Stephen Timm, author of “At Any Cost”, a book detailing the fraud saga of South African tech entrepreneur Eran Eyal. Picture: SUPPLIED.
Stephen Timm, author of “At Any Cost”, a book detailing the fraud saga of South African tech entrepreneur Eran Eyal. Picture: SUPPLIED.

In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, we talk about the story of a South African who managed to defraud international investors out of million of dollars through a series of scams.

Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Stephen Timm, author of “At Any Cost”, a book detailing the fraud saga of SA tech entrepreneur Eran Eyal.

Timm, who lives in Cape Town, is a journalist and the former editor of Ventureburn, an online publication that covers Africa’s tech start-up sector.

Join the discussion: 

The discussion begins with Timm explaining the story behind the book.

Stephen Timm is a journalist and the former editor of Ventureburn, an online publication that covers Africa's tech startup sector. Picture: SUPPLIED.
Stephen Timm is a journalist and the former editor of Ventureburn, an online publication that covers Africa's tech startup sector. Picture: SUPPLIED.

“At Any Cost” details the fraud saga of Eyal, involving Springleap, a crowdsourcing platform for market experts and designers, and Shopin, a retail app for which he raised $42.5m in an initial coin offering (ICO) in 2018. He was convicted of fraud for both companies, by a New York court, in December 2019. 

Timm says he wrote more than 25 articles about this particular story when it was happening a few years back, during his time at Ventureburn. He says part of the rationale for writing the book was to expose some of the lying that happens in the tech sector, especially around getting funding and engagements with investors.

Timm describe Eyal as being likeable and smart enough to have found holes in the tech funding system that allowed him to defraud investors out of millions.

The discussion focuses on the writing and development of the book, an explanation of Eyal’s scams, flaws in the tech startup funding system and the importance of interrogating business models.

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 Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.

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