Benji Coetzee

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Benji Coetzee
Benji Coetzee.jpg
Benji Coetzee, founder of EmptyTrips and a Venture Investor. Image retrieved from IITPSA “Benji Coetzee – EmptyTrips” on 16 November, 2020.
South Africa
NationalitySouth African
Alma materGoethe University
OccupationDigital Director of VodafoneZiggo
Known forFounding EmptyTrips
WebsiteLinkedIn Profile

Editor: Charissa Cassels

Benji Coetzee is the Digital Director of VodafoneZiggo, a Venture Investor, and founder of EmptyTrips.

VodafoneZiggo is a Dutch company that offers fixed, mobile and integrated communication and entertainment services to consumers and businesses.[1]

EmptyTrips is an open marketplace that allows people to find vetted transporters with various fleet sizes. Consumers can find carriers and transact with them securely at lower transport costs. EmptyTrips gives consumers free access to the largest fleet in Africa instantly.[2]

Coetzee is the founder and former CEO of EmptyTrips. She is an entrepreneur who has spent over a decade building expertise within professional services in South Africa, Germany, Switzerland and Dubai, across strategy consulting, investment banking and insurance banking.[3] Additionally she is a mentor to top African innovators for Oxford University, and a “digital native”.[4]


From 2005 to 2007, Coetzee completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree in Statistics and Finance. She obtained her Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Cum laude, Field Of Study Maritime Economics & International Law Grade Cum Laude from Stellenbosch University in 2009.

From November 2008 to September 2010, she worked as a Cargo Insurance Consultant for Hollard in Johannesburg. In that same year (February 2010 to June 2010), she worked on the Emthonjeni project, which was a haven for children in the Zandvlei township. She also participated in the Nexus, Africa leadership and diversity programme at the GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science).

Coetzee worked on the Fanaka project from October 2010 to July 2011, a fundraising initiative to finance teacher’s salaries for the Girls of Fanaka in Kenya. She was a Corporate Finance Analyst at HSBC from November 2011 to October 2012 in Johannesburg. In April 2012, she started forming part of the HSBC Rainwater Collection Tank at Emfundisweni Primary in Alexandra, an informal settlement in Johannesburg. From October 2012 to February 2016, she was the Management Consultant for Boston Consulting Group in Johannesburg.

She was also the Project Manager for the World Economic Forum (WEF) from June 2014 to June 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. She formed part of the Central Corridor project in March 2015, focusing on the acceleration of a mega programme through targeted public-private collaboration.[5]

Coetzee founded SeedPitch in 2016.[6] SeedPitch is a leadership consultancy aimed at assisting clients to think progressively and to implement their thoughts practically.[7] From November 2016 to November 2019, she was the Senior Strategist for SeedPitch in Johannesburg. Coetzee was also the Project Leader for Singular Group from February 2016 to November 2016.

She founded EmptyTrips in January 2017. The company took a financial exit in May 2019 in the form of a multi-asset spin-off to Vector Logistics / RCL Food. From March 2018, she was also the founder and platform architect for SURECargo in Johannesburg, a post she left in April 2019. She completed a Masterclass in Behavioural Economics at the University of Johannesburg in that year. During that same year, she also participated in a programme that focused on “Degree Name Exponential Executive Programme Field Of Study Technology, Innovation, SpaceGrade” at the Singularity University California.

Coetzee became a Venture Partner for Caliber Capital in April 2019 in South Africa. Then, in December 2019, Coetzee became the Digital Director of VodafoneZiggo in Utrecht, Netherlands. She also became the Strategic Advisor for SeedPitch in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

She received her Master of Laws (LL.M.) Field Of Study Corporate Finance and Law Grade Cum laude from Goethe University.[8]

On 20 June, 2019, she sold and exited EmptyTrips.[9]


Coetzee invested R2 million in savings into EmptyTrips.[10]

Awards and Achievements

Coetzee received the SA Innovation Winner award at the SA Innovation Summit & Chevas Regal awards in 2017. She was invited to be a speaker at Startup Grind’s event that was powered by Google for Entrepreneurs on 21 February, 2017 in Johannesburg.[11]

Singularity U listed her as A Top 5 Global Impact Challenger in 2017. In that same year, she was also the Tech Winner of SA Innovation Summit. BusinessTech listed her as one of the recipients of the Founder of Top 10 Most Promising Startups awards, plus she was listed as a Lioness of AfricaTech Disruptor.[12]

In September 2018, she was awarded the Innovation and Logistics award from Frost and Sullivan. She was named one of Forbes’ Top 60 Women In Tech in November 2018 by Forbes, while Entrepreneur Magazine named Coetzee as one of the 50 Top SA Business Women to Watch in November 2018 and Innov8tiv listed Coetzee as one of the Top 50 Women in Tech in 2018.[13] She was also listed by AWIEF as one of the Top 5 African Women Tech Entrepreneurs in 2018.[14]


Coetzee’s work on “Project Overview: Accelerating Africa Infrastructure Development” was published in the World Economic Forum (WEF) on 28 May, 2015.

On 1 June 2015, her paper on “A Principled Approach to Infrastructure Project Preparation Facilities” was published in the World Economic Forum / The Boston Consulting Group.

Coetzee’s work titled “How low can you go?” was published in Risk Africa on 16 September, 2016.

Biznews published her work titled “When the going gets tough, the tough get railing.” on 4 July, 2018.

Her work on “Democratise rail freight and make it great again” was published on 16 August, 2018 in Railways Africa.[15] DC Velocity recognised her as an InsurTech TrailBlazer in 2018.[16]

In October 2019, she became a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and was issued this licence by the Scrum Alliance.