Lubega on running a global company at the age of 26

Melvyn Lubega
Melvyn Lubega

As the director and co-founder of GO1, Melvyn Lubega heads up a team of 52 employees across seven countries

Lubega co-founded in 2014 with the aim of forming a company with the leading tool for professional learning.

GO1 is a training solution that brings together training content which is accessed through an easy-to-use online platform. There are over 60,000 courses available for businesses, individuals and training providers.

Going global  

“When we first launched the company, I headed up sales,” says Lubega. “This meant building and growing the team, while developing our sales process to be both predictable and scalable. As we grew, this meant managing people across an increasing number of geographies and time zones, which means a lot of late nights and early mornings.”

Today, the 26-year-old Lubega’s focus is on revenue generation through more complex partnerships and business development.

“My goal is to identify and partner with other businesses, improve our product offering and grow our customer base through new channels. It requires being comfortable with complexity and creating shared value,” he says. 

When Lubega and the other founders of the company decided to expand into the US market in 2015, they opted to partner with competitive seed accelerator, the US-based Y Combinator. Go1 participated in the accelerator’s three-month programme which presented the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most successful technology investors and entrepreneurs in the world.

Now the company has a team based in San Francisco which services a steadily growing base of customers across the country. Go1 has a total of 52 employees across South Africa, Australia, the United States, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Malaysia.

Making a mogul

Lubega studied Actuarial Science and Statistics at the University of Cape Town where he was a candidate fellow of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. He later won a scholarship to the University of Oxford where he obtained a Master’s Degrees in Public Policy and Education, Learning and Technology. It was during his postgraduate studies that he began to work on GO1.

“Through the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, I discovered that the difference between someone who is an entrepreneur and someone who is not is how they view the world,” he says.

“Viewing the world through an entrepreneurial lens means asking how things can be better met and taking the initiative to better meet it [that need].

“I am an entrepreneur at heart and plan to continue to challenge existing business models in order to create greater value – whether as an operator, advisor or investor.”

What advice does Lubega have for aspiring businesspeople?

  • Think and do big. In most cases it takes the same amount of energy to do something small as it does to do something big. Going big starts from the aspirations you have for the company.
  • Do your homework. Take the time to learn who is currently serving the need you plan to serve for your customer, understand how they do it and how you can better serve them. This will be the foundation of your business.
  • Capital is an important aspect of any business, even more so for startups as you will burn through cash as you develop your product/service and find a market fit.
  • It’s crucial to have customers who love your product and are willing to pay for it