"The First Kudu," authored by Ben Shaw and Lorne Hallendorff, narrates the exhilarating and tumultuous journey of HouseME, a South African rental technology company. The book delves into the challenging and often chaotic world of tech start-ups, detailing the experiences of HouseME as it grew from a fledgling venture to a significant player in the industry, boasting 34 employees and 50,000 registered users while processing hundreds of millions of Rands annually.
The narrative of "The First Kudu" is not just about success; it also candidly addresses the failures and challenges encountered along the way. It explores the various aspects of building a tech start-up in South Africa, offering a detailed and honest portrayal of both the fun and failures experienced by the HouseME team. The book invites readers to journey through this chaos, providing insights into the real learnings and operational intricacies of starting and running a tech start-up.
The story is one of excitement and excellence, as HouseME achieved notable success, winning awards, raising multiple rounds of funding, and attracting the attention of competitors. However, it also touches on the abrupt end of the venture, presenting a balanced view of the start-up life cycle. Shaw and Hallendorff, the former CEO and COO of HouseME, respectively, offer a whirlwind tour of their experiences, reflecting on what they learned and what they would do differently if given another chance.
This book is an essential read for anyone interested in the start-up ecosystem, particularly in the African context, as it offers practical reflections and compelling lessons from the founders' journey.