The Koi fish will not grow larger than the pond in which it lives


I help people to
create a better world

I work with entrepreneurs, incubators, universities and corporates across Southern Africa through consulting, mentoring, workshops and talks.


About me

I've cofounded and helped build two successful IT companies.  The first was acquired by Datatec, the second was backed by Sanlam, Venfin and Mark Shuttleworth, became a world leader in mobile payments, and was acquired by VISA in 2011 for $110m.

My Koi platform for entrepreneurship has been used by Microsoft, mLab, the Bandwidth Barn, the Innovation Hub and Stellenbosch University to train hundreds of their entrepreneurs over the past five years.  You can read more about Koi here.

My interest in ecology also led to me playing an early role in the work that led to the Garden Route being legislated as a protected area. My other passion is working with people.  I do youth ministry, run workshops on parenting, and work with township teenagers.

There's more about me on my blog Diary of a Change Agent.

What my clients say

Helping the CEO of CareerJunction to scope a new venture strategy

"Five hard working days were spent in the Ambassador Hotel in Cape Town to thrash out a new venture business strategy which involved amazing creative minds getting together to produce a world class model.  Neil contributed enormously to the various options facing us in the new internet world of Web 2.0 as well as Web 3.0.  Together as a team we were able to cut through business complexities and put together a comprehensive approach to new ways of Internet operability in our chosen business sectors.

Neil’s energy and enthusiasm coupled with his internet savviness was a fantastic experience.  Neil brings enormous value to any organisation which is willing to look at opportunities differently.  Neil has loads of experience from which to tap and together with our own experiences, we were able to produce clear process thinking which we tested making some broad assumptions of what the future will look like in the new Internet world.  I would work with Neil anytime again and CareerJunction will undoubtedly work with Neil again in the future."

                                         -Kris Jarzebowski, CEO of CareerJunction, Avusa
                                          (the largest employment site in Africa)

Helping Surgical Consent to craft a strategy for their new company

It is a pleasure to write an endorsement for your services and for the input you have given to our new business.  I was impressed on many counts with your approach towards building strategy, but, for me, a few things stood out.

Firstly, it is readily apparent that you keep yourself fully informed and up to date with new web and IT developments.  This is even more evident in the many emails and links you have sent us long after your services have been paid for, and indicates an ongoing interest and service on our behalf.

Secondly, you shared a wealth of experience and examples of good and bad corporate strategy from many industries, detailing lessons that we would not have to relearn.

Thirdly, like any good counsellor, we were led in directions where we were able to devise solutions to our problems ourselves, with appropriate warnings from you in some areas and encouragement in others.

Fourthly, your energy and enthusiasm long outlasted ours, and extended well into the social environment, over lunches, dinners and long 'bottle of wine' discussions.

I look forward to a long and productive association!

                                 -Dr Martin Young, CEO of Surgical Consent

In the press

"There are two extremes of the many ways to start a high-tech company: slowly and cautiously over a period of years, or rapidly with the aid of millions in investment. Neil Hinrichsen has done both: his company Realtime was started in a converted warehouse and grew slowly, eventually being bought by Datatec in 1997; Fundamo, a mobile payments service that he co-founded in 1999, exploded from a good idea to a global business in just a few months with the backing of some large investors during the dot-com boom".

                                         -Brainstorm Magazine, September 2010


"Question & Answer with startup mentor Neil Hinrichsen"Read more... 

                                          -Die Burger, October 2013