Meet the Humans of Yoco: The Product Team

Meet the Humans of Yoco: The Product Team

“Our team does not write code, we build solutions. We have a team of people who would throw out the best piece of code ever written in favour of building the best solution to meet the needs of our customers.” – Lungisa Matshoba, CTO and co-founder.

This quote from Lungisa perfectly sums up how we look at product development. We’re pretty obsessed with customer-centricity and making sure we put entrepreneurs first in every decision we make.

This means, as a Product Developer at Yoco, you speak to our customers, our support and operations teams, and even run support yourself from time to time. It also means we build tools and choose technologies that scale as our business and our customers’ businesses grow. We’re not bound by one way of doing things – we’re flexible and adaptable.

It’s this thinking that drives us to undergo extensive Beta testing with every new product we launch. This allows us to refine and improve our offering using constant feedback from the people who will be using Yoco in their businesses. SME South Africa dug deeper into our beta testing process – check out the article here.

Our team of product heros has grown quite rapidly in number in the past few months, and we’ve had many new awesome additions. Get to know the new and old faces below.

If you’re interested in being part of the Product team, have a look at our current job openings here.

Lungisa aka Dennis

“Being a part of building a product that has a direct impact on people’s ability to grow their own wealth and drive their own success is very rewarding.”

One of our four fearless founders, Lungisa’s job is to support the people who make our products (the Product team), champion innovation and make sure that our product development and design is always done with the customer’s needs at the forefront.

“As a single individual, I can never accomplish as much as a team that is well supported.”

Lungisa previously co-founded a VoIP startup called Yeigo where he “built lots of cool stuff, learnt stuff about business that no business degree can teach, and had a lot of fun”. Along with Katlego, Carl and Bradley, he founded Yoco in 2013. His favourite thing about being part of Yoco is that he finds himself surrounded by people who surprise him every day. In his spare time he enjoys running because he loves being on the road while most of the country is still asleep.

Andrew aka Snowdog

“We are constantly trying to improve how we work and really go the extra mile to make sure that our products are amazing to use.”

Before Yoco, Andrew ran Yeigo along with co-founder Lungisa, before Lungisa convinced him to leave and start a payments company. Andrew loves that his job is all about building software that is used by so many amazing small businesses.

“I love the idea of giving small businesses access to tools and technology that were too expensive or unavailable to them before.”

The most important thing he’s learnt along his journey is not to avoid complicated problems by only working on things that are easy and within your comfort zone. Outside of the office, Andrew enjoys running, hiking and taking his puppy, Abby, for walks. He is also a big fan of Mexican food, no matter what shape or form it’s in.

Altus aka Lunchmaster

“Making the lives of small business owners easier has become a passion. Every time we build something new we get to engage with that on a deeper level.”

Altus is one of the original Yocos and has been with us since 2014. Before Yoco he was one of the first team members of a mobile apps startup, but now Altus looks after building new products and features for the team and our customers. His favourite thing about his job is getting to create awesome things that make an impact.

“Working on something that adds benefit to the world is important to me. Making something like a credit card machine might not seem like it does, but when you spend time with the businesses we support, and see the communities built around small businesses, you realise it adds so much value.”

Because he’s often pushed outside his comfort zone in many ways, Altus has learned more at Yoco than any other time in his life (his exact words, we swear we’re not making this up). Outside of the office Altus loves to run and hike, is an avid boardgamer, and is quite the craftsman – he made a chicken hat especially for AfrikaBurn.

Mandisa aka Panda

“I’m learning EVERY DAY. I surprise myself EVERY DAY. And more importantly, I see the value of what I’m doing every time I meet one of our merchants.”

Understanding the needs of the people using your product is one of the key things Mandisa has taken away from her time working at Yoco. She’s learning that starting and running a business can be made easier if you have the right tools and resources. Mandisa also has quite a creative side and loves to create art in her spare time.

“We say it all the time. We’re customer-centric. We handle all the complexities of the code ourselves, so that the customer experience can be easy and simple.”

Karabo aka Dada

“I enjoy learning about new things, and applying what I have learned.”

New to the team, Karabo joined at the beginning of June. Some of the things he loves about his new job are: snacks (always readily available in the office), working on mobile software and the wide scope to learn. He also likes the fact that he has, and will continue to, gain insight into payments and small businesses – something he calls “the payment dance”.

“Every line of code I write is critical. For example, a bad bug could be a headache for the Marketing team as it could have implications for the brand. A new feature could help the Operations team carry out their work more effectively and make their lives much easier. Every new feature we write could also potentially make life so much better for our merchants.”

Nathan aka Nate Dogg

“Creating high quality products – it’s exhilarating!”

Nathan is very involved with our Beta initiatives and using customer feedback to refine and improve our offering.

“The small decisions that we make can have a big impact on the day-to-day running of someone’s business. This means it’s a big responsibility, but also an honour to have a positive impact.”

We asked Nathan about the biggest thing he’s learned so far in his short time at Yoco. His answer? “There’s no such thing as a stupid question”. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys a good glass of Chenin Blanc, spending quality time with the Mrs and watching MasterChef Australia (although in his past life he was a wannabe rockstar).

Steven aka Steve aka Stevovo

“I love knowing that the work I do is making a difference to thousands of entrepreneurs in the country.”

Steven’s job involves a lot of problem solving – thinking about the challenges that entrepreneurs and small businesses in South Africa face on a day-to-day basis and designing solutions. His work gives him exposure across a lot of business functions, both with colleagues as well as small business owners. When he’s not solving problems, Steven is a self-proclaimed gin connoisseur, hip-hop head and loves to teach others to code.

“The way we do things at Yoco means that I have a big say in the products that we’re building. Because we are a customer-centric company, we have implemented that into our product development process, which makes our solutions that much better.”

Thabang aka Bang aka LL Cool J

“Building a world class organisation starts with building a family.”

When we asked Thabang what his day-to-day job consists of, he replied, “Deep work, learning, learning, learning, help and collaboration, and some more learning.”

“I get to see my impact on a company and its employees. That feeling of adding value to other people’s lives feels more like a calling than a job.”

He likes that he has a license to try (and fail) at new things – what better way to learn! When he’s not at work, Thabang dabbles in a bit of photography and illustrations, enjoys staying fit and would like to remind us that “Netflix is life”.

Kirk aka Kermit

“Everyone is on the same page and extremely supportive and motivated. The snacks aren’t bad either.”

Kirk’s favourite thing about working at Yoco is, without a doubt, waking up everyday knowing he’s making a difference and working with like-minded people. Our customers are our driving force and Kirk loves that we are collectively making a difference in the small business space.

He’s always excited to hear small business success stories because it really drives home that what we are doing is something special.

“You don’t need a title to be a leader. The best ideas at a company come from all different roles. Have a good idea? Speak up. You have a voice. Make it heard!”

Richard aka Lionel Richie

“I love the teamwork, collaboration and being able to work in and understand the space of a leading tech startup.”

Richard recently joined us after founding and running his own ad-tech startup called 8Bit. He’s passionate about solving problems and building new features for our products. Key learnings for Richard include how effective working in “sprint cycles” can be and the fact that muffins are Altus’ food of choice.

“The product team connects with a lot of the different parts of the business. We create solutions for customers as well as solutions to help the whole of the Yoco family to work together.”

Fun fact: he’s also been kitesurfing for 16 years and used to be qualified instructor who taught over 200 people.

Nick aka Nick doesn’t do Nicknames

“There’s a lot of encouragement to experiment.”

Another one of the Yoco originals, Nick describes his work as “coding cool stuff for Yoco so that we can handle all the complicated, messy, and ultimately boring work for our customers”. He joined Yoco from a position in investment banking, and asks us to please not blame him for the Lehman Brothers meltdown that almost lead to a worldwide recession (we got you, Nick).

“I greatly enjoy the opportunity to work on projects where I know that what I’m doing has an impact on my company’s customers.”

Nkokhelo

“On time delivery and quality come first.”

Coming from a background as a Developer at an international payments company, Nkokhelo is another one of our new additions to the Yoco Family. His favourite thing about coming to work is to learning more about financial and software technology every day. Since joining Yoco he’s gained insight into how important it is to our economy to empower SMEs.

“I get to contribute to the platform that is empowering South Africa.”

Walter aka Walter White

“Software development is always evolving and there are always more things to learn.”

Walter loves that Yoco aims to be at the cutting edge of tech and that the team is always encouraged to test out new tools that could simplify their work. He has a background in software development for RFID systems and is another recent addition to our Product team. Since joining he’s hit the ground running and has learnt loads.

“Helping other teams in the company become more streamlined and efficient, and seeing the effects of that, is pretty rewarding.”

Interested in joining the Product Team? Have a look at our current career openings here.

About the author: Robyn

RobynRobyn - Social media and community manager

When you’re engaging with Yoco on social media, Robyn is the girl you’re talking to. She loves learning from our community and seeing small businesses thrive. In her spare time you’ll find her off hiking in some forest, curled up with a book or singing karaoke (badly).

After graduating with a B.Bus Sci degree from UCT, she found Yoco and jumped in head first. She now manages Yoco’s social media profiles and online community, and writes an article or two for the blog.

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