A Thumbzup approach to innovation in S.Africa


The latest innovation has been introduced by Stafford Masie, founder of Thumbzup, a South African based IT technological company focusing on innovation development. In partnership with ABSA they have introduced the Payment Pebble.

“The Payment Pebble is a miniaturised derivative of a point of sale that changes your phone into a point of sale device,” Masie told CNBC Africa.

(READ MORE:Banking and telecoms on the path of convergence)


On 18 September 2013, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa announced Sandile Ngcobo as the man behind the world’s first digital laser.

Under normal circumstances, to manipulate the shape of lasers would require the use of expensive mirrors and spatial light modulators however Ngcobo discovered that laser shapes can be manipulated digitally.

South African I.T specialists have a history for creating cell phone applications which appeal to consumers because of convenience.

Thus Herman Heunis, former CEO and founder of Mxit, a cell phone messaging application, reached millions of consumers in a short term period. Masie hopes his product will share similar success.

“Reaction from clients has been phenomenal, we’ve had incredible numbers we are very happy. We have done 90,000 devices in South Africa and we could see in the next few years between, 250,000 and 700,000 in the [South African] market,” added Masie.

A once-off payment of 160 rand for the first device ordered an inception offer of 50 rand payable monthly for a year and there after 20 rand payable a month in the following year.

Masie believes that people want convenience in reference to payment procedure.

“Consumers have credit cards, and therefore will use the Payment Pebble for their payments because of easy accessibility,” he said.

(READ MORE:Microsoft’s 4afrika initiative changing the continent)

 The Payment Pebble allows merchants to accept card payments using phone or a tablet and all types of debit and credit are compatible.  He added that the world must expect more innovations from South Africa.

“We got astrophysics, marine biologists and professors who do incredible things,” explained Masie.