The '70s and '80s...
The origins of Korbitec track back to the founding of Compustat when two childhood
friends in their final year at the University of Cape Town in 1976 formed a company
that merged stationery with data via a personal computer. Compustat, as it was then
known, was engaged from the outset in cutting-edge software development and was
responsible for some of the most successful South African software applications
in the 1980s and 1990s.
Better known applications and services developed during this time include:
The first commercial Internet Service Provider in South Africa was sold into UUNET
which has become the largest ISP on the continent today.
A fully fledged DOS-based word processing system that competed directly with Word
Perfect and others during the 1980s and early 1990s. GhostWriter became a de facto
standard for the legal profession in South Africa, outselling all other products
in this market.
In 1988, with a full-text search engine developed by Compustat and with legal content
from Juta & Co (one of South Africa's leading legal publishers), Jutastat became
one of the first commercial CD-ROM publishers in the world. A comprehensive legal
library was developed and sold extensively into the South African legal fraternity.
The ABSA Property Computer System is adopted by almost all the Real Estate companies
in South Africa.
A slew of vertical applications for the legal market were developed, harnessing
the document assembly capabilities of GhostWriter with its bond program and other
legal applications. The "Mortgage Bond Program", in particular, was a first in this
milieu, made possible through the advent of laser printers in the early 1980s. It
was widely adopted throughout the South African legal fraternity.
Bank Mortgage Loan Administration System
Having completed the conveyancing (property transfer) system for Attorneys and an
Agency administration system for Real Estate companies, the natural progression
was to offer a home loan processing system for lending institutions. The
system provided for internet-based transmission of instructions to Attorneys.
The Compact Collection
A fully fledged ERP system that until 2002 competed very successfully in the South
Africa market with the likes of SAP, Baan and JD Edwards.
Compustat was twice elected onto South Africa's "Top-20 Non-listed Companies" list
(as audited by Arthur Andersen). Several of its products received "Best Product"
awards in locally adjudicated competitions. Other highlights of the decade include:
In 1992 CEO Mendel Karpul was voted the "IT Personality of the Year" of the Western
Province Chapter of the Computer Society of South Africa.
Comprehensive Property Services (CPS) and ABSA Property Computer System (APCS) merged
in 1994 to form a new property software company, Planet, with the major Banks as
shareholders. Planet's mission was to computerise the property transaction, from
listing to registration, by facilitating the communication between all the players
in the property transaction cycle. From 1994, Planet became the leading Real
Estate software and property data supplier in South Africa with the majority of Agencies subscribing
to Planet's products and services.
Compustat directors successfully negotiated the sale of the company, together with
its Internet Africa subsidiary, into Datatec, one of the major technology conglomerates
listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange in 1996. Internet Africa was merged
into a joint venture between Datatec (76%) and UUNET (24%). The new shareholders
retained the original Internet Africa staff to run and manage the company through
its formative years in the heady pioneering days of the internet revolution.
Following a 100% successful earn-out of the businesses sold to Datatec and UUNET,
Korbitec was constituted out of a mutually acceptable management buyout of the software
development components of these businesses in 1999 . The new company was created
with the intention of reinstating the software development origins of the founders.
Close to 100 staff, many of whom had been with the group since its early Compustat
days, were brought into the new Korbitec fold.
2000 to the present
Property24.com was established after Naspers acquired Planet in 2000. The goal for
Property24.com was (and remains) to become the leading Property Portal in South
Africa. Property24.com won the CNBC award for best Property Portal in SA in 2007
and the e-Commerce Award voted by consumers as the best Property Website in 2008
The Korbitec Search Business was launched through the acquisition of WinDeed, providing
online searching of title deed information at the South African Deeds Office.
Korbitec won the bid to develop the American Institute of Architects' Contract Documents
Software. The product was launched in 2003 and currently has in excess of 30 000
users throughout North America.
In the same year, GhostDigest was launched. Seven years and over two thousand articles
later, it remains the leader in publishing property and conveyancing news for Attorneys.
ITC and CIPRO (Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office) searches
were added to the Korbitec Search product offering. The number of users of this
popular service has been increasing steadily throughout South Africa.
The user base of Korbitec's flagship GhostConvey product exceeded 5 000 for the
first time in 2004 and continued to grow steadily thereafter.
Korbitec won a bid to develop the "Drafting Wills and Trust Agreements" document
assembly product for the Thomson West Corporation. The product was successfully
launched into the North American market under the Thomson West banner.
In 2006 the GhostPractice legal practice management and accounting system was added
to Korbitec's family of products, expanding the Korbitec offering to include complete
Korbitec launched its Gateway solution in 2007, which allowed secure business-to-business
workflow management software enabling financial institutions, Attorneys
and other property professionals to collaborate electronically through their preferred
In the same year WinDeed launched Spider Searches, combining current and historic
Deeds Office records across all Deeds Offices with antenuptial contracts and CIPRO
records to provide comprehensive direct and indirect asset ownership profiling.
Korbitec Gateway linked Bridging Finance providers to Attorneys and other property
GhostInstruct was launched in 2008 as the stand-alone web-based solution for niche
Banks to collaborate with Attorneys and property professionals linked to Korbitec
Gateway. The following year Korbitec Gateway expanded to link Municipalities via
innovative online rates management software. The City of Cape Town and others became
early adopters and continue to save significant time and cost through online collaboration.
In the same year in recognition of its ongoing delivery and strategic potential,
multinational media giant Naspers acquired a 51% shareholding in Korbitec. Included
in the deal was the merging of the leading South African property portal, Property24.com,
with the Korbitec business model.
And in 2010, amongst several exciting new initiatives in the solution pipeline,
Korbitec Gateway is expanding its footprint to link Estate Agent offices to Attorneys
and other property professionals, thereby enabling electronic transfer instructions
and pipeline management.