Company to Watch: A mobile message

Disillusioned by professional life and eager for a change, optometrist Pieter de Villiers co-founded multinational mobile solutions provider Clickatell with his twin brother Casper in 2000.

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Entrepreneur Q&A: Pieter de Villiers
We chat to Clickatell CEO Pieter de Villiers about shifting careers and founding a multinational leading mobile solutions provider.

Why did you make the career move to mobile solutions and what keeps your passion for this industry alive?
It was not so much a "career move" into mobile solutions, several factors played a part. I am South African by birth and many South Africans across cultures are problem solvers. I was also not enjoying my professional career as an optometrist as much as I thought I would and knew I wanted out. My dad is an entrepreneur and so it must be in my and my brother's blood (my twin brother, Casper de Villiers co-founded Clickatell with me). As we explored opportunities to start a business we were definitely influenced by the internet hype and intrigued by the growth within mobile adoption. And since these were two "new areas" we felt we had as good a shot at it as anyone else, as long as we solved real problems in compelling ways.

Our naiveté turned out to be our saving grace since it allowed us to take risks of which we did not always understand the magnitude. The passion question is simple, mobile technology is changing and saving lives in more ways than one; and helping small business stay in business. It is a great place and space to be working in.

What are your future plans for Clickatell?
Clickatell will continue to add value to large and small businesses as they look to connect, interact and transact with their customers on mobile devices. The opportunities are significant and the role and impact of mobile on our lives has only just begun. We want to continue to be a key player in this market.

To what do you credit your business success?
I do not believe our work is done therefore do not believe we can declare "victory" yet. The "successes" we have had to date are 100% attributable to the people, past and present, we have had the good fortune to work with. Entrepreneurship and start-ups (even 12 year old start-ups) are not as romantic as one would think, 98% of the time it’s just good old hard work and dedication that gets you there.

To read the full version of this story go to page 29 of the May-June issue of DESTINY MAN