Naspers announced today, that it has launched a USD 314 Mn fund for South African technology companies. The initiative will be called Naspers Foundry, and was announced at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference 2018 in Johannesburg.
The fund aims to support South African technology start-ups seeking to address big societal needs as well as providing much needed investment. Naspers Foundry would scout for talented and ambitious South African technology entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses.
Being a global investor and shareholder in many unicorns across the globe; this move could be a gamechanger for South African startups that are looking for smart tech capital. Along with money, what Naspers would bring to the table is a deep experience in funding into technology startups that have given back Naspers as high as 60000% returns on investment.
As per the announcement made on their website, Naspers chief executive Bob van Dijk says, “Technology innovation is transforming the world. The Naspers Foundry aims to both encourage and back South African entrepreneurs to create businesses which ensure South Africa benefits from this technology innovation.”
Through the Foundry, Naspers has committed a USD 100-105 Mn to the technology startups of South Africa. Over the next three years, Naspers will invest around USD 314 Mn in the South African technology sector, with rest of the money allocated to the development of its existing technology businesses, including OLX, Takealot, and Mr D Food.
Naspers CFO Basil Sgourdos added, “When we invest in an entrepreneur, we are able to bring much more to the table than just funding: we understand what it’s like to build and grow tech businesses, and we share that knowledge to help them succeed. We also recognise the important role that local businesses can play in boosting local economies, which in turn boosts the wider South African economy. That’s why a significant portion of the Naspers Foundry investment will be focused on black-owned South African start-ups.”
We have always found Naspers to be an iconic company which transformed itself from being a newspaper to one of the largest corporations in the world by value. We had recently launched a report summarising the hundred year old journey of Naspers. We were also intrigued by the fact, that this African giant had not turned its attention towards its home ground.