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Tom Riley


EPIC Awards 2022 Finalist

"Don't be kak, be lekker! "

Founder and MD of Tiny Keg. IMBA 2012

I’m from South Africa (a small town near the middle-of-nowhere, called Kimberley), and studied Industrial Engineering as an undergrad. I’ve had a few career changes, and I think that’s probably the main theme to my ‘career’ – not settling. A few years into an unsatisfying career in banking I decided to be an entrepreneur, left banking, and then failed. Well, the business failed, but I learned. A lot! That set me back a bit… I went jobhunting again and eventually got a job consulting to banks even less satisfying than before! I needed drastic change, and that led me to IE.

How did IE help you get to where you are today?

My experience at IE really opened my eyes to a global world that I hadn’t fully seen before. It also gave me the time to consider my path in life. After the MBA I landed a role with a global corporate, which was very rewarding, and really accelerated the learning that started at IE. More important than any of this were the friends I made. One of them is now my partner in business!

How did you come up with the idea for your company?

I copied an industry that was already quite well-developed in the USA. There was nobody doing that in South Africa, so decided to start something similar.

What is the key to the success of your company?

I don’t think we have succeeded, yet! Key to our growth and progress though… We’re constantly re-evaluating and changing direction, but staying true to our fundamentals. We believed there was an opportunity to lower barriers to entry for creative entrepreneurs with great beverage ideas. We’ve changed from only packaging beer, to now doing mostly wine. We’ve changed from a mobile-only service to now having our own facility for packaging. But, it’s still fundamentally about lowering those barriers.


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