How To Start A Tech Startup in 2024

Zanele shares how she immersed herself in starting Welo Health & mistakes new founders should avoid.
January 15, 2024

If you’re amped to build something innovative in South Africa this year, then this week’s How Would You Build It podcast is for you. We spoke to the ever-vibrant Zanele Matome, founder of Welo Health, and she has some remarkable insights into building a MedTech, as well as some awesome general startup advice.

Some of the highlights…

1. Taking the leap & being bold

Zanele says she was in a mining job when the entrepreneur bug bit her. Then, engaging with some people in tech inspired her to want to head to Silicon Valley, to immerse herself in what tech was all about.

However, as she explains here, Zanele had nothing but the clothes on her back and 3 kids in tow. But then a “happy accident” with the old car she was driving gave her an insurance payment just big enough to cover a plane ticket to San Fransisco, so they risked everything and went – a move she credits as enabling her to come back to SA and build Welo Health.

2. Build up your core tech team internally

Zanele explains that she’d made the strategic decision early on the outsource most of their development but regrets not building an internal tech team when they had successful funding rounds.

Having an internal dev and CTO, made up of people who are inside the company and share your vision is key, she says. 

3. Be smart about managing your cash flow 

Zanele also has some great insights on managing startup money. She advises, as a startup getting corporate or government contracts, to negotiate faster payment options – even if you have to lose up to 50% of the contract value just to get them to agree, getting paid faster is more important in the early days, she feels.

Then, she recommends saving and building up a windfall of 6 to 12 months of operational expenses in the bank as soon as possible, and to think twice before making any hires.