- “We saw potential right from the get-go with Shopstar. It’s a local business that walks the road alongside its customers and it is 100 per cent invested in their success. Our aim is now to scale quickly and we are looking to double revenue this year,” said managing partner Zachariah George.
Founded in 2014, Shopstar is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that enables local entrepreneurs to build online stores and grow their businesses by offering easy to use, professional services.
After assessing the business potential in late 2018, seasoned entrepreneur and investor Mike Joubert started a second round of investment and became its majority shareholder, beginning its turnaround strategy and starting scaling it for growth.
“What sets Shopstar apart from other e-commerce offerings is that its entire purpose is focused on helping South African entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses, and make sales. This sets it apart from the bigger international platforms – we have a passionate belief in making South Africa a better place by growing the South African entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Joubert said.
The business has now secured further funding from Launch Africa Ventures, which has provided early-stage investment for over 60 high-potential African tech startups so far.
As part of its growth plan, local entrepreneur Chris Edington has been brought on board as CEO to lead the business and take it forward.
“What really got me excited about Shopstar is its simplicity and relevance to South African entrepreneurs. It is simple, easy and user-friendly. You can get an online shop started in five easy steps, in under 10 minutes and with no coding knowledge or design experience required,” Edington said.
“It means it’s incredibly democratic – now, any entrepreneur, whatever stage of their journey they are on, is able to open their business up to endless possibilities and audiences. And we offer unique professional services to also help them make sales.”
Edington will be implementing ways to develop the Shopstar platform so that it also provides the necessary tools to help small businesses start, operate and grow.
“We are introducing new ways to assist our customers grow their businesses and make more sales. We have just introduced Shopstar Boost, which offers a suite of services aimed at getting our customers up and operating with professional stores in no time. This includes store design, graphic design such as logos, getting started on social media and copywriting – essentially bridging the gap between SMEs and the marketing agency services they often can’t afford,” he said.
“We were also first to offer South African dropshipping, which allows customers to build their own shop and sell products from hundreds of other small businesses – essentially a risk-free way of getting started quickly.”