Joburg startup looking to launch loan comparison service

If there’s one are that South Africa lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to online services, it’s probably in the field of price comparison engines. There are some – like PriceCheck and Hippo – which do a reasonably good job, but they’re few and far between and not quite as slick or easy to user as international sites like Uswitch, for example.

JoziHub-based entrepreneur Mandla Nxumalo reckons that what’s needed is a bit more competition in the market. And that he’s the person to provide that – the young entrepreneur is looking to spread his wings and move over into financial tech with the launch of a loan comparison site for consumers.

Four years ago, the 28-year-old computer systems graduate took a leap of faith when he ventured off to start his own company, called SOLIDred Media, after resigning from his job as a data base and web developer in 2011.

“I noticed that I was making more money as a freelancer than at my normal job. This helped me build my database of clients and from there, I decided to take the plunge and start SOLIDred Media,” Nxumalo explains.

SOLIDred Media mainly focuses on building and hosting websites at a reasonably affordable cost, and provides development, hosting, marketing and SEO for similarly young businesses around the country. Nxumalo works alone, but often outsources the services of designers for the sites he develops. He also just recently managed to rope the help of a friend who assist him with basic HTML.

At the moment, Nxumalo is working on a mobile app and desktop service called Direct Mulah which will launch at the end of February. The service will be a platform that customers looking for a personal loan can use to compare different financial service providers, contact them should they be interested and post and read feedback on their services.

“It will be sort of combination of Hello Peter, Wonga and Hippo,” he explains.

The project is currently being funded from Nxumalo’s own pocket, but he is on a search for a sponsor.

And when asked about whether or not he feels intimidated by big players such as Hippo, Nxumalo says he believes that competition is healthy and its good for the consumers as it gives them more choices. “I’m eager to go head to head with any industry leader,” he says.

Direct Mulah is currenlty signed up as a publisher on, which is advertising for loan providers such as, Loan Finder and Wanna Loan.
The company also has an online job search platform called Job Section featuring job posts from various companies and industries.

“My secret to SOLIDred Media’s success is providing quality service, being humble and truthful to clients. The proof is in the pudding,” Nxumalo says.

The company’s based at the JoziHub co-working space in Milpark and its client portfolio includes the likes of Black Nation Media who are also JoziHub residents, but Nxumalo is looking at expanding and taking on bigger projects.

“I mostly find my clients by researching them online and approaching them with a proposal to offer my services to them,” he says.

“The hardest part of my job is getting clients and getting the work done on time since I work on my own,” Nxumalo says as he describes his challenges. “I try and schedule my work accordingly, but sometimes that’s not enough and I end up racing against time.”

As a sole proprietor and someone who has vast knowledge, Nxumalo says he doesn’t incur to many expenses while working on a project and makes as much as 65% net profit from some of his work.

Within the next few years, Nxumalo hopes to get a few employees on board and transform SOLIDred Media into an ad agency similar to big names such as Ogivly and Mather.

“Once I have enough funds, I would like to add a social media strategist and people who work with ad words to help grow my vision. From there on, the sky is the limit.”


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