Tech Boss: Rupert Bryant

Twenty-eight year old Rupert Bryant is the co-founder of Web Africa, one of South Africa’s leading Internet Service Providers, and just founded his new business Accommodation Direct.

Rupert Bryant discovered the online world when he was just ten years old, triggering his passion for computers and technology. He later taught himself to code, and decided to leave school in 2000, when he was just fourteen years old to start his first web hosting business.

In 2003 he partnered with Matthew Tagg, and co-founded Web Africa. The company developed from a small web hosting service to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with over 130 employees and generating a turnover of over R100 million annually within a decade. Web Africa is now South Africa’s largest independent ISP serving 36,500 customers. Bryant served as the company’s Chief Operations Officer (COO) until August 2013, when he resigned as COO to launch his new project Accommodation Direct, an online directory specialising in short-term holiday and tourist accommodation. Accommodation Direct generates revenue by charging a small host and guest fee on every booking. Bryant remains as a director and shareholder at Web Africa and his role is instrumental in the company’s continuing growth and success.

Although he left school at a young age, Bryant is a strong believer in self-education. He loves learning and one of his favourite past times is reading. He simply did not fit in to the system of formal education but instead found other ways of furthering his education through technology and business management. His role models include Elon Musk and Mark Shuttleworth, as well as his father who also started an IT business when he was young. His story proves that an early start at what you are passionate about will get you to where you want to be faster.

The Cape Townian was featured in Fin24’s Young South Africans with a Difference series in April of 2014. In the interview, he gives some advice to young professionals in the IT industry. Bryant notes that good communication skills, a commitment to goals, focus, passion and trust in your work force are essential leadership skills. Bryant’s advice to young entrepreneurs: “Find your passion, find a good mentor and then don’t give up!”