Savant, a South African hardware backer has made five investments totaling ZAR18 million (US$1.22 million) in the last year.
Nick Allen founded Savant in 2005 as a hardware technology incubator that provides commercial support to innovators and inventors that have invented science and engineering-based technologies and products.
After raising ZAR110 million (US$7.8 million) from the SA SME Fund in 2019, it launched a venture fund in 2019 and has since invested in a number of companies, including Jonga and SmartBlade.
Savant has made five investments in the last year. In the second half of 2020, it backed Astrofica Technologies, which aims to build an African-owned and controlled satellite constellation that offers highly accurate, real-time earth observation data; Cognitive Systems, which has built an AI engine on which specific AI solutions can be built; and Vekta Innovations, which has developed a fitness and health management solution that is used in industrial and professional sports settings.
Savant has made investments in Inxor, an advertising technology company that substitutes the traditional pricing pole with an intelligent brand engagement solution, and Renewco, a local company that constructs, owns, and runs small-scale utility power generating and waste management capacity. It’s also about to make a second pass through Vekta.
Those five startups have received more than ZAR18 million (US$1.22 million) in funding.
“Savant is happy to take the early stage investment risk that other investors won’t – filling a crucial gap in the ecosystem,” said Allen.
“One of Savant’s approaches is to invest small amounts of up to ZAR1.5 million at a very early stage in order to prepare companies for going to market and ensure they are investment ready. This ensures we have a consistent pipeline of investable deals that we can invest significantly more into. This helps us lower risk and build a broader portfolio. We love innovators that build hardware that makes a difference. In other words: real products that solve problems.”