[Startup Interview] Marthinus Coetzee, CEO, iPTT Africa, South Africa
Iptt africa (pty) Limited is a South African telecommunications startup that solves the communication problems faced by many businesses and organizations in Africa through its italkptt platform that allows businesses to communicate from anywhere in Africa to anywhere in the world. The CEO Marthinus Coetzee elaborates.
Briefly introduce your company
iPTT Africa (Pty) Ltd was created to solve the communication problems faced by many businesses and organisations in Africa. Using the iTalkPTT platform, it is now possible to communicate from anywhere to anywhere in the world.
POC (Press-to-talk Over Cellular) also referred to as PTT Radios is a digital network radio making use of cellular phone networks. These devices operate like conventional Two Way Radios but with instant access to up to 1000 devices in one channel.
PoC radios (Push-to-talk over Cellular) are is essence VoIP devices that serve grouped users.
Similar to Skype or Zoom, voice communication is achieved using the Internet, except that the audio connection is not continuous and like traditional radio transceivers the party speaking has to keep a PTT (push-to-talk) button depressed. There can be only one user talking at a time, but everyone in that group can hear the transmission.
Being state-of-the-art, modern devices, PoC transceivers also offer additional features over traditional analogue radio systems.
Who are the founders of iPTT Africa and what are their professional backgrounds?
Marthinus Coetzee (MBA) started his career in Two Way Radios in 1986 when he joined the South African Airforce Telecommunications Unit. During his period with SAAFTC he was seconded to the Department of Environmental affairs as HF Technician and had the privilege to go to Marion Island, Gough Island and the South African Antarctic Base SANAE.
Marthinus completed his Trade in Two Way Radio repairs in 1989 and after completing his N6 he was awarded his National N Diploma. In 2004 he completed his MBA degree through the UNISA SBL and Open University UK partnership.
In 1993 he joined Trans Rsa (Kenwood) who later years became Global Communications as Senior Technician doing component level repairs on Kenwood HF, VHF and UHF Two Way Radios. During his years with Kenwood he also serviced clients across Africa and the Middle East.
In 1995 the company secured a National UHF contract with ARMSCOR and he was promoted to GM for Ikwezi Maintenance and Communication. In charge of the Military UHF and MARNET / NEAR Repeater Networks Nationally he has the opportunity to travel South Africa extensively.
How is iPTT Africa financed?
What are – in your opinion – the dynamics shaping the telecommunications industry?
We supply Two Way Radios to all Industries but with the crime rate in South Africa escalating more and more security companies and emergency services turn to us for help.
Why did you start iPTT Africa? What opportunities did you see?
I started in the Two Way Radio Industry in October 1986 and always had a passion for Two Way Radios and helping clients resolve communication problems.
What problem or problems does iPTT Africa solve?
We help companies communicate with their staff nationally and internationally.
What gives iPTT Africa the competitive edge?
We service clients in the remotes part of Africa and our clients know that they will have communications when we leave a site.
Who are your customers?
And really any company who needs to talk to more than one person at a time.
What does iPTT Africa need in order to grow?
We are growing slowly with a solid customer base and our foundation and product is solid. Some extra funding for sales and marketing would help us grow faster but then again we also don't want to outgrow our current capacity.
What is your growth strategy?
We make sure that we have the best customers and deliver the best service. Rather grow slowly with a solid reoccurring customer base. Our clients always come back and know that we are part of their business and their success is ours.
In which markets are you looking to establish your presence?
We have a solid customer base in South Africa and will continue growing on that.
Marthinus the Owner / Director has worked in all African Countries and the Middle East and part of our growth strategy is to broaden our footprint across the African continent.
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
Building on our solid customer base and only signing up good customers who becomes our partners and is in it for the long term.
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