The founders of South African virtual tax assistant TaxTim say that, for all its strengths, last week’s DEMO-Africa event in Nairobi, Kenya lacked the organisation required to make the event more smooth running.
While the welcome was impeccable, and a good crowd of investors attended, TaxTim co-founder Marc Sevitz felt the lack of discipline left presenters feeling lost.
He did, however, say that they received a positive welcome from demonstrators and investors across the three day event.
“We received great feedback from the other demonstrators and other delegates about our presentation,” he said. “There also seemed to be much interest from the delegates themselves which we are hoping will translate to some partnerships across Africa. Generally TaxTim was well received and I think people could see the passion and belief we have in our product.”
Having received extensive feedback with a view to expansion, Sevitz notes a key strategic outcome prompted by feedback at the event is to focus on finding an African partner.
However, he also noted: “The DEMO-Africa event, while run well and attracting a good crowd of investors and other interested parties, could have been more disciplined in its organisation. As demonstrators we were often left feeling unsure of the actual program which kept changing all the time.”
Overall, though, the TaxTim founders felt as an inaugural event drawing together teams from across Africa, the DEMO-Africa was a success, with much potential for expansion in coming years. In Sevitz’s assessment, “being the first of its kind in Africa there were bound to be hiccoughs and overall we got some great exposure and the event was a success.”
Asked to name the top three things about the DEMO Africa event, the TaxTim team did not hesitate to commend the people they met, listing: “The Kenyan people and their friendliness and hospitality; the people we met from all over Africa and the ideas we saw; and the drive and determination of every team member there to solve a problem and create solutions for themselves, their country and Africa.”
What, then, should organisers take on board when planning next year’s event?
“Better internet connection and possibly more delegates from VCs and other interested parties would improve the event,” says Sevitz. “It would have been nice for us to get a list of the delegates so we could approach them as well.”