Marco Gallotta’s career seems destined to be intertwined both with his own start-ups and with helping other start-ups to succeed. A Cape Town native, Gallotta is jetting off to San Francisco to join mobile gaming start-up Loki Studios after a brief stint at Facebook.
Gallotta says that his time at Facebook made him realise that he was not cut out to work in a large corporation and that he needed to find a new home in a smaller organisation.
When Gallotta started studying at the University of Cape Town he wasn’t in the technology game — he’d chosen to study actuarial science instead. However, he quickly realised his true calling and switched to computer science. While at UCT he was involved in the Computer Olympiad, which he had competed in during his school days.
He was also one of the founders of Project Umonya, which brought students from underdeveloped areas into UCT on weekends and taught them programming skills. The project, which was funded by Google, saw about 100 children who had never programmed before coming away with programming skills. Gallotta’s work at UCT landed him internships at Google in Zurich and Nvidia in the USA, putting him on the radar for tech firms on the lookout for hot talent. He also founded #breaktherules, a community project bringing student developers and software companies together.
Although the move to Silicon Valley will take him away from the South African technology scene, Gallotta says that he plans to find a way to filter what he learns in the valley back to South African start-ups.“I am sad to be leaving South Africa and I am sure that I will be back but the opportunity to work in Silicon Valley is not something I could pass up,” he said.
— Ben Kelly