Smart Money – Karooooo’s Zak Calisto on founding a global company

Smart Money - Zak Calisto from Karooooo

In this episode of Smart Money, Zak Calisto – the founder and CEO of Karooooo – discusses the challenges he faced when building a global company.

Calisto studied at the University of South Africa and the University of Witwatersrand and completed an accelerated training program at Standard Bank between 1986 and 1991.

He then built up experience working at Vehicle Tracking Services from 1994 to 2001 and at Cell Communications from 1994 to 1996.

Calisto’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2001 when he founded Cartrack Holdings Limited as a joint venture with Netstar.

Cartrack separated from Netstar in 2004, and under Calisto’s guidance, it grew to become a powerhouse in tracking, data analytics, and business intelligence in South Africa.

In April 2021, Calisto delisted Cartrack from the JSE and listed Karooooo – which wholly owns Cartrack – on the Nasdaq, with a secondary listing on the JSE.

His extensive experience has helped him to grow Karooooo into a highly successful global company with 1.7 million subscribers across 23 countries.

The interview

In this Smart Money episode, Zak Calisto speaks to Alishia Seckam about how he founded Karooooo.

He explains what attracted him to entrepreneurship and the challenges he encountered when building a company that now operates in 23 countries.

Calisto also discusses the growth areas that excite him most and outlines how he decides which markets to expand into.

He concludes by explaining where the name ‘Karooooo’ came from and the reason for its unusual spelling.

The full Smart Money interview with Zak Calisto can be watched below.