GoMetro CEO: “Ge...

GoMetro CEO: “Getting to product-market fit should be entrepreneurs’ first priority”

Fresh off a string of recent successes—being a VentureOut Challenge finalist, presenting at DEMOAfrica, pitching at the 1776 Challenge Cup Tour in Cape Town—GoMetro CEO Justin Coetzee chats with us about the evolving field of startups building smarter cities.

In 2012, Justin Coetzee launched GoMetro at mLab Southern Africa. His mission was to give South Africans access to real-time public transport information, including up-to-the-minute commuter updates to users of MetroRail, South Africa’s largest scheduled transport mode.

GoMetro embodies a growing global interest in innovations aimed at enhancing the infrastructure of urban centers with new technology to make them more competitive, livable, environmentally friendly, and socially connected.

Notably, the startup was one of seven in the “smart cities” category at the 1776 Challenge Cup Tour in Cape Town earlier this month. By comparison, the other three categories—health, energy, and education—counted only ten ventures between them.

“It was truly humbling,” said Coetzee of the competition, “to be recognized as a smarter city startup that is achieving product-market fit, gaining traction, seeing revenues and growth in markets.”

While he recognized the progress GoMetero has made since its launch, he also observed a growing concern among mobile specialists that many smart city startups are struggling to move past the prototype stage.

Increasingly, he said, “entrepreneurs with great concepts are not able to win contracts for implementation.”

“Moving startups from prototype to MVP to product-market fit should be priority number one of any entrepreneur in the smarter city sector,” he concluded.

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