Roberto CoelhoBy Roberto Coelho|November 17, 2021|11 Minutes|In Billionaire Tomorrow

Billionaire Tomorrow

"The property disrupter who sold candy floss."

Entrepreneurship is a journey, for Andries Levi Pretorius it is an evolving story of simplicity and technology, from candy floss to property?

On this early autumn’s day in northern Johannesburg, the temperature is chili but the conversation is warm.

As a cappuccino refill knocks, Andries Levi Pretorius, the31-year-old tech millennial, is a man on a mission; a story of  ambition and innovation.

The new father shares his entrepreneurial journey from his childhood when he questioned the so called “norms” of life.

Currently, his ambition is invested in WeBuyProp, an online platform designed to connect property investors with below-market-value properties.

Before founding WeBuyProp, an endless need for success and thirst for adventure was embeddedin his childhood.

Pretorius’s entrepreneurial spirit came alive in his parent’s back yard. Hehe would salvage old toys tosell  through the bars of thefront gate.

As he grew up he never feared failure.

“We live in a weird time, many people operate from a place of fear, especially the fear of failure.”


From selling toys through the gate of his family home, he became Head of House at Pretoria Boys in 2008 and on to the University of Pretoria where he took the first bite at the floss?

This story is unusual yet age-old, he identified demand for a product and leveraged the opportunity to his benefit.

“A friend of mine had a candy floss machine back at home, and all the students loved it. So I said he must bring the machine to the residence and I bought it from him.”

“One afternoon I walked past a candy store and  jokingly asked a fried what he thought the margins would be on Candy Floss. Huge, he said with a grin.”

Pretorius’s friend  owned a candy floss machine back home. After a rather long drive the machine was in Preortia and Pretorius ambitions began to show.


His goal was greater than selling to students, but rather supplying Sparand other retailers which unexpectedly led to his business becoming of one the largest candy floss suppliers in South Africa.

“I would dress up in a suit and head to the local Spar and speak to the managers, selling them the candy floss, packaged and ready to be sold.”

However, being a shrewdbusinessman, Pretorius understood before capitalizing on this potential opportunity an MVP (minimalviable product) was required.

MVPs are known as the key to the back door of successful sales.

Thus, before any candy floss was produced, he went to a different stall, bought a bag of candy floss, and met with a Spar manager promoting hisMVP. The Spar manager was impressed and ordered several bags.

“I was very happy, but I had a bit of a problem, I hadn’t produced any candy floss before!”

Jumping between lectures, Pretorius created a basic production and supply schedule.

“During a lecture, I would receive calls from our customers and need to call them back afterwards to iron out any missteps .”

No business works perfectly, to succeed one must manage the problems and water down the fires.

However, Pretorius learned several lessons from those early days.

“I learned to embrace rejection very quickly, I would try to sell to new retailers and be shot down. Then I would walk on to the next store, and so on.”

Rejection is a part of life, no one enjoys it, yet becoming comfortable in the face of rejection is a quality we should all search for.

Despite initial  rejection, the business succeeded, “we became one of the biggest candy floss suppliers in the country.”

“I remember at the beginning the other students in the residence would laugh at us. But when we started paying them to help us make the candy floss, the laughs stopped. We had candy floss lining the hallways!”

The mindset is key, opportunities dont just happen. You create them.

This sweet taste of victory allowed Pretorius to cash in on the sale of his business, at the young age of 21, setting him up for a new venture in property.

“After university, I heavily researched successful entrepreneurs, a common theme began to appear,  property!”

Pretorius took notes from everybody from Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) to Donald Trump, investment property was and is a constant stalwart of successful entrepreneurs.

Initially, a conventional approach was followed, he bought properties and would either flip them or rent them.

“This was a great success, but very challenging, risky, and lots of hard work. Dealing with contractors, tenants, and trying to scale the business was tough to achieve.”

Just as a home of scale becomes majestic, a business of scale becomes disruptive.

With skyscraper high ambitions and deep foundations, Pretorius searched for a method of leveraging ‘grandpas’ traditional property investments into a tech-savvy scalable business.

“If I cannot scale a business I am not interested in pursuing it, and tech allows us to scale anything for a very low price.”

However, the use of tech is not a blender. Simply adding technology and mixing it with the property market does not magically result in a scalable business.

The challenge was to look past an oversupplied property market and an erected barrier of entry courtesy of traditional estate agents. Thus, avoiding the traditional market he invested into an undersupplied market; distressed sellers.

Unfortunately, South Africa, the country so many call home has a few cracks in the walls.

These cracks include mass unemployment, a hurting economy, and a continuing brain drain. As these crisis’s continue WeBuyProp sellers find themselves in need of a fast and easy method to sell the home.

“We focus on distress homes, even ‘ugly’ homes where potential investors see the value.”

WeBuyProp is designed to assist sellers and link them with potential buyers in a quick manner.

WeBuyProp allows anyone with a home to request an offer directly from us. We make an offer to buy with in 48 hours and pay out quickly at a ow price.”

WeBuyProp generates a small commission on each successful sale, however, if a sale falls through there is still potential upside.

When a homeowner disagrees with the selling price and walks away from the deal, Pretorius can use this homeowner’s information and sell this data to estate agents in the form of sale leads. However, inight of the new POPI Act- that promises to protect personal information – the relevant changes were made.

“We generate a lot of leads, sometimes I like to say we are in the lead generating business.”

With an ability to benefit both from successful and non-successful sales, the platformis fast growing.

This success is built on a foundational attitude towards problems all entrepreneurs should strive towards.

“I’ve learnt that you don’t start a company because you want to become an entrepreneur. You become an entrepreneur to solve a real problem.”


Solving problems in his professional career overflows into his private life.

With a newly born child, a growing business, and other investments, Pretorius’s time is consumed quickly yet a balanced life is top of mind.

“We are all capable of balance. It is extremely important to make the most out of each hour, focus is key.”

Focus is key to the Pretorius home where dreams become reality as he is not the only high flyer, but his wife a successful actress, Simonè Pretorius.

Looking to the future Pretorius sees growth in the market.

“South Africans are not used to selling homes online, however, it is growing quickly and was accelerated by the pandemic.”

In July, South Africa fell prey to vicious riots, resulting in considerable economic damage; yet Pretorius is still optimistic.

“I love this country and as an entrepreneur, there are a few places better to operate in, the more problems; the more solutions.”

Regardless of the socio-economic temperature he is endlessly looking for opportunities  with a burning desire for success.

“One’s mindsetiskey; opportunities don’t just happen, you create them.”

Success is in one’s reach when we look through the bars of the  gate of pessimism.