The ELEVATION story
ELEVATION Holdings is a boutique player in the start-up ecosystem.
We act as guides, researchers and kick-starters to high growth, high impact businesses and their founders. We also step in as angel investors on the right ventures.
ELEVATION started in 2006, creating Project FinLit and Price Angel. Then the founders, Jason Levin and Liesl Loubser, went on an incredible journey from 2008 to 2016. This took the form of a marketing hotshop, HDI Youth Marketeers, which they exited after sale and earn-out (to US listed marketing group, Omnicom, via TBWA).
But since 2017, ELEVATION is back! The focus now is seed and even pre-seed start-ups. And we get particularly excited about businesses that are ambitious about building the future.
ELEVATION created the 2017 report on the SA start-up ecosystem: 'Unicorns, Gazelles and Leapfrogs: a discussion paper on accelerating the South African start-up ecosystem towards world class'.
Research & Insight
The Report about unicorns, antelopes and frogs
In June 2017, ELEVATION released a report on the SA start-up ecosystem: 'Unicorns, Gazelles and Leapfrogs: a discussion paper on accelerating the South African start-up ecosystem towards world class'.
Joburg and Cape Town together now have an estimated 1,300 high growth, high impact, venture-backed tech and innovation businesses. But we are not growing at the rate of our Eastern European (and other) competitors, and this discussion paper looks at the state of the ecosystem, and ways it can be rapidly advanced.
Marketing & Media investment
ELEVATION is proud to have helped found TILT in 2017.
TILT are influence architects.
They use social media content, influencers, celebrities and trend-setters, but also ‘traditional’ media and real world experiences to build deep connections with digitally-driven audiences, millennials and other early adopters.
They also understand that people believe people, not brands. They are legacy- and baggage-free, so they're smart, agile and offer great value.
They are TILT. The unfair advantage.
Youth Development & Edtech
This initiative teaches life skills, builds a sense of purpose and cultivates a 'can do' attitude. It is created for 16-25 year olds.
Since 2014, Pride Factor has been doing this work face-to-face through roadshows and events, but the online academy now reaches youth at scale, in a video learning series. The lessons are short, powerful and assessed in real time.
Elevation helped craft the proposition and the go-to-market. Courses are sold 'retail' to youth consumers, or 'wholesale' to corporate sponsors whose contributions allow x number of teens or young adults to access the lessons, as the 'lost generation' slowly gets reclaimed!
Edtech & Robotics
STEM NATION'S GROBOT
Robotics kits help kids, around the world, get to grips with technology and electronics, and also to help develop Industry 4.0 problem solving skills and a general growth mindset.
But these resources are price-prohibitive for many markets, including most of Africa.
2018 saw the pairing of affordable educational robotics kits built for emerging markets and a programme to make these useful to both educators and learners. STEM NATION takes hardware, software and knowledge to children in under-resourced schools ...and magic is released.
Corporates can sponsor roll-outs to selected schools. And schools, themselves, find the budget to acquire the kits that do as good a job as their American and European counter-parts, but at a fraction of the cost.
Project FinLit is a consumer financial literacy product that uses soap opera celebrities to help excite middle market consumers about money and how to manage it.
Season I was rolled out in partnership with FNB to hundreds of communities and schools in line with the banking charter.
ELEVATION then divested of the IP, the bank took the system in-house and executed the subsequent seasons as 'Imali Matters'.
Do you need help getting your start-up ignited? Contact us today to get ahead.
SERVICES & PROJECTS
Taking you there
MAKE A DENT IN THE UNIVERSE
"We are bold, optimistic and forever curious about what can be achieved by entrepreneurs and the rapidly advancing African and South African ecosystems."
Jason Levin, Elevation
SERVICES & PROJECTS
Taking you there
We have a strong future focus. And projects to date have had a leaning towards youth, edtech, social enterprise and marketing.
We have rolled out projects in community development, financial literacy, social media and VR, and still have investments in most of these areas.
Services offered include:
Business planning and BDS
Proposition refinement and product-market fit
Research and customer proposition crafting
TIPS & RESOURCES
Get your great on!
This is the Johannesburg-based chapter of the national angel investing group, SABAN.
Its founder, Abu Cassim, and his team run networking events for angels and entrepreneurs, as well as courses and upskilling sessions. Jozi Angels's business angel investors are active in seed and growth investing in the city, but also the country and beyond. Elevation is a member of the organisation.
Up until 2013, South Africa never had a start-up 'industry' body. One was formed then by visionary founders including Pieter de Villiers and Jason Goldberg. It came into its own in 2015, when full-time CEO, Matsi Modise, climbed onboard. They're the go-to people for high impact, high growth founders in SA. Keep up the good work.
The Startup Genome guys are pretty much the de facto standard in start-up ecosystem plotting and success recipe research.
The latest report covers many more emerging market ecosystems than before, including South Africa, so take a look.
Ms. Vital is a design genius. She has found an incredibly elegant and insightful way of telling start-up stories: both general and specific. She has plotted the paths of everyone from Jeff Bizos to Elon Musk to Pokemon. Kudos, Anna!
This is one of our favourite local industry news sites/blog. It covers some of the major TechCrunch type content, but focuses on South African, sub-Saharan and emerging market issues. It's normally current and insightful. A useful resource for start-up players.
It seems crazy that there are now over 220 unicorns (start-ups valued at USD1bn or more). But there are.
It's a pretty crowded club. But wouldn't you like to be a member?
Well, Crunch Base (an off-shoot from Tech Crunch) lists all the seriously sized start-ups worldwide, and is a handy resource.
The Matt Brown Show (podcast)
Matt is one of the most committed local business and entrepreneurship podcasters (i.e., he never dropped it after 12 episodes ; ) ).
His show is weekly (it was originally called the Digial Kungfu podcast series), and interviews 90% local players in the start-up space, providing insights that are sometimes mildly interesting and sometimes absolutely riveting.
Download a couple and see for yourself.