Ran Neu-Ner, investor, businessman and group co-CEO of The Creative Counsel (TCC) is a born entrepreneur and strategist. Since childhood he sought out ways to do business. From handmade calendars in kindergarten to selling beauty cosmetics in his Matric year, Ran has always been determined to succeed. He founded TCC with business partner Gil Oved in 2001 and was at the forefront of the revolution in the communication industry pioneering the merge between shopper marketing, brand activation, social media and field marketing. Ran holds a B.Com and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification. He is a member of the global Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) as well as the Young Entrepreneurs Organisation (YEO). Mentorship is also something he believes in as part of giving back. Ran has several awards on his mantelpiece, the latest being 2016 Top Performing Business Leader at the National Business Awards and EY Southern Africa World Entrepreneur Award for 2016 in the Exceptional category.
The rise of the on demand economy and how to capitalise on it
Local entrepreneur turned angel investor Ran Neu-Ner is betting big on the on-demand economy, with recent venture capital investments into promising industry start-ups and a slew of others in the pipeline. Neu-Ner, who co-founded and built Africa’s biggest advertising and marketing agency, The Creative Counsel, which was acquired by the French multinational Publicis Groupe, says: “Trend-spotting has been integral to our success with the agency and I’ve used this skill to identify a tech-driven sector that I believe holds the greatest potential for consumer-facing businesses.” While he admits that the sector is still in its infancy in South Africa, his research and everything that he understands about mass market dynamics points to the rise of the ‘uberisation’ trend – economic activity created by digital marketplaces that fulfill consumer demand through immediate access to and convenient provisioning of goods and services via a smartphone app. “There is no doubt in my mind that the on-demand economy is the next big commercial evolution, because the ability to purchase products and services through a smartphone will drive one of the most prolific transformational shifts in consumer consumption patterns in human history,” states Neu-Ner. He cites the rapidly rising rate of smartphone penetration across all demographic groups and the cost benefits that this paradigm shift would have for everyone, including the poor, as reasons for the huge potential of the on-demand economy in South Africa. According to Neu-Ner, “when on-demand services scale to meet mass demand, even someone living in a township could do their shopping via an app. The delivery cost would be cheaper than the taxi fare, while the convenience factor would negate the opportunity cost of travelling to and from the shops.” However, the major driver of the trend at the moment is the desire for instant gratification, he says. “This has become the dominant trend among economically-active consumers, especially Millennials and the Generation Z demographic cohort, who tend to be tech-savvy, early adopters,” explains Neu-Ner.