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Zoona – Africa’s hottest startup

Brad and Brett Magrath are the co-founders of Zoona (pronounced Zohna), an African start-up that “brings together the drive of young entrepreneurs and cutting-edge technology to bring safe and reliable money transfers to underserved communities all over Africa.”


I came across them at a recent Startup Grind event and met with Brad recently to pick his brain on how to remain relevant as a learning provider and coach, in a changing landscape where business needs agility, change and innovation to thrive.

This is what I noticed and learned at their vibrant offices in Cape Town.

  • You don’t need a reception area – a friendly barista will do the job fabulously!
  • A great culture can be seen and felt and doesn’t need the boss to make all the decisions, nor a set of rules to get people to deliver.  Evidence of a principled, hard-working, and creative young team who have fun while making a difference, is everywhere in their relaxed, casual environment.
  • A company that encourages people to experiment, helps develop their current skills and acquire new ones, using lego and drama for example, rather than boring unit standard aligned material, lives their principle of “Act. Learn. Repeat.”
  • Zoona follows Tom Chi’s belief that knowing is the enemy of learning. (Knowing only helps to solve problems already solved, while learning “seeks to expand the sphere with new data and new possibilities.”)
  • Their philosophy of not hiring good people for a job, but rather finding good jobs for good people is a lesson in forward-thinking recruitment.

Taking the decision this year to transform myself and re-position my business offerings, has lead me to a whole new world of small business doing amazing things and making a difference while they do it.  In a word – inspiring!

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