Matthew Buckland

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Matthew Buckland
Matthew buckland destiny2.jpg
Matthew Buckland
Matthew James Buckland

(1974-08-22)22 August 1974
Died23 April 2019(2019-04-23) (aged 44)
EducationRhodes University
OccupationInternet entrepreneur
TitleFounder and MD of Creative Spark
Board member ofSilicon Cape Initiative
Creative Commons
AwardsSelected Fast Company Magazine's Most Creative People in Business (2015), Destiny Magazine: Power of 40: 40 entrepreneurs under 40 (2011), Top 100 "South Africa’s most influential media and advertising people" by The Annual (2009)
WebsiteCompany website Media
Personal weblog

Matthew Buckland (22 August 1974 – 23 April 2019)[1] was a South African Internet entrepreneur and businessman who founded and exited[2] digital agency and publisher Creative Spark, acquired in 2015 by UK firm M&C Saatchi PLC (LSESAA), the holding group of M&C Saatchi.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] Buckland was also the founder of Burn Media, a suite of technology publishing brands which includes Memeburn,, and others.

Buckland previously headed the online division of the Mail & Guardian, thereafter he started 20fourlabs at Naspers',[10][11][12] the largest South African online news publisher, owned by Naspers.[13] While at the Mail & Guardian Buckland founded Thought Leader.

In 2015 he was selected as a "Master of Digital", sitting down with actor Idris Elba for a "Q&A Session".[14][15]

Buckland lived in Cape Town with his wife and two daughters.

Early life[edit]

Buckland studied journalism at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.[16] He worked in London for the BBC's then-commercial web arm, as a developer, and then a web development producer.[17] He then later worked as the Internet editor for prime-time TV show, Carte Blanche, before becoming Managing Director of Mail & Guardian's online division. He was the eldest son of Andrew Buckland and Janet Buckland, a prominent South African acting family.[18][19][20][21]


Buckland co-founded Amatomu in 2007, and in 2010, Creative Spark[22] and Burn Media, which he funded himself after being unable to raise venture capital for it.[23] Five years later, in 2015, he sold a majority share in his company to the FTSE-listed agency, M&C Saatchi.[24] The deal included the sale of both the digital agency and the publishing arm, which owns titles such as Memeburn and Ventureburn.[25] He later retook control of the publishing arm when exiting his former company in 2018.[26] Ventureburn is a site that reports on the startup, entrepreneur and investor ecosystems in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

He was the Master of Ceremonies[27] at the Silicon Cape Initiative launch event and was elected to its inaugural board. The Silicon Cape Initiative is a South African-based organization which aims to turn the Western Cape into a high-tech startup hub. Buckland credits this organisation for inspiring him to move out of the corporate world into entrepreneurship.[28]

In 2012, Buckland was recognised in the Power of 40: 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40 "Doing Interesting Things"[29]

In 2013 and 2014, he was a member of the Cape Town chapter of Entrepreneurs Organisation.[30][31]


Buckland’s industry accolades include:


Buckland died in April 2019 of cancer. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.[32]


  1. ^ Kekana, Mashadi (23 April 2019). "Digital pioneer Matthew Buckland dies". Mail & Guardian Online. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  2. ^ Buckland exits Creative Spark, M&C Saatchi Group
  3. ^ M&C Saatchi acquires SA’s Creative Spark (
  4. ^ Saatchi acquires Memeburn publisher (ItWeb)
  5. ^ Creative Spark sold to M&C Saatchi (Moneyweb)
  6. ^ BREAKING: Creative Spark acquired by M&C Saatchi PLC (
  7. ^ Interview: Matthew Buckland on M&C Saatchi/Creative Spark deal (Marklives)
  9. ^ M&C Saatchi Acquires Creative Spark in South Africa (M&C Saatchi)
  10. ^ Waal, Mandy de. "Matthew on the move". ITWeb Technology News. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  11. ^ Staff Reporter. "300 Young South Africans: Technology (Part 2)". The M&G Online. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  12. ^ "SA online professionals do their own thing". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  13. ^ South Africa’s biggest websites
  14. ^ The Oude Meester Tour, Day 2 – Cape Town
  15. ^ Idris Elba tours SA for Oude Meester
  16. ^ Matthew Buckland, Poynter.(Retrieved 16 January 2012)
  17. ^ "BIO: Matthew Buckland". News24. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  18. ^ On the stage – ANDREW BUCKLAND, BDFM, 2010
  19. ^ Buckland's got a play date with obsession, IOL, 2015
  20. ^ People of note – Women of Inspiration – Community Buckland Janet
  21. ^ 200 Young South Africans: Arts and Culture
  22. ^ Matthew Buckland to pursue creative spark'
  23. ^ "Extraordinary life: Elon Musk". The M&G Online. 27 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  24. ^ Breaking: M&C Saatchi PLC acquires independent digital player Creative Spark
  25. ^ Creative Spark sold to M&C Saatchi
  26. ^ Burn Media to embark on aggressive growth after deal to go solo – Buckland
  27. ^ "Enter the Silicon Cape | Matthew Buckland". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  28. ^ The Unwavering Persistence of Entrepreneurs
  29. ^ "Valuable lessons from a "chicken" entrepreneur | DESTINY Magazine". DESTINY Magazine. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  30. ^ "The unwavering persistence of entrepreneurs | ventureburn". Archived from the original on 30 September
  31. ^ High Octane, EO Blog
  32. ^ "Condolences pour in for digital pioneer Matthew Buckland". News24. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.

External links[edit]