Aaron Marshall

Chief Executive, Over

Aaron Marshall is among a growing community of foreign entrepreneurs who are setting up shop in South Africa and calling the country “home”. He therefore assumes honorary citizenship for this year’s 200 Young South Africans.

The 31-year-old is no stranger to the world of start-ups, having dropped out of college in the United States when he was 19 to take up his first job in a small, emerging company. He has since pursued a “scattered past” plying his design and marketing skills as a product designer.

His current project, the mobile app called Over, for Apple’s iOS platform, has been steadily gaining momentum that has propelled it beyond the eight million downloads mark.

The app draws on the explosion in photo-sharing services and allows users to superimpose their own text over any photo taken on their phone.

The idea for the app stems from Marshall’s love of living and telling interesting stories, which is all the easier in a world saturated with mobile phones and technology. He sees unfettered potential in the mobile platform as a medium for creativity and freedom, irrespective of location or social standing.

His business and life philosophy was captured in the recent presentation he gave at the Net Prophet conference in Cape Town where he presented the idea of “Go big and go home”.

This is a call for establishing a work-life balance while living a great story. “No amount of success at work can make up for failure at home,” he says.

A native of Northwest Oregon until he relocated to Cape Town in 2013, after first visiting four years prior, he has settled with his family and says he has no intention of leaving. “It is a city I want to be in forever. My ambition is to be here and build big, meaningful products.” — Johann Barnard