Koos Bekker is the founder and chairman of the African media group, Naspers. The company is located in about 130 countries, and is listed both on the London & South African stock exchange.
Naspers has the largest market capitalization of any media company outside the US and China.
Koos was born in South Africa on December 14th, 1952. He got his bachelors degrees from Stellenbosch University in Law and Literature and Wits University in Law.
Let’s hear his story..
” I grew up on a farm up in the north, a maize and cattle farm, and I think that influenced me to some extent. Farmers make do with what you find at hand.”
“I’m really quite clumsy, physically, so I’d probably be a useless surgeon or engineer. But I admire getting things done and it gives me great pleasure to build something – and I think that comes from that farming stock background.”
” I went to Stellenbosch and then Wits and I studied law and I ended up with an LLB as a prosecutor in court. I was a total misfit. I dislike blood and I dislike argument, so within a week I realised all this studying was perfectly useless, I needed to do something else. I happened upon business. No one in my family had ever worked in business, in fact I think they looked down on business as a bit of hawking…
…a street hawker, and my father was somewhat disappointed in the whole story. I enjoyed it and I went to work in market research.
So I started liking business and I then went to Columbia University in New York and I did my MBA there. That’s when I discovered Pay TV and came back, and we started M-Net. So that was perhaps a changing point in my life…” Many people still don’t understand the power of studying business and entrepreneurship. If you cannot take an MBA, use online business schools like MIllionaires Academy www.register.millionaire.ng
” There was no pay TV in the world outside the US. So we took that idea and came back to South Africa
Then in 1991 we started researching cellular telephony and shortly after we launched MTN. I loved that world and it fundamentally changed society. If you think how a plumber worked in 1990, where he would do one job, return to his office, get an instruction, go to the next job, just consider how a plumber works today. You live on the road, you hardly have an office. While you’re busy on one job you can actually get to your next assignment. So cellular telephony changed Africa completely and fixed-line phones hardly matter these days. Cellphones dominate communication. That was a big change. ”
One very important factor that characterized Koos Becker, was an incredible appetite for huge risk.( Check out the course on Risk Taking @ www.register.millionaire.ng ) . He was the quintessential entrepreneur.
As CEO of NASPERS, he agreed to a deal with his partners, in terms of which he received no salary, bonus or pension, and could be fired at 24 hours notice with no compensation. In return, he got generous options at the market price of Naspers shares.
Bekker said that not taking a salary during his 17 years as CEO was a gamble that, after a shaky start, eventually worked out for him.
“I don’t recommend it to everyone, because it’s high risk,” said Bekker, who started his new role as chair in April.
Using cash from the pay-TV division, which was founded in the 1980s, Bekker started plowing funds into more than 100 technology businesses around the world. Most of those bets bled money: Online retailers in Africa had to be shut down, and the company took an $80 million loss on a Chinese Internet service provider.
However, his risk taking paid of with TENCENT. In 2001 Naspers Ltd. put just $32 million into a then-obscure Web company called Tencent. Its stake today is worth $66 billion — roughly equal to Naspers’ entire stock market capitalization.
“What we’ve done over the years is take huge risks,” Bekker said over a cup of Rooibos tea in Naspers headquarters, 19 floors above Cape Town’s harbor. The task now, he said, is “to find the countries where the gaps still exist because in many countries the good opportunities have been taken.”
That was how Koos Becker also discovered NIgeria. He brought in Multichoice DSTV and MTN to NIgeria, when Airtel and other companies where scared of the NIgerian economy.
This gamble also paid off massively. Although MTN is in over 20 countries in Africa and Asia, one third of their revenue, comes from NIgeria alone. The Nigerian market brought a whopping $5 billion dollars for MTN in 2015 alone.
Today Koos Becker is an accomplished man, but he keeps scouring and investing in developing economies like Nigeria, India and China.
His Company NASPERS is worth $66 billion dollars and operates in 130 countries.
Koos Becker himself is one of the richest men in Africa, and has a personal networth of $ 1.69 billion dollars. His Babylonstoren estate, which features architecture dating back to 1690, stretches across nearly 600 acres in South Africa’s Western Cape region and includes a farm, orchard, vineyard, a 14-room hotel and a restaurant. It was designed by his wife.
Many of us are not even aware that one man is behind both MTN, Multichoice and M-Net. A man that sees opportunity where others see problems and challenges.
Believe it or not, Millionaires Academy (www.register.millionaire.ng) has consistently preached the message that Nigeria is blessed massively by its natural resources, but more importantly by its human resources. MTN and Multichoice, are not into oil. They offer services, and we pay billions of dollars for those services. That is the power of a huge market, and that is why South Africans and Chinese are rushing here. Shoprite now wants to concentrate in Nigeria and are opening more stores everywhere.
But the unfortunate thing, is that we Nigerians are not seeing this potential, because our eyes are fixed only on oil, and on what the government can offer. We even want to break up the huge market we have, just because of oil and tribal interests.
Why we squabble and complain, other nations are silently colonizing us a second time. Wake up people ! There is opportunity in this land. Governement can F..ck off ! We can achieve greatness by providing those services which they refuse to provide.
Stop looking down on all our problems and differences, look up to our potentials and how it can benefit you. Start providing a service today. Entrepreneurship remains the best path to massive wealth and improved lifestyle.
See you at the top !
Engr Ifeanyi Okoro