BY Nkosazana Ngwadla
Funny, warm, hard-working and kind are just a few words that describe Gqeberha’s very own Alexandria Procter. She sat at a Walmer restaurant, smiling and laughing with the waitress as if she wasn’t exhausted from one of the many flights she takes in a week.
“I’m always all over the place, so it’s nice to be at home, take in the warm wind and just take a breather,” she giggled, though the break only lasted a day as she flew to Cape Town just a day later.
Procter is the CEO, co-founder and Head of Product of a tech start-up based in Cape Town, South Africa.
As a student, Procter, along with co-founder and friend, Greg Ramsay-Keal, created DigsConnect, the first and largest digital marketplace for student accommodation in South Africa.
DigsConnect raised R12 million in a seed round 13 months after starting, making Procter one of South Africa’s youngest self-made female millionaires.
At the time it was the largest seed round raised by a female founder in South Africa.
DigsConnect has connected 130 000 landlords and tenants to date, and generated more than R100 million in lease value for landlords in 2023 alone, while ensuring students in South Africa find a home. With their strategic partners, DigsConnect has a presence in more than 400 cities worldwide, listing more than 1.3 million beds.
The company is now headquartered in London and Cape Town, and Procter said they’re growing fast, and on track to generate R1 billion in lease value by 2024. Procter acknowledges the importance of collaboration and partnership, but said there comes a time in entrepreneurship where you have to fly solo.
“It’s obviously a bit daunting striking out on our own terms in the global arena, but I do believe that in the long run, you have to grow a business on your own terms, staying true to your own vision and being in control of the ship you’re steering. It’s a very turbulent time in the startup and venture capital world right now, so I just had to keep a very tight control on the business. Part of that meant winding down partnerships that weren’t in our core focus,” she said.
As if she doesn’t already have her hands full, Procter is also a Board Director for the National Youth Development Agency, as well as for the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative, and will share some of the lessons she has learned during her journey in a book dealing with African start-ups, which will be published by NB Publishers and is set to launch in 2024.
For the 29-year-old, the greatest pleasure of all the work she and her team does is the many lives that are actively changed.
When she’s not working, the bubbly Procter can be found horse riding, skiing, sailing, mountaineering, cycling, and anywhere near the ocean. She has summited Kilimanjaro, trekked the Inca Trail and Everest Base Camp, and is pursuing her private pilot’s licence at Stellenbosch Flying Club.
“I’ve travelled extensively, circumnavigating the globe when I was 17. I’m a member of Mensa South Africa and Mensa UK. I’m an advocate for meditation, mindfulness and conscious living and prioritise health, happiness and wellness,” she concluded before jetting off to her next adventure.