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Lean and agile mindset results in best quarter ever



In 14 years of business, one small IT security firm has just celebrated its best quarter ever. Cape Town-based Nclose has revealed that revenue for its second quarter of this year was up 40% over the same quarter last year. It is currently forecasting to close 2020 at least 35% up on 2019, not despite lockdown, but because of it.

It is also a great case study in how being prepared for any eventuality can help a company thrive in times of crisis.

Co-founders Martin Potgieter and Stephen Osler attribute its performance to “the company’s unique focus on customer centricity and lean, agile operations”.

The company started out when the pair participated in the Cape Town Bandwidth Barn programmes and the Cape IT Initiative (CITI) VeloCITI development programme. which helped shape their strategy for developing the business. Nclose won the VeloCITI challenge in 2008, walking away with improved business management skills that helped drive itsongoing success.

Nclose grew quickly, gaining numerous large enterprise customers and supporting those customers across borders into Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Referrals have seen further growth into international markets, and the company now serves customers throughout southern Africa, Mauritius, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Dubai, out of offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The company’s reach is now being extended through partnerships across the Indian Ocean Islands.

From the outset, say the founders, they sought to address a shortfall they saw in the market.

“We both came from a security distributor background, and we realised that distributors were positioning the solutions, resellers were dropping the solutions and profiting, but nobody was helping the customers get real value from the solutions,” says Osler. “We wanted to fill that gap, building relationships and adding value for customers.”

The founders set out to do things differently. Leveraging their extensive technical and sales expertise, they rapidly grew their customer base beyond their initial target of SMEs, and now also serve major retailers and financial services business.