Vinny Lingham

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Vinny Lingham
Vinny Lingham CEO Civic.jpg
Vinny Lingham

(1979-02-07) 7 February 1979 (age 39)
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

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]

Early life[edit]

Lingham was born on 7 February 1979 in East London, South Africa. His mother is of Indian Origin. He finished high school at the age of 17 and went on to study Information Systems at the University of Cape Town but did not complete his studies there due to turbulent financial times during the emerging markets crisis in 1998. He moved to Silicon Valley, California in the mid-2000s.[3]


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.[4]

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.[5][6][7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] In August of 2017, Civic partnered with WikiHow, providing the how-to website with encrypted login functionality.[11]

From 2014 to 2016, Vinny Lingham was one of the investors, or "dragons", on South Africa's Dragons' Den reality TV series.[12] Starting in 2016, he is one of the "sharks" on the follow-up to Dragons' Den, Shark Tank South Africa. In November 2016, he made news when he invested in a company on Shark Tank using bitcoin instead of dollars. The company, Augmentors, develops an augmented reality game, and Lingham convinced them to use blockchain technology for their game; he felt that having the money in bitcoin would be a good way for them to get started with the technology.[13] In 2017, Lingham was also an "Angel" on National Geographic's not-for-profit program Undercover Angel.[14] Lingham is also the co-author of "I'm In: Essential Advice for Entrepreneurs".[15]

Personal life[edit]

Lingham is married.[3] He became a United States citizen after Donald Trump's election.[3]


Lingham’s industry accolades include:

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Vinny Lingham CrunchBase Profile
  3. ^ a b c Roberts, Chris (2018-09-11). "The Bitcoin Oracle Who Exited Bitcoin". BREAKER. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  4. ^ TechCrunch: SynthaSite Gets a $20 Million Boost for Simple Website Creation Software
  5. ^ "Newtown Partners Pty Ltd: Company Profile". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  6. ^ "SweepSouth becomes first SA startup to join Silicon Valley's 500 Startups programme – Ventureburn". Ventureburn. 2015-08-03. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  7. ^ "Crowdfunding record for SA-made AR game". IT-Online. 2017-02-03. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  8. ^ Perez, Sarah. "Gyft Is Moving The Plastic Gift Card Industry To Your iPhone". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  9. ^ TechCentral: SA’s Vinny Lingham hits US pay dirt
  10. ^
  11. ^ "How-To Website WikiHow Partners With Blockchain Startup Civic - CoinDesk". CoinDesk. 2017-08-23. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  12. ^ Destiny Man: Meet SA’s own Dragons
  13. ^ "How South Africa's 'Shark Tank' Saw its First Bitcoin Investment". CoinDesk. November 19, 2016.
  14. ^ "Undercover Angel". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  15. ^ 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.