JamLab Accelerator: 15 Minutes with Credipple

This online recognition tool helps professionals within the creative industry build their credibility on a single platform

Credipple co-founders, Kgololo Lekoma, Lethabo Sekhu and Sibusiso Manentsa presenting their project at the JAMLAB Accelerator Programme induction day. Picture: Melissa Zisengwe

In this week’s taster to the JamLab accelerator programme team series, we introduce you to Credipple.

It is a company that aims is to build a recognition platform which can be used by the creative and cultural industry to find professionals in the same sector. Credipple was started by three friends, Kgololo Lekoma, Lethabo Sekhu and Sibusiso Manentsa.

The idea came when Lethabo and Kgolo were working on their first start-up AllinStudios, which focused on creating story-based events. One of the projects they worked on required that they build a network of people they wanted to collaborate with however they realised they had no means of presenting and testing people’s credibility. So they envisioned building a network where people could build their credibility.

“What we realised was that we needed a way to represent our credibility and portfolio of work and everything that was available at the time really didn’t suit our needs,” explains Kgolo.

Credipple connects clients to professionals in the creative and cultural industry. “Clients have trust issues when interacting with creative professionals for the first time. They view the purchasing decision as high risk. We believe that by growing the professional credibility of current and future professionals, we can de-risk their interactions with customers thereby building more trust and value within the industry,” Kgolo explained.

In 2016 the hashtag #Creditthephotographer was trending on social media platforms as photographers shared their experiences with publications and people using their work without giving credit. Kgolo says this was a further motivation that something needed to change in the creative industry.

“We believe public recognition can help establish your brand and credibility as a creative professional of any kind. More credibility helps to attract clients and lead to more opportunities. So the idea of Credipple continued to grow and develop and eventually the idea of an online recognition tool that can be used to represent your portfolio and your digital skills in such a way that it can be shared with potential clients was born,” explains Sibusiso.

“The concept also came from giving credit where credit is due. And the issue we are also trying to resolve in the industry is that there is no way clients and professionals can verify each other’s credibility and Credipple will provide that,” adds Sibusiso.

Led by the belief that credibility has a ripple effect, the co-founders think an online recognition tool would help creatives build their credibility on a single platform and they have come to the JamLab accelerator programme to advance their company and project.

“When we initially started to develop Credipple we wanted to solve a problem we called or used to see as recognition because, in the creative industry, recognition eventually translates into more opportunities. So when we speak of this portfolio online managed tool we are speaking about a tool that will be helpful to both the clients and professionals,” says Lethabo.

In 2016 they entered the MultiChoice Enterprise Development Trust ICT Start-up Programme which called for innovative startups involved in the ICT space. Through the programme, they attended a boot camp where they went through a design thinking course which focused on the basics of startups. They then had to pitch at the end of the boot camp to see whether the Start-up Programme would continue to support the team. And it is in that pitching process that Credipple finished in the top four.

Currently, besides being part of the JamLab Accelerator Programme, Credipple also has a crowdfund on Thundafund where they are trying to raise R150 000 by the end of March. They say if successful it will help them update their product. They have currently raised about R13 000. However, they have a tipping point of 40 000 where they will be able to get a payout.

At the end of the six-month accelerator programme Credipple hopes to have commercialised its product. “Commercialisation means us having a complete structured data strategy for how we are gonna take input data how we are going to analyse that data,” says Lethabo. The trio’s other main focus is to attract the best creative minds in the industry and have them on Credipple.

“At the end of the accelerator programme, we also want to establish our reputation with one or two business transactions,” explains Lethabo.

“We also would like to refine and solidify Credipple’s business model and this requires testing and validating our assumptions and work towards building a sustainable product and company,” adds Kgolo.

The JamLab Accelerator is a six-month hothouse programme for journalism and media innovators. It is based at Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in the heart of Johannesburg.