Bucking the trend, Charlie Stewart and Jakes Redelinghuys decided to cut the commute and base their web development agency in Durbanville. Charlie tells us about finding their base in Mark Shuttleworth’s former office building.
We decided to focus on a very specific type of website development using an open source platform called Drupal which was gaining a following overseas but still relatively unheard of in South Africa. We then set up a search engine optimisation team and started to win awards, establishing the business as one of the country’s top SEO consultancies. We gradually extended our service offering into content marketing, social media consulting and a full range of digital marketing services.
Why did you choose this area for your business?
Both Jakes and I have families and maintaining a work life balance is really important. Although Woodstock is Cape Town’s digital marketing hub, we live in the northern suburbs and it made sense to locate the office in Durbanville.
We wanted somewhere with lots of natural light and outdoor space, so when we heard that Mark Shuttleworth’s old office with its beautiful sculpture garden was available we jumped at the chance. Given our interest in open source software, it’s inspiring working in the building where the Ubuntu operating platform was conceived.
Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
Our co-tenants are the City of Cape Town team rolling out the metro’s fibre network, so we have direct access to one of the fastest internet connections in the country. The office block is equipped with a generator and UPS backup. The gardens provide a really creative environment, and the entire team has free onsite parking.
Who are your neighbours?
Another digital agency Swipe Interactive and the City of Cape Town.
Durbanville is far cheaper than central Cape Town, but quality office space is much more limited. Rentals vary from around R80m2 for industrial space to R130m2 or so for environments like ours.
What is your foot traffic?
The majority of our clients are based in Gauteng or overseas, so most catch-ups are handled over Skype or in Google hangouts.
Do you have any expansion plans?
We recently opened an office in Joburg and we’re planning a branch in London in the next couple of years.
Do you operate online as well?
We’re digital natives – our entire focus is on helping our clients use the internet to connect with their customers. Our website generates international business from companies who are looking to outsource digital marketing to South Africa.
What’s your most popular service?
Our expertise in Drupal web development and search engine optimisation is the mainstay of the business, securing contracts including the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, Disney, British Airways and Red Bull. More recently our content marketing and social media has picked up work from Sanlam, Tiger Brands, WesBank and other local businesses.
021 975 8181
Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: Supplied