he was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2012 he co-authored Mobinomics, the story of Mxit, the biggest social network originating in Africa. In 2014 he published Really, Don’t’ Panic and Moenie Stres Nie, a follow up the 2008 edition of Don’t Panic. Alan qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 2002.