A couple of die-hard South Africans overseas, who have risked everything to follow their dream, are on the verge of something “enormous”… and would appreciate our voting help to get a chance to pitch their concept to Richard Branson.

Fourex, invented by South Africans

UK-based entrepreneurs Jeff Paterson and Oliver Du Toit, both from Johannesburg, have created a machine that millions of travellers will want to use. They’ve developed image recognition software that can recognise and exchange coins and notes from almost any country in the world.

“The idea behind it is that every time people return home from an overseas trip, they always end up with a handful of coins and a banknote or two, and there is no way of exchanging this money,” says Paterson, who regularly makes trips back home to South Africa to visit family and friends.

“With over a billion people travelling internationally every year, we knew there had to be a market for something like this as everybody we spoke to had a jar filled with leftover currency lying dormant in a drawer at home.” (According to research in the UK there is over £3-billion of unused foreign currency in UK homes.)

The two men have spent “every cent” they have over the past three years to develop this machine – called Fourex – which allows people to “simply dump any coin, or any note, from any country, into the machine in exchange for usable currency.” (See video below.)

Fourex has secured a contract with Transport for London (TFL) to place machines in several busy Underground stations. (An average of 1.2-billion passengers use the network each year.)

Fourex founders Oliver Du Toit and Jeff Paterson.
Fourex founders Oliver Du Toit and Jeff Paterson.

“We have also secured a contract with Westfield (shopping centre), and the goal is to deploy over 400 machines into central London within two years. In addition to exchanging leftover currency, our kiosk offers Bureau de Change services to tourists, with over 33 million foreigners visiting the UK every year.”

When the innovative South Africans first tried to raise investment they were rejected “hundreds of times, due to the fact that there is nothing else out there that is similar” and investors prefer to see a concept proven before they take the risk.

But like all good South African entrepreneurs (and from Elon Musk to Mark Shuttleworth, we have our share!) “this never deterred us. We knew we had created something amazing.”

And so they crowdfunded in February and managed to exceed expectations and raise £670,000 in just over two weeks from 430 investors, giving them enough money to manufacture the first of their machines for their contract with the London Underground. (The UK’s Daily Mail wrote about it here.)

The crowdfunding exposure has also resulted in requests for franchises from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan and Northern Ireland.

To continue the momentum from their crowdfunding campaign, and ahead of their launch into London Underground stations, the start-up entered a competition held by Virgin Business Media (“Pitch to Rich”), which allows companies to enter their new idea, and the finalists get the opportunity to pitch their idea to Richard Branson for a possible investment, and a chance to win a share of over £1 million in prizes.

Paterson and Du Toit have already beaten over 2,500 companies to be selected as one of the 10 semi-finalists! They are now at the stage where the 10 semi-finalists will get reduced to three finalists.

And this is where your help is needed…

The top three finalists will be decided through votes from us, the general public, up until the 16th June. They are currently neck and neck with another competitor. “We cannot let an opportunity like this slip through our fingers as we definitely have the best idea.,” says Paterson.

So let’s get behind fellow South Africans and let the world discover another great invention from one of ours (and one lucky voter will win £10,000 in this round):

Visit the Fourex website | Vote for Fourex

[vc_button title=”Vote for Fourex Now” target=”_blank” color=”default” size=”size_large2″ href=”http://bit.ly/1f2btLa”]

Watch Video – Fourex

[vc_button title=”Vote for Fourex Now” target=”_blank” color=”default” size=”size_large2″ href=”http://bit.ly/1f2btLa”]

Watch Video – London Live Interview with Fourex

[vc_button title=”Vote for Fourex Now” target=”_blank” color=”default” size=”size_large2″ href=”http://bit.ly/1f2btLa”]

Visit the Fourex website | Vote for Fourex

Please share this and tell your friends.