The story behind Twangoo's success
This article first appeared in Siliconcape.com.
Daniel Guasco and Wayne Gosling are the founders of Twangoo, the collective buying website that was recently sold to US-based Groupon for an undisclosed amount. Silicon Cape caught up with the two just before our January networking event to find out how they achieved what most tech entrepreneurs dream of.
Twangoo’s business model is based directly on Groupon’s: It negotiates big discounts on popular local goods, services and events, subject to delivering a minimum number of customers. They then offer the deal to thousands of subscribers in a daily email. If enough people sign up, the deal is activated – if the threshold isn’t reached, the deal falls away. “Our subscribers get a great deal and the business gets a ton of new customers,” explains Wayne.
Daniel recalls that the idea and inspiration for Twangoo came about from the first Silicon Cape event. “I'm not a techie but I am an entrepreneur, and thought why not?” he says. “The whole message of Silicon Cape is think global – and I really took that to heart.”
With Wayne taking care of tech and development, it was up to Daniel to find a buyer, and he approached Groupon about the sale of Twangoo as soon as the business was well established. After trying to reach Groupon’s Andrew Mason directly with little response, the two “finally tracked down the new business development guy and managed to land a tele-conference”. As it turns out they had the right email for Andrew -- he was just the wrong contact, proof that failing to get a hearing from one person is no reason to give up on a company. Finally, after four months of persistence, Twangoo got a call.
Daniel, who by good luck holds an EU passport, had four hours to get on a plane and fly to Munich. “The philosophy is, an average plan today is better than a flawless one tomorrow. Its about speed and stealth.” Within a few weeks and due diligence the deal was done.”
Wayne notes that Groupon’s acquisition of Twangoo is just the first of its steps into Africa: The company has set an explicit target to continued rapid growth and leadership
The advice the two entrepreneurs have for others seeking to make it big is simple: “Think beyond South Africa. Take initiative and relentlessly persist. It can happen."