Tom Kennedy is an alumnus of the Vega School of Brand Leadership (Vega), a successful entrepreneur, as well as the founder and CEO of 8Bit. Vega is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE). He started his first website on GeoCities at the early age of 12, which later became a fully-fledged business, and has since started multiple successful businesses from the ground up. Kennedy has a passion for creating brands, enjoys creating solutions for the challenges they bring, and believes that work should always be fun.

Further to 8Bit being included in the Forbes top ten list of the most promising technology companies in Cape Town, Kennedy also boasts a long list of achievements. Shortly after graduating from The IIE Vega in 2008 with a BA Creative Brand Management degree, Kennedy won the prestigious Red Cube Porter Novelli “Start Your own Agency” challenge but decided to turn down the R1.6 million in prize money as to pursue his own plans. His flagship company, 8Bit, pitched for funding at Net Prophet Start-up Live in Cape Town and walked away with the lion’s share of the offers from some of South Africa’s leading investors. Kennedy has also won multiple South African Blog Awards for sites he founded and built.

As a company, 8Bit aims to disrupt the way everyone consumes content online. It acts as a vehicle to drive relevant content to interested audiences, thereby connecting the generators of it to a far larger network. 8Bit is currently operating in 6 countries throughout Africa and Europe, and processes over 200 million monthly content recommendations, while still in private BETA. The company’s algorithm serves users personalised content, vastly reducing the noise that is currently consuming the internet. Conversely, it aids the content producers by rewarding them with traffic. Currently in closed BETA testing, 8bit has reported greater referral rates than Facebook and Twitter across many of its sites.

Kennedy attributes the harnessing of his product development, brand management and business development skills to the highly dedicated team at Vega as well as the school’s curriculum which ensures that students graduate industry ready.

“The IIE Vega graduates explorers who are smart, innovative and passionate, but generally dissatisfied with the status quo because they know that brands, businesses, economies and societies can be healthier and do better for people. Because of this philosophy, I couldn’t have asked for a better grounding for my career.”

Founded in 1998 by a breakaway group of pioneers, mavericks and innovators, Vega was born in response to the urgent need for a paradigm shift away from conventional marketing communications. The traditional approaches to brand-building, marketing and advertising had been exhausted and were rapidly reaching their sell-by date. A new school of thought was called for and Vega answered that call.

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