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Two South African marketplaces have made legal firm Webber Wentzel‘s list of 10 local startups expected to disrupt the country’s business landscape. HouseMe and SkillUp have been chosen to join the company’s Ignite legal incubation programme. 

Launched at the end of 2017, the programme offers startups legal services, mentorship, support, and targeting networking and profile-raising opportunities. “We’re hoping to form a long-term relationship of trust with the management team who see the potential and value in partnering with us to ensure their future success,” Webber Wentzel senior associate Aalia Manie (LinkedIn profiletold BusinessTech.  


HouseMeCape Town-based rental startup HouseMe connects tenants and landlords while automating the letting agency process. The company was founded by former investment banker Ben Shaw (LinkedIn profile) and developer Kyle Bradley (LinkedIn profile) in 2016.

The site charges landlords 2.5 percent of the rental price in exchange for online marketing, viewing coordination, tenant verification, documentation, and payment collection. HouseMe was expanded to serve the whole country in July last year, after experience 30 percent month-on-month growth, according to Disrupt Africa.

Agencies and DIY landlords compete with HouseMe but could equally be served as clients. Already a few copycat products have sprung up, but none with the technology that HouseME boasts,” Shaw told the news site at the time. 


SkillUpOnline education platform SkillUp is a marketplace for tutors and workshop providers. Students can search for vetted tutors based on language preferences, subject choices, level of education and location. Lesson scheduling and payments are handled securely on the site.

The company takes a commision from tutors listed on the site, but only 25 percent as opposed to the 40 to 70 percent claimed by traditional tutoring organizations. 

SkillUp was started by Matthew Henshall (LinkedIn profile), Federico Lorenzi (LinkedIn profile), Andrew Cowley (LinkedIn profile) and Kent Hawkins (LinkedIn profile) in 2016. Ventureburn reports that the team netted an undisclosed investment from venture capital company Knife Capital in April. The company plans to use the funds to scale the business internationally. 

The other startups included in the Webber Wentzel’s list are opinion mining company BrandsEye; cloud-based payments software company Electrum; machine learning specialists Data Prophet; fintech company Pattern Matched Technologies; ticket booking platform Quicket; insurance-focused IoT platform Sensor Networks; SaaS recruitment firm Leaply; and insurance platform Click2Sure