[Interview] Peter-John Woest, Sales Manager, CAD4Africa, South Africa
Peter-John Woest is Sales Manager in the South African eCommerce site, CAD4Africa, a provider of design technology that is now expanding into Nigeria and Kenya.
Would you please introduce your company?
CAD4Africa is South Africa's largest CAD (Computer Aided Design) Software eCommerce site and a leading provider of design technology and CAD solutions to engineering and architecture professionals.
When and why was it set up?
Our eCommerce was launched in South Africa in 2015 with a mission to bring the biggest choice of CAD software at the lowest prices to Africa.
In the last few years we’ve seen a major shift in the biggest global CAD players, who are discontinuing their perpetual licensing models and introducing sweeping changes in the reseller landscape. Our founders spotted an opportunity in the market and at CAD4Africa we’ve embraced this change to our advantage.
What is your CAD4Africa’s unique selling point?
CAD4Africa’s vision and business model is to have one brand for the entire continent with regionally focused eCommerce sites. The traditional (Value Added Reseller) VAR models that our competition uses is not sustainable anymore. The reseller’s profit margin is much smaller and the only way to remain competitive is by eCommerce, which allows us to be super efficient at volume sales, have a choice of different CAD solutions at the lowest prices, and highly automated system that we can easily replicate to other countries in Africa. Apart from that, we take pride in having great customer service.
What support, if any, did you receive from theindustry community when starting CAD4Africa?
The founders of CAD4Africa have been involved in CAD industry for the last 15 years during which they have developed relationships with leading CAD vendors. So we can say we’ve had really strong support from global CAD brands. There’s a lot of coworking spaces in South Africa now and as a small team, we have made use of them from the beginning. Support from a local community of startups and entrepreneurs where we can share ideas and grow our network is crucial at the beginning.
Is CAD4Africa publicly or privately funded?
We’re privately funded. CAD4Africa is a joint venture between European and South African founders.
Has your company entered into any strategic partnerships?
We needed a partner that could help us with business development activities and how to navigate new markets and we’ve found it in AccelerAfrica. Not only did we get help with fast, efficient and low-cost start in other African countries, but also AccelerAfrica is sharing risk and revenue with us. Hopefully they’ll help us to find strategic partners and sales channels in Nigeria and Kenya.
What can you say about the changes and developments your company has undergone since its inception?
We had to rebuild our original B2B eCommerce platform in order to have all the necessary features that can integrate and synchronize with third parties and make it easily adaptable to each regional market in Africa.
What’s the latest news from CAD4Africa?
eCommerce allows distributors to enter markets in new territories or geographic areas. After our success in South Africa, we are excited to launch eCommerce sites CAD4Africa Nigeria and CAD4Africa Kenya, and we look forward to bringing the newest CAD solutions at best prices in the rest of Africa.
What can be expected of CAD4Africa this year?
Cross-border B2B eCommerce has taken off over the past few years and it provides a significant growth opportunity for CAD4Africa. In 2018 our focus is on getting the feedback from customers in Nigeria and Kenya while retaining leading position in South Africa.
In which market do you expect to have the most success this year?
Running a B2B eCommerce channel is not the same as traditional B2C. Outbound sales still account for the closing of our larger deals and the sales cycle is much longer, even for smaller orders. Another important factor is that Nigeria and Kenya’s software piracy rate stands at 80 percent. Therefore in Nigeria and Kenya, we don’t expect the big volume of sales in 2018 and South Africa will remain our main market in 2018.
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