Top 35 under 35: Lyle Charles Laxton

SAICA Admin Jan 15, 2018

Lyle Charles Laxton, CEO of Laxton Group Limited, 34

Lyle Laxton used his CA(SA) qualification as a foundation to start up Laxton Group Limited, a company he has grown from a one man start up to a global player in the field of biometrics, cryptology and artificial intelligence.

The company provides high-tech tech election, identity and self-service solutions to governments and corporations. Its flagship technologies include biometrics (fingerprint, iris, face and voice), cryptography (digital signatures, encryption, public key infrastructure) and artificial intelligence.

Founded in 2004 in Johannesburg, Lyle moved the company’s technology and production headquarters to Guangzhou, southern China, in 2009. Guangzhou, situated, near Shezhen, is the largest electronics production hub in the world. “Being positioned in this hub allows for an effective springboard into the global market,” says Lyle.

The business environment in China is becoming easier to navigate each year, reports Lyle, as the Chinese government makes it easier for global companies to invest and establish a business in the country. “The opportunities in China are endless and the market is exceptionally large. It is possible to be very successful in China but patience is required to understand the nuances of the environment and market,” he says. “The legal framework and judicial system is fair and actually works. In general, it has protected us when we required protection, which is encouraging for any foreign investor.”

He says the spirit and energy of China and its people are unique. “We’ve found the Chinese to be exceptionally respectful, humble, ambitious and supportive. Their energy has allowed us to move at speeds that are truly unique to China.”

In 2017 Laxton Group was awarded a $7.5 million contract to register seven million Zimbabwean people ahead of the 2018 national elections in the country. This followed the closing of a $40 million contract for issuing identity cards in Tanzania, a project that entailed 23 million Tanzanian people receiving their identity documents within a ninety-day period, which allowed them to vote in the 2015 national election.

Today, the company is a market leader, recording revenues of $46 million in 2016. Other successful contracts have been run in Malawi, Guinea, Indonesia and Colombia. Annual forecasts indicate that Laxton will surpass $100 million in the near future.

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