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Matthew Swart

Matthew founded SafariNow.com in 1999, and over 18 years as CEO grew the business into the market leader for independent accommodation reservations in Southern Africa, processing over ZAR 2 Billion in paid holiday bookings during his tenure, at a peak rate of R320m per year.

Matt's responsibilities and achievements included:

FUNDRAISING AND DEALMAKING: Raised three rounds of funding totalling over R30m from some leading venture capitalists: – Tiger Global USA, Kickstart Ventures UK and seek.com Australia.

TECHNICAL INNOVATION: SafariNow pioneered several new technologies including:

-invention of the “request a quote” booking engine, the basis for many current travel websites.
-1st South African site to use web-to-SMS notifications
-1st travel affiliate program wordwide with front-end white-labelling
-1st South African site to integrate Google maps.
-SEO: Established SafariNow as the clear #1 in the Southern African travel space, occupying positions 1-3 for the most number of ranking phrases, for the most addressable search volume.

LEADERSHIP: Grew from a startup to a peak size of 150 employees in two offices, Cape Town and Nairobi.

STRATEGIC PLANNING: Aligned SafariNow business and product direction for maximum growth.

UX/UI: Designed overall UI for SafariNow, migrated from dual desktop and mobile sites to single responsive design.

PRODUCT OWNERSHIP: Matthew is a certified Scrum Product Owner, and worked directly with the Development Team, specifying stories and tests of acceptance.

AWARDS: SafariNow won multiple awards as “South Africa’s Favourite eCommerce Website” and “Best eCommerce Services Platform” in SA eCommerce Awards.

In 2017 Matthew exited the company and sold a controlling stake in SafariNow.com to TravelStart.

mattSW.ART | Kula Travel - Surf, Kite, Dive, Yoga




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