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Vinny Lingham is a South African Internet entrepreneur who is the co-founder & CEO of Civic - an identity protection and management startup. He was also previously the founder and CEO of Gyft (acquired by First Data Corporation in 2014 for over $50m) & Yola, Inc. He is also the co-founder of SiliconCape, an NGO based in South Africa that aims to turn Cape Town into a technology hub.[1] Lingham was also previously the founder and CEO of the global technology firm incuBeta and its subsidiary Clicks2Customers.[2]

Vinny Lingham
Vinny Lingham CEO Civic.jpg
Vinny Lingham

(1979-02-07) 7 February 1979 (age 40)
ResidencePalo Alto, California, U.S.
NationalityUnited States
EducationUniversity of South Africa
Gordon Institute of Business Science
OccupationInternet entrepreneur
TitleFounder and CEO of Civic (2015–present)
Term2007 – Present
Board member ofBitcoin Foundation
AwardsWorld Economic Forum Young Global Leaders (2009), Top Young ICT Entrepreneur in Africa Award (2006), Endeavor High Impact Entrepreneur (2006)
WebsiteCompany website
Personal weblog


In 2003, Lingham founded incuBeta, an investment holding company that engages in the ownership, management, and support of online marketing companies in various stages of development, with offices in the US, UK and Cape Town. Also in 2003, Lingham founded Clicks2Customers, a subsidiary of incuBeta that provides search engine marketing software and services. Lingham served as the CEO of both companies.

In 2007, Lingham founded Yola, a proprietary web development platform for individuals, small businesses and organizations. To date, Yola has received over $25 million in funding from Johann Rupert’s Reinet Fund.[3]

Vinny Lingham is the co-founder of the Silicon Cape Initiative, a South African-based organization which aims to turn the Western Cape into a high-tech startup hub. He is also the co-founder of the investment fund Newtown Partners, through which Lingham has led early stage investments into successful and notable startups including Sweep South and Augmentors.[4][5][6]

Lingham was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2006 and a Young Global Leader in 2009 with the World Economic Forum. Endeavor is a global non-profit that selects and supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

In 2012, Lingham started Gyft, a mobile gift card company, with the backing of Google Ventures.[7] In two years, Gyft became the leading service in the mobile gift card space and was acquired by First Data Corporation in 2014 for more than US$54m.[8]

In 2015, Lingham founded Civic, a startup that encrypts identity information on the blockchain. Civic raised in excess of US$33m in funding during its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in June of 2017.[9]

From 2014 to 2016, Vinny Lingham was one of the investors, or "dragons", on South Africa's Dragons' Den reality TV series.[10] Starting in 2016, he is one of the "sharks" on the follow-up to Dragons' Den, Shark Tank South Africa. In 2017, Lingham was also an "Angel" on National Geographic's not-for-profit program Undercover Angel.[11] Lingham is also the co-author of "I'm In: Essential Advice for Entrepreneurs".[12]


Lingham’s industry accolades include:

External linksEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ Vinny Lingham CrunchBase Profile
  3. ^ TechCrunch: SynthaSite Gets a $20 Million Boost for Simple Website Creation Software
  4. ^ "Newtown Partners Pty Ltd: Company Profile". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  5. ^ "SweepSouth becomes first SA startup to join Silicon Valley's 500 Startups programme – Ventureburn". Ventureburn. 3 August 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Crowdfunding record for SA-made AR game". IT-Online. 3 February 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  7. ^ Perez, Sarah. "Gyft Is Moving The Plastic Gift Card Industry To Your iPhone". TechCrunch. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  8. ^ TechCentral: SA’s Vinny Lingham hits US pay dirt
  9. ^
  10. ^ Destiny Man: Meet SA’s own Dragons
  11. ^ "Undercover Angel". Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  12. ^ Lingha), Gil; Thembekwayo Oved (Vusi; Leteka, Polo; (2015). And for All These Reasons I'm in: Essential Advice for Entrepreneurs. Tracey Mcdonald Publisher. ISBN 9780994658623.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)