BACKSTORY: Thynk Capital’s Travis Meyer
The FM spoke to Travis Meyer, executive director at Thynk Capital
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Everyone leaves the table feeling a little bit unhappy. If you leave feeling like you’ve won, the other person has lost.
What was your first job?
At 16 I started fixing my friends’ cracked phone screens to make some money on weekends — it turned into my first business, which was an iPhone screen repair business.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
R4,105.49. (I can be this specific because I have it framed in my office). I was a teller at PostNet. When I left school, I knew everything — as one does at 18 — and therefore didn’t think studying further was important. I started working at my local neighbourhood’s PostNet to earn some cash. (Needless to say, after a year, I enrolled at university).
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Be patient. To be fair, people did tell me this, but I wish I’d listened.
If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I have an adopted elephant brother.
What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Adversity breeds success.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
You have a super hot girlfriend.
Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career? And, if so, what would that career be?
No — I’ve tried my hand at so many different things — I’ve had the privilege of operating many businesses across the retail, telecoms and tech industries. And now I have the privilege of sitting on the other side of the table — as an investor and lender — and enabling entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I’d focus on making SA more investable: focus on GDP and exports, keep the currency competitive and interest rates low enough to encourage investments, especially by small firms. Government needs to support SMEs and startups to scale and succeed. And we need to upskill unemployed South Africans to improve their employability. In the long term, we need to invest in early education development.
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