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From startup to scale-up - Takeaways from Ukheshe's inspiring growth journey

Ukheshe Technologies Employees

Startups as we know them today are the great disruptors of society, rooted in innovation and intent on solving deficiencies in existing systems, or creating entirely new ones. Their goal is to change the world for the better, and they want to do it at scale.

Finding yourself in a startup environment can be a challenging, but enlightening experience, as it doesn’t run like a fully fledged corporation, but is expected to. Due to their disruptive nature, processes can be messy and budgets less than ideal, but with a great team of people, who share the same values and are agile and flexible in their day-to-day duties, successful outcomes can be achieved, and growth is inevitable. This was the case with Ukheshe Technologies, who now find themselves in the exciting position of scaling up into a fully-fledged corporation.

When exactly does a startup like Ukheshe become a scale-up? The simple answer is – when it has ‘grown up’; it has a proven business model and is starting to scale its revenue. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), scale-ups are companies that are growing at 20 percent per year over a three-year period.

Ukheshe’s transformation from a South African startup to a pan-African fintech

Since Ukheshe Technologies’ launch in 2018, the fintech enablement partner has grown considerably, going from less than 15 employees to over 100 across multiple locations, and still growing as the company looks to further expand its product offering into new geographies in 2022.

The first few years of growth for a company can be rough, but these are the important years. You need to grow your client base, find the right employees who believe in your journey and settle into office spaces or find larger ones. Teamwork during this time, when there is a lot to get done in a short space of time, is crucial. This has been key to Ukheshe’s successful rise from startup to scale-up, whose team has the right combination of skills, creativity and talent all geared towards a collective goal. The willingness of its staff to wear multiple hats, pool their abilities and work together has made this transformation possible.

Taking a leaf out of Ukheshe’s book, here are indicators on whether your business is ready to go to the next level:

Scaling your business

  • You have a good product or service that satisfies the market and customers are quickly acquiring it, revenue is increasing and you’re hiring more people.

  • You have a repeatable sales model. Repeatable processes free up time and resources, which means you are able to access data faster, hire faster, market better, pay more easily and streamline operations for scalability.

  • You’re at the advanced funding stage. Early-stage funding constitutes the seed and Series A rounds, where investors back an idea and need proof that you have a working business model that can be scaled. The Series B round is all about scaling, which is where Ukheshe is now, expanding into new markets and growing its team.

  • You have distinct leadership roles in the company. Building the right team is critical to pushing your company forward and scaling the business.

  • You have good skills training. Scaling is all about investing in your business, which means extensive training and development programs. Ukheshe has regular training sessions on product development, fraud and more.

Only 1 out of 200 businesses manage to grow from startup to scale-up; to be part of the 0.5 percent, taking these indicators into consideration will put you on the right track. The team at Ukheshe prides itself on creating the agile environment needed to nurture start-ups, encouraging growth and pushing not only individual boundaries but also those of the team and the company as a whole to provide collaborative, innovative and impactful solutions to its customers.


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