2013 Speakers

Luke Mckend is currently the Country Director for Google South Africa. After growing up in SA, he went to University at Stellenbosch. He left South Africa for the UK in 1998, where he worked for TMP Worldwide/Monster in their new digital dept. He joined HR software start up I-Grasp in 2003 as Commercial Director. I-Grasp was recognised as one of the top 50 fastest growing tech companies in the UK in 2005 and subsequently acquired by Stepstone. After travelling extensively in Europe and the US supporting I-Grasp’s integration, in 2007 he joined Google in the UK as an Industry Head responsible for growing Google’s clients in the Classifieds sector. He returned to SA as Country Manager in January 2011.

He is married and has a daughter. He enjoys cycling and has been an avid Mountain Biker since 1990, although has spent more time on the road recently.


Andy Higgins is the Managing Director of uAfrica.com. Andy founded  bidorbuy.co.za, Africa’s largest online marketplace, and prior to his role at uAfrica.com was the company’s Managing Director. He serves on a number of boards including bidorbuy.co.zapayfast.co.za, a company specialising in online payments for South Africa and privateproperty.co.za, a leading South African property portal.

Andy has over 13 years experience in the Internet industry having been involved in Internet start-ups on 5 continents. He has a BSc in Electronic Engineering from the University of Natal and an MBA from Wits Business School.
Andy has a passion for all things Internet but in particular for search engine optimisation. When not in front of a computer, he can often be found playing squash, training for a triathlon, kite surfing or wishing he was on a beach some where kite surfing.


Jaco Jonker joined bidorbuy in 2008 as the Group CFO. In 2010 he took over his current position as bidorbuy CEO and also serves on the board of directors.

Prior to joining bidorbuy, Jaco served on the board of Rectron Holdings Ltd (a multinational computer components distributor) where he performed the duties of Group Financial Director. Jaco is a qualified chartered accountant, CA(SA), and holds a B.Comm Accounting and B.Comm Honours Accounting degree from the University of Johannesburg (formerly Rand Afrikaans University). After completing his studies, Jaco joined Deloitte and was seconded to Deloitte Chicago.


Paul Galatis is a director at Yuppiechef.com where he obsesses about customer experience. He believes deeply that design, user experience and customer service are deeply intertwined and that, together with some good old hard work and good manners, they can change the world.

Renowned for their customer service, Yuppiechef have won Best E-Commere Site in South Africa in 2010, 2011 and 2012 at the South African E-Commerce Awards and numerous Bookmark Awards as well as a Gold Loerie which they won for their hi-jacking of the Woolworths Lovebirds Campaign 2010.

Paul is a UCT graduate where he studied a Bachelor of Business Science Degree. In his past he has: project managed the launch of 20-Over cricket in South Africa; won a South African Music Award for best album design; his passion for South Africa and its future saw him selected for the DA’s Young Leaders’ Programme in 2010 – a year long political education programme; and in 2011 Mail & Guardian listed him as one the Top 200 Young South Africans to take to lunch.

Before joining Yuppiechef in 2008 he spent his time between South Africa and the UK working as an independent design and brand consultant. He is passionate about e-commerce, intelligent design and the humanisation of business – particularly in the online space.


Vincent Maher has worked in the online media industry since 1996 and is currently Chief Product Officer at mobile social network, Mxit. Most recently he was the co-founder and CTO of mobile community specialist, Motribe, which was acquired by Mxit in October 2012. Vince is passionate about mobile technology, techno music and gaming.


Liz Hillock is the Head of Marketing at Kalahari.com and has also recently taken Customer Service under her wing. She has over 13 years experience in eCommerce including a combined 8 years at QXL.com, Tiscali and Ladbrokes eGaming in the UK. During her time at Tiscali she helped launch their first broadband and digital TV product to the UK market and celebrated their millionth connection within 2 years of its launch. It is however the pace and breadth of online retail that really keeps her ticking. Liz lives in Cape Town and during her spare time surfs, cycles and walks her two giant dogs.


Daniel Guasco, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Groupon South Africa – a multibillion-dollar global operation, in 48 countries with over 2000 deals advertised internationally every day. An eternal optimist driven to make dreams a reality, Daniel has built Groupon up to become one of the leading South African based e-commerce companies. Daniel has always been an entrepreneur at heart, starting his first business at the age of 12. Daniel went into corporate for several years, working both locally and internationally in the UK and Eastern Europe. After completing his MBA in 2008, he went on to start various businesses including Twangoo which is now known as Groupon South Africa.


David Gibbons is the E-commerce and Digital Marketing Executive at Edcon. It’s a job he describes as “bootstrapping a startup in the garage of a R 26 Billion retailer.” David’s team recently launched redsquare.co.za and is now working on taking Edcon’s other stores online. In 2000, David moved to the US and pioneered drop shipping at Amazon.com where he also helped the company grow its offshore outsourcing operations. After Amazon, he managed social media marketing and business development for Zillow.com (the US’s leading property portal) before returning to SA in 2010. Besides internet bandwidth, the thing he misses most about living in the US is snow.

Mike Stopforth is the founder and CEO of Cerebra, an integrated strategic communication agency that builds, engages and activates communities around brands. Cerebra’s client list includes Vodacom, Nedbank, Toyota, Lexus, Hollard, Autopage, Intel and more.
In 2009 Mike was named one of South Africa’s “300 Young South Africans to take to lunch” by the Mail & Guardian newspaper, as well as one of “35 men of influence under 35 years of age” by GQ magazine and invited to contribute a chapter on social media to Dion Chang‘s 2010 Flux Trends Review publication. In 2010 he was named an “exceptional industry guru” in Destiny Man magazine’s Power of 40 feature.
Mike also co-founded the 27dinner social networking events, blogs at www.mikestopforth.com, and can be found on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Mark Mahoney has been involved in the courier industry since 1991. He joined Berco Express as Branch Manager in 1998 and project managed the BeDirect Online courier service offering in 2002. He started focusing on the eCommerce sector in 2003 working with clients such Kalahari, Yuppiechef and Loot. Since the acquisition of Berco Express by Aramex in Dec 2011, Mark’s title has been eCommerce Manager for Aramex SA.

Jonathan Smit is a technophile, entrepreneur, investor, engineer and the co-founder and Managing Director of PayFast. Jonathan will discuss online payments in South Africa, including the obstacles, security issues and innovative answers that come along with it.

Erik Vermeulen. Behavioural Economics Strategist, Keynote Speaker, “GameStorming” Facilitator, Trainer, Behavioural Culture Development. Erik will be the Master of Ceremonies at the South African eCommerce Conference.

Kirsty Henderson is the PR & Marketing Manager of uAfrica.com. She graduated from the University of Pretoria with a degree in Information Science. Kirsty joined the team in 2009, where her passion for eCommerce and the Internet has grown into a bit of an obsession.