START-UP – In September 1997 Graham started Graham Paddock & Associates (GPA) from his home in Rondebosch. In addition to doing real property work, he lectured real property and sectional titles law to undergraduates and masters students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and published the Sectional Title Survival Manual. In 2003 GPA moved to the Standard Bank Centre in Cape Town. Graham’s wife Mandy, secretaries and professional assistants, supported him in the business.
GOVERNMENT WORK AND ONLINE UCT COURSES – In 2004 GPA won a tender to assist the government in revising the Sectional Titles Act and to draft legislation for an Ombudsman service. GPA also commenced delivery of UCT’s first online certificate short course, the UCT Sectional Title Scheme Management short course. As far as we know, this was the first online university course in South Africa. In 2006 GPA moved to Ingle Road, Claremont.
GROWTH OF FAMILY BUSINESS – Graham and Mandy’s three children joined the business, Sam in 2006, Robert in 2007 and Jennifer (who did her legal articles) in 2008. The growing business moved to Douglas Murray House, Protea Road, Claremont, where it stayed for two years, and then moved to Park Road, Rondebosch, by which stage it had more than 20 employees.
PADDOCKS AND GETSMARTER – In March 2008 GPA was re-branded as “Paddocks”. Shortly thereafter Graham, Mandy and Sam started a second business, GetSmarter, to do online university courses in fields other than real property, using the same systems and infrastructure. GetSmarter grew rapidly and the two businesses moved to Fairland House, Observatory in 2011.
SEPARATION OF BUSINESSES AND SALE OF GETSMARTER – In 2013 the two businesses were separated. Paddocks moved back to Park Road, Rondebosch and shortly thereafter GetSmarter moved to Deneb House in Observatory. In 2017 GetSmarter was sold to 2U, a NASDAQ listed company.
CURRENT STATUS – Paddocks is wholly owned by Graham and Mandy. Its executive committee includes Graham, Mandy, Deborah Gill (CEO) and Regan Didloff (CFO). It offers online short courses and workshops in conjunction with UCT, a series of books, consulting services and online support programs.