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EDWARD LAWRENCE

Edward is a successful entrepreneur who is well recognised for his commitment to the development of the African Internet.

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Often called on for business and leadership advice, Edward is a member of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA), and serves on multiple boards of pan-African technology companies.

 

Since co-founding Workonline Communications in 2006, Edward has successfully led the company to becoming the leader in the provision of wholesale connectivity and IP transit services in sub-Saharan Africa. Edward most notably also co-founded businesses such as Yafibr (formerly AIK Group) in 2020, as well as Magic Space Dust and Unicorn Factory in 2021.

Edward has consistently championed skills development in southern Africa, supporting the advancement of critical initiatives in the fields of IPv6, BGP security, RPKI and other Internet related technologies. He also supports many causes to this end in his personal capacity.

1997: Moves from American school in France to join French school in England.

2000: Leaves school in London, England, to muster cattle in the Australian outback.

2004: Starts his first company, Workonline Interactive, aged 19, in Cape Town, South Africa.

2005: Founder of Hush Hush Marketing in Cape Town, South Africa.

2006: Co-founder of Workonline Communications in Cape Town, South Africa.

2007: Sale of Workonline Interactive's website hosting business. First exit.

2008: Co-founder of The Code Studio in Cape Town, South Africa.

2010: Co-founder of Leopard Luxury Car Hire in Cape Town, South Africa.

2011: Moves to Johannesburg and opens Workonline Communications office in Johannesburg.

2012: Workonline Communications launches first European Point of Presence (POP) in London.

2013: Forges a strategic partnership between Level3 Communications, the largest network in the world at the time, and Workonline Communications.

2014: Workonline Communications introduces free IPv6 IP Transit service to ISPs in South Africa.

2015: Workonline Communications launches in Kenya, marking the beginning of an expansion into many other African markets.

2016: Awarded finalist in the IT Personality of the Year in South Africa in recognition of exceptional contribution to the South African ICT industry.

2017: Appointed to advisory board of leading pan-African carrier neutral data centre operator.

2017: First Workonline Tour – subsidises delegation of carefully selected Internet engineers from across Africa to hold in person workshops with leading engineers in Europe, Asia, and North America.

2018: Workonline Communications launches first Asian POP in Singapore.

2018: Launches WomenTechConnect programme for the African Internet community at the African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) in Cape Town, South Africa.

2019: Workonline Communications becomes the first African network to deploy RPKI-based BGP Origin Validation to help secure the African Internet.

2020: Forges partnership with Afrika Tikkun to provide free high-speed Internet to thousands of children in South Africa.

2020: Co-founder of AIK Group (rebranded to Yafibr in 2023) which designs, installs, and manages long haul terrestrial dark fibre infrastructure in Africa and Europe.

2021: Co-founder of Magic Space Dust, a global engineering franchise which builds, owns, and operates satellite communication infrastructure.

2021: Founder of Unicorn Factory which grows enterprises through sustainable impact equity investments. Together, we are stronger.

2022: Leads transaction to form the Yafibr partnership in Kenya, securing a tier 2 (national) infrastructure license.

2023: Launch of Unicorn Factory Advisory Services which raises capital for Unicorn Factory subsidiaries, as well as carefully selected external companies.

2024: Co-founder of Transmission Co to provide high-capacity, wholesale DWDM transmission services in Africa.

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CONTACT INFORMATION:

Email: edward (at) lawrence.africa

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