I ACCOMPANIED a delegation that included some of SA’s most innovative and cutting-edge technology entrepreneurs on a trip, organised by Investec and En-novate, to San Francisco and Silicon Valley in May.It was a paradigm shift meeting with Roelof Botha, the legendary South African-born venture capitalist at Sequoia; Bill Draper, the godfather of venture capital on the West Coast; Vinny Lingham of Dragons’ Den and Gyft; and other brilliant individuals on the entrepreneurial and support sides of the ecosystem.For many local tech entrepreneurs and hopefuls, Silicon Valley is an enigma. In SA, exposure to the start-up ecosystem it incubates is limited to news from popular websites, and the front-end intellectual spill-over we receive in the form of products and services that we use every day — from WhatsApp to Nvidia cards in computers to the electric Tesla car.Aside from a small cohort of fast-moving and dynamic multinational entrepreneurs and companies that import some of the latest a...

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