Entrepreneur Lucas Theko introduces globally renowned cellphones to SA

Entrepreneur Lucas Theko believes technology is a great tool that will help South Africans realise economic equality

The co-founder of Pretune Investment, which has interests in technology, logistics and engineering, recently acquired equity from globally acclaimed mobile handsets and accessories manufacturer Verykool.

“We would like to encourage our clients to develop apps, the best of which we can pre-load onto our handsets,” Theko says.

Verykool products are sold in over 20 countries globally, and the company’s phones are available at Ackermans and Shoprite stores in South Africa.

Earlier last month, Verykool Africa introduced an economical 3G/LTE smartphone, the Verykool s5019 Wave, equipped with multiple LTE bands optimised to run on every major GSM carrier throughout Africa.

An Executive Director of Verykool Africa, Theko says the idea behind this product is to create an offering that can help operators with migration from 3G to LTE.

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He aspires to have African tech giants incorporate technology and services and help create jobs.

Theko, from Vosloorus in the Ekurhuleni region, is also in the process of building a local manufacturing plant and hopes to unlock opportunities, as the technology used to manufacture phones can be used to build other electronic products.

“We aim to make South Africa an exporter of technology, rather than a net importer,” he says.

He says his company, through its technology subsidiary, provides building solutions software, used by various social housing companies on the continent.

“Our technology division is also a Cell C dealer-partner with Cell C and one of the majority shareholders in Verykool Africa.

“Our logistics division runs a mobile car wash service, modelled on Uber, which is currently servicing big corporates and golf estates and high-end estates throughout Gauteng. Our logistics division is also involved in dry bulk transportation and transportation of commodities from mines. Our engineering division provides mining components for process miners,” he says.

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This serial entrepreneur recalls that his business journey has been difficult and character-building.

“My case was exasperated by the fact that my first business venture, Dynamic Diaries, was part of an established business enterprise. It was when I went out on my own that I realised the difficulty in business. I had to build my company brand and gain the trust of people I was hoping to make my clients,” he recalls.

He says it is a gradual process and requires patience and perseverance.

“This also meant that I had to refine my business plan and vision to be in line with the current time. You also need to be amiable and people must never forget you. Relationship management is the key component of getting clients, but competence and exceeding expectations on service delivery is what will keep them,” he advises.

During the #FeesMustFall protests, Theko’s company, in collaboration with Cell C, developed an SMS donation line through which members of the public could donate money towards fees, especially for “missing middle” students.