We knew that finding a Product Manager who shared our passion for growing small businesses would be a tall order. And it seems the iKhokha Talent Team took the brief to heart by bringing us Andrew Roy from Johannesburg.
While Andrew may be one the most vertically inspired humans you’ll ever meet, his head certainly isn’t up in the clouds. In fact, in a few short months, Andrew has rallied a new team and is already on the cusp of launching a milestone product into the iKhokha universe.
If hustle is the air we breathe in the #iKTribe, he’s wasted no time filling his lungs.
From Platteland to Plaza de Toros
Born and bred in Johannesburg, Andrew graduated from the University of Johannesburg before setting out for some life experience in Europe and the United Kingdom.
“I ran with the bulls. You can say that. It makes me seem exceptional,” he quips.
But despite the allure of life as a famed bullfighter, Andrew’s true calling came under the fluorescents of a London tech hub rather than the stadium floodlights of Las Ventas.
“I worked at an internet café in London and formulated a love for technology. When I came back to South Africa, after having worked with computers, I decided to do a Microsoft certification, an MCSD. And that got me into programming,” he says.
And so, his journey began as a junior developer at Software Futures in Johannesburg. Here Andrew dipped his toe into programming for financial services for the first time. After two and a half years, he decided to leave the solitary life of a developer to work with more people.
His next step in his career took him into the world of consulting at Accenture, where he worked on challenging high-profile projects, including building a new technical architecture at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
Over the next few years, Andrew dabbled in software development, consulting and project management. He then landed a role at Rand Merchant Bank as a Business Analyst in the fixed income currency and commodity space, which he held for 8 years.
Get Up and Get Going
But after nearly a decade within the banking space, the time came for a change – so Andrew left RMB on a 3-month hiatus. If you’ve ever met Andrew, you’ll know that – in his own amenable way – he’s always up for a challenge. So, instead of taking some time off, he started a business.
He stepped back into his development groove and began creating valuable digital experiences, for the first time, under his name.
“What I love about software, design and product management is at the end of the day, there’s something on a screen somewhere that you produced that produces value for someone,” he says.
From digital hiking guides to a delivery app called GetGadget, Andrew spent his hiatus programming, problem-solving and creating. Then, while promoting his app, his next adventure began as he partnered with Ignitor, an organisation that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.
Unsurprisingly, the head honchos at Ignitor found out quickly what we at iKhokha have come to know. Andrew is the kind of guy you want on your team.
“I had quite a set of skills by then, so Ignitor asked me to teach entrepreneurs and SMEs to use the best methodologies to grow their businesses,” he says.
Shifting from Ignitor to Ignition
By this stage, it’s safe to say that Andrew is a man of the world. Having worked in software development, design, consulting, finance, and IT, having developed an app and started a business – you’d think he’d have the lay of the land and know which area he enjoyed most.
But always up for a challenge, Andrew decided to sink his teeth into something different, and in 2018 he started a new role as Product Manager at Cars.co.za. Responsible for everything digital, he relished the opportunity to learn and grow in a new space.
“It was techy. It was a startup – and a very successful one at that. It was a great opportunity to learn the Product Management discipline. It was a new discipline and one that really interested me,” he says.
Going Above and Beyond
At this point, I must give kudos to the iKhokha Talent Team, who managed to prise Andrew from the jaws of Johannesburg and Cars.co.za.
In all fairness, ours is a pursuit which (in my humble opinion) is a far better fit for the man. It brings his love for software and experience in entrepreneurship and financial services together in fintech.
When asked why he decided to take us up on our offer, his answer is simple.
“There must be purpose to my work. iKhokha has a very well-articulated vision and mission which is easy to buy into,” he says.
“Besides, it was a means to an end to get to the sea,” he adds with a smile.
A decision made for family, quality of life, and the opportunity to live each day as if it were the last, Andrew and his family left Joburg for KZN. A couple of months in, Andrew and his family are enjoying the East Coast’s natural wonders and laidback lifestyle.
Over the Hump
In his day-to-day at iKhokha, Andrew oversees the development of an exciting new product soon to be released into the iKhokha stable.
“The team has come together well. It’s a very productive team. We’ve laid a firm foundation, and soon we’ll be able to build more products off the back of that,” he says.
When asked why he enjoys being part of the iK Tribe, his answer befits his purpose-driven approach to his work.
“There’s a number of likeminded, motivated, skilled individuals pursuing one vision. That makes for a good place to work. You feel that the entire company is pursuing the same thing, and that is great momentum to have.”
Looking for a new challenge? Perhaps it’s time you join Andrew and the rest of the iK Tribe. Let’s grow South African businesses, together! Take a look at our careers page for more information.