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Venture Capital

DIFC launches a $100m FinTech-focused fund to accelerate fintech startups in the MENA region

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 Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region has launched a USD 100 million FinTech-focused fund to invest in and accelerate fintech startups from incubation through to growth stage.

According to His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, “It gives me great pleasure to announce that today, we are launching a new USD 100 million fund to help establish, grow and upscale start-up and growth stage FinTech firms looking to access the MEASA markets.”

The fund will leverage the DIFC’s FinTech ecosystem consisting of attractive experimental licenses, market leading pricing and collaborative spaces to help startups to launch and grow their businesses in the region. DIFC expects to encourage greater trade flows through the South-South corridor, which stretches from Latin America, through to Africa, India, South East-Asia and China.

The importance of geo-economics on trade deals, the impact of financial reforms in emerging markets on the development of sustainable economic development, and the digitalisation of finance were amongst the main topics covered during the day.

To that end, FinTech and the digitalisation of finance in emerging markets dominated the discussion during the second half of the day. The discussions shed light on the power of blockchain to revolutionise the sectors of banking, trade finance and data housing. Panellists also discussed the social impact of FinTech, and its ability to bring banking and finance services to millions individuals in the region with limited access to banking and financial services.

JUMO raises $24 million loan facility from Finnish development Finnfund

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Jumo, a big data analytics firm which allows cost-efficient provision of loans has raised $6m from Finnfund in form of a debt instrument to support its expansion in Africa and Asia and the development of its platform in order to provide new services for SMEs, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The $6m is part of an overall 24 million USD-loan facility, which was arranged by Gemcorp Capital, an independent emerging markets investment management firm based in London and an early investor in Jumo.

According to Jaakko Kangasniemi, Managing Director of Finnfund, “We are keen to provide funding for Jumo’s expansion and further development. Financial inclusion is very important for development; people need to be able to access quality financial services. It gives them security, enables them to plan their lives more effectively and often gives them an opportunity to start or grow their own business and improve their livelihoods.”

JUMO is a multi-sided platform for Mobile Network Operators and Financial Service Providers and has served over 5 million people in Africa and Asia using behavioural data from mobile usage. Users are able to create a financial identity and gain access to affordable, real-time, financial services fitted to their specific needs. The services are benefitting broad segments of customers including people with low incomes and those who own micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who have previously been excluded from traditional banking services.

“As an investor, Finnfund brings a sharp focus to achieving meaningful social impact with sustainable profit. That aligns well with our mission,” says Andrew Watkins-Ball, founder and CEO of Jumo.  “Having proven our model, we are now expanding our footprint to reach millions more people who are excluded from the formal financial system. With Finnfund we have an investor who supports our view that inequality is unacceptable.”

Jumo has granted more than 20 million loans.  Currently, the company employs over 300 people, who are mostly based in South Africa. The main markets include Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana and Pakistan.

Naked raises R20m investment from Hollard & Yellowwoods to give customers a more flexible insurance experience.

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Naked also revealed that it has appointed outgoing Hollard group CEO Nic Kohler to its board of directors.

 

Digital Cabinet raises R5m equity round from HAVAIC & Growth Grid for expansion

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South Africa’s Digital Cabinet has received R5m led by HAVAÍC and a consortium of individuals including its own team, and Growth Grid Venture Capital Partners.
The firm will use the capital raise to increase its staff capacity, undertake a concerted marketing exercise with the objective of creating product and brand awareness and implementing further product development.
The firm believes the move to increase staff capacity will drive additional product development which promises to result in Digital Cabinet establishing itself as a leader in document and workflow management.
According to Daniel Kritzas, CEO of Digital Cabinet, “Increased focus on marketing and brand awareness will draw increased attention to the company and its existing range of product solutions. Heightened awareness,” he believes, “will lead to increased enquiries from companies wishing to take advantage of Digital Cabinet’s innovations and so improve their internal processes.”

Digital Cabinet offers companies cloud-based paperless document and workflow management solutions, and is on the brink of a period of rapid growth as a result of increased focus on sales and marketing as opposed to product development on which it has focused to date distribution agreements with partners abroad; and a partnership with Computershare for its digital post offering.

Grant Rock, Executive Director of HAVAÍC, comments that: “The scale of the capital raise validates the faith that HAVAÍC showed in Digital Cabinet when HAVAÍC led the first investment in the company, a convertible loan extended in 2016.” The convertible loan was converted into equity as part of the capital raise, resulting in strong returns for the initial group of investors. “We believe that the calibre of Digital Cabinet’s leadership and the nature of the business alliances it is forming will result in good returns for the new investors as well,” says Rock.

Rob Ferguson, Founding Investor and Executive Director of Growth Grid believes: “This joint investment by HAVAÍC and Growth Grid marks the beginning of a collaborative relationship between the two companies united by their interest in identifying innovative companies and the desire to provide the entrepreneurs with the financial resources and guidance to enable them to realise their powerful visions”.

What Venture Capitalists look for in a Pitch

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As a promising startup, you may be asking yourself “What exactly do Venture Capitalists have interest in pitches?” Well, the answer is quite simple huh. They are only looking for an opportunity for a great investment in your pitch. A startup can have the best presenters who have an eloquent presentation language capable of convincing investors but if the pitch does not promise to be a good investment, it is more likely your pitch will be rejected.

In the first place, Venture Capitalists fund promising businesses therefore you don’t have to put a lot of focus on the design of your PowerPoint slides. Founders preparing their pitch should go with the due that a great investment opportunity is all they need to offer.

One Big Consideration

Startups need to understand that money coming from VC’s is mainly raised from pension funds and many other financial institutions. Therefore, entrepreneurs seeking funding of their businesses must recognize that every Venture Capitalists putting money on risk – Oh yes, an investment is a risk – are reliable and required to justify every single portion of investment to their respective Investors (LPs)

Investors Returns

Venture Capitalists are also interested in startups making valuable returns that are worth risking. A startup may have a plan on how it will generate enough revenues to cater for the initial investment but if the returns will not be reasonable over a given period of time, many investors will shun away from such Investments. Startups must therefore be in a position to raise revenues in accordance to the time factor for them to be labeled as “great investments”

VC’s need to make five to ten times in returns on their investment to keep their job. This actually means for them to put money on a startup, it should be in line to exit or go public in a span of 5 – 10 years from the initial year of investing.

VC’s don’t have all the time to listen to you

It is widely known that investors only spend about 15% of their time listening to startups that are pitching. They in turn put a lot of time in ensuring that what they have already put money on moves forward to be successful. This means that a startup really has to put across all the reasons investors should believe in their business and why they should find adding it up into their portfolio of investments something worthwhile.

Startups should put themselves in the shoe of the investors they are approaching and view themselves from an investor’s standpoint. If you have any doubts about it being a great investment then actually there is no point of going forward and perfecting your pitch because no one will bet their money on you. By learning what Investors are interested in, you are boosting your chance of getting your business funded. Research on the previous deals they have invested in and learn a couple of things that come out clearly as major factors they are interested in. Creating a startup that is investable is what really convinces a venture capitalist not that colourful deck full of slides.

Engineers Without Borders Canada invests in startup SME lending marketplace Bloom Impact

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http://4526.com/short-loans/mx1157.html

Ghana’s Bloom Impact, a machine learning loans marketplace accessible from smartphones has raised undisclosed funding from Engineers Without Borders Canada, EWB Ventures, an early-stage investor in innovative Africa-based social enterprises.

EWB has also invested in M-ShuleNumida TechnologiesFarmDrive and Rent-to-Own. Its latest investment in Africa will allow MSMEs to create a digital profile, learn about and apply for financial services, and receive offers that best meet their needs.

According to Elena Haba, Legal and Investment Officer with EWB’s Strategy and Investment team, “For us, the unique approach and scalability of Bloom’s potential impact was most compelling. By working on closing the financial gap faced by MSME’s, Bloom is helping these small businesses grow and generate much-needed employment opportunities for underserved individuals.”

EWB believes that by supporting MSMEs to thrive, the jobs generated through them and the wealth created by them can ultimately help alleviate poverty. EWB also thinks Bloom will be particularly useful for women, who face many barriers in accessing traditional banking and financial services.

In addition to the tremendous convenience and cost savings Bloom Impact provides for MSMEs, creating financially educated business owners is also a critical component.

Bloom Impact also partners with banks and microfinance institutions and it disrupts their customer acquisition approach by cutting costs and providing digital, eligible, validated, scored and financially-educated customers.

The investment will help Bloom Impact to grow its product adoption, referral and incentive programs, as well as advance product development.

“EWB understands the barriers that prevent scale and growth in emerging markets and how social enterprises can have an impact,” says Bloom Impact Co-Founder and CEO, Carol Caruso. “We are delighted to partner with EWB due to this experience on the ground, our shared mission to drive inclusive finance and EWB’s wealth of talent management support, which is critical to our success.”

Fabwoman raises funding to bolster its news & product discovery platform for Nigeria’s millennial women

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FabWoman has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding from Iconway Ventures to solve the problem of product and brand discovery for women.

According to FabWoman co-founders, Anu Odubanjo and Dayo Odubanjo, Fabwoman content and commerce platform aim at serving millennial women in Africa between ages 20 and 40.

With topics ranging from buying human hair to Friday office wears, they promise to help their audience find great products at great prices and help advertisers and brands find those people looking for them.

“We are trying to fill a present gap with local content and discovery for millennial women,” said the sisters, just weeks after Zumi Magazine raised funding to launch in the market.

The sisters have had considerable success and experience in the online media space with celebrity-focused website StarGist.com which they started in 2013. Dayo also founded fashion website, FashionPheeva.com, for which she won the 2017 ‘Fashion Blogger of The Year’.

“We want to help millennial women be fabulous everyday with original mobile-first and social media driven content covering food, relationships, news, living and style,” said Anu, the site’s creative director adding that the site will inspire millions of women to live better and more beautiful lives. 

 

Graca Machel Trust to Fund Women Healthtech Entrepreneurs Joining Nailab & UNFPA’s IAM Accelerator

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The Graca Machel Trust has joined UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund and Nailab to see more women join the second round of the IAM Accelerator 2.0. and invest in them.

According to Nomsa Daniels, CEO of the Graca Machel Trust; “The Graca Machel Trust is delighted to team-up with UNFPA Kenya and the Nailab in making IAM 2.0 a ground-breaking success. Too many women entrepreneurs lack access to the necessary financing and support structures to let them thrive. This not only holds them back, but also the families and communities they are part of, and countries as a whole”

The 4 month acceleration programme gives startups seed-funding, training, coaching, and mentoring to fine-tune their innovations, bring it to market, and find the right business models to sustain and facilitate their growth.

The first IAM round which was launched in June 2016 lacked female lead start-ups and the diminished role of female participation in the start-ups and the development of innovations was evident.

Building on the successes of the first IAM Accelerator round and drawing from this important learning, the Graca Machel Trust initiative New Faces New Voices will join UNFPA and Nailab to empower women entrepreneurs for advancing the health and well-being of adolescent and young people in Kenya through IAM 2.0 funding.

“I am pleased to see Graca Machel Trust join the initiative and it’s my believe as we all join forces that we shall see greater impact as we address SRH challenges,” said Sam Gichuru, Founder and CEO Nailab.

Andela raises $40m to launch in two additional African countries in 2018

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Andela has secured $40M in Series C funding to launch offices in two additional African countries over the next year, doubling its developer base from 500 to 1,000 to meet growing demand.

Andela is present in Nigeria, Kenya and recently launched in Uganda. We don’t want to speculate but the two additional countries are likely to be Rwanda and Ghana.

The funding round was led by pan-African venture firm CRE Venture Capital with participation from DBL Partners, Amplo, Salesforce Ventures, and Africa-focused TLcom Capital. Existing investors including Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, and Spark Capital also participated in the round bringing Andela’s total venture funding to just over $80M.

Pule Taukobong of CRE, Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister and Amplo Board Partner, and Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLcom and former Minister of Communication Technology in Nigeria, will be joining Andela’s board.

According to Pule Taukobong, Founding Partner of CRE Venture Capital: “At present, there is more capital to fund ideas globally than there are people to build them. Andela is providing a solution to this global talent dilemma while building a business case for one of Africa’s greatest assets: our people.”

Launched in 2014, Andela aims to combat the global technical talent shortage by investing in Africa’s most talented software developers. The firm has hired 500 developers to date — the top 0.7% of more than 70,000 applicants from across the continent.

Selected developers spend six months in a rigorous onboarding program before being matched with one of Andela’s partner companies as full-time engineering team members. Beyond recruiting elite development talent, Andela is catalyzing the growth of tech ecosystems across the continent by open-sourcing its content and partnering with organizations including Google, Pluralsight and Udacity to provide resources and mentorship to developers.

Some of the partner companies working with Andela to build distributed engineering teams include Viacom and Mastercard Labs, Gusto and GitHub.

 

 

Pay-As-You-Go Solar platform Angaza raises $10.5 million in Series B financing

 Angaza, a Pay-As-You-Go solar tech platform and clean energy products manufacturer targeting off-grid consumers, has closed a $10.5 million in Series B financing led by Emerson Elemental, and included investments from Rethink Impact, Salesforce Ventures, Social Capital, and the Stanford StartX Fund.

The firm says it will use the funds to grow its global team and continue to expand the suite of technology tools and support services they offer their manufacturing and distribution partners. In doing so, they will enable these partners to efficiently scale their services to the 1.2 billion off-grid consumers that still lack access to modern energy services.

“This funding milestone is a testament to the power of partnerships which can collectively deliver affordable, clean energy to millions,” said Lesley Marincola, Chief Executive Officer at Angaza. “Angaza is excited to leverage this financing to further enhance the technology that enables our manufacturing and distribution partners to quickly and confidently scale their Pay-As-You-Go operations.”

Launched in early 2016, the B2B firm provides Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) technology solutions to solar device manufacturers and distributors worldwide and has rapidly expanded to work with distributors in over 30 countries spanning Latin America, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa and to date allows over 2 million people to transition to clean energy sources in their homes and small businesses.

By allowing off-grid consumers in emerging markets to purchase clean energy devices in small, affordable micropayments over time, manufacturers utilize Angaza’s proprietary embedded software and hardware to add metering and monitoring capabilities to their solar devices; the devices then remotely activate and deactivate according to payment from the end-user.
Distributors leverage Angaza’s comprehensive software platform to seamlessly manage their PAYG operations at scale. The Angaza software suite consists of the Energy Hub cloud-based web portal and the Activator mobile application, which are designed to address the specific complexities of credit sales in rural emerging markets. Angaza allows its distribution partners to accept mobile money payments from end-users in addition to traditional cash transactions.

Angaza’s manufacturing partners produce PAYG products such as solar water pumps, smartphones, and clean cookstoves, making a broad range of life-changing products affordable to end-users worldwide for individuals, SMEs and corporate clients.

Zumi Magazine, a Kenyan lifestyle & fashion site raises $250,000 to expand into Nigeria & Ghana

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Nairobi-based women-focused lifestyle & fashion site Zumi Magazine raised $250,000 to expand into Nigeria & Ghana.

Co-founded by Ex-Rocket Internet executives William McCarren and Sabrina Dorman, Zumi entertainment, lifestyle and love, fashion, beauty and style news to a smartphone enabled, female audience. The site targets 18-35 year old African women.

“We have just closed our second round of seed funding, having successfully raised $250,000 from equity and convertible debt.,” said McCarren in an email update. “We will be expanding into Nigeria and Ghana in the next few months to continue our journey to build the biggest women-focused digital media and e-commerce platform in Africa.”

The raise puts Zumi’s total equity funding to $370k after it raised $120 in August 2016. The raise will help it expand to the two new markets to bring latest news in fashion, beauty, dating, work, health and self-improvement to young women. Zumi is a sort of a Refinery29 on East and West Africa if it really catches up.

Kenya’s Ghafla has also started to shift towards lifestyle from entertainment and gossip but lacks content on women if even its now pan-African. Zumi will also need to be careful and be rooted not to be an all-out entertainment and gossip site.

 

Christ-centered business education & entrepreneurship accelerator Sinapis to launch in Uganda

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Sinapis, a social enterprise that empowers entrepreneurs in the developing world by providing them with a rigorous Christ-centered business education, mentoring services, and access to seed capital is set to launch in Kampala, Uganda.

The launch in Uganda is part of its plans to help entrepreneurs practically integrate their faith while building strong businesses all over the world. So far, Sinapis has active programs in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Ghana, Brazil.

We caught up with Asha Mweru, Regional Expansion Manager, Sinapis and this is what we learned about the firm.

Briefly take us through the roots of Sinapis

The roots of Sinapis date back to December of 2008 when our co-founders Courtney Rountree Mills and Karibu Nyaggah, both Harvard graduate students met during a student trip to east Africa. Courtney was a graduate student at Harvard Kennedy School and Karibu was a graduate student at Harvard Business School. Karibu was leading the student trip to his home country of Kenya. They became fast friends during the trip, and soon revealed my vision of setting up an accelerator program for start-up stage entrepreneurs in Kenya.

Later that year, Courtner embarked on her thesis where she received the opportunity to work with the Ministry of Finance in Kenya to help them look at bottlenecks in the private sector, particularly with regards to entrepreneurship. She received funds from Harvard to do research on the subject the summer of 2009 and travelled to Kenya with fellow Harvard graduate, Matt Stolhandske, to diligence the viability of an early stage accelerator program in Nairobi.

Interviewing over 100 professionals from the for-profit, non-profit and government sectors on the entrepreneurship space laid the groundwork for the first version of the business plan for the accelerator program. Increasingly, there was a call to think about how this accelerator program could directly glorify God’s kingdom and increase His presence in Kenya in a practical way. Thus, we decided to make the Sinapis program centered on Kingdom business principles that help entrepreneurs integrate their faith with their business. We named the organization Sinapis, the latin name for the mustard seed found in the mustard seed parable of the New Testament, to reflect this vision. So far the company has scaled its program to entrepreneurs in Mombasa, Kisumu, Ghana and Brazil.

What was the inspiration behind starting Sinapis than any other thing?

For the longest time, a lot of people and Christians per se have separated their day to day lives at work and while running a business from their faith. This dichotomy has caused numerous problems especially around upholding ethical grounds across the board. Instead of business being regarded as an extension of our faith, it has been segregated and has had its own rules governing it. Sinapis’ inspiration is to create a practical bridge of how to build and scale businesses successfully while still integrating your faith thus allowing you to live a seamless integrated life as a Christian business owner.

Take us through a journey of what aspects of training does Sinapis offer entrepreneurs?

The Sinapis Entrepreneurship Academy is an intensive 4-month business training program similar to a mini-MBA but customized for earlier stage ventures. Participants in this program spend approximately 20 hours per week completing prework material, attending in-person class sessions, and doing practical “field work” assignments that allow immediate implementation of lessons learned. Each week entrepreneurs go through class sessions that enable them to answer some of the most pressing business problems they and also gives them the skill to act on it. These include: Who is my customer? How do I price my product? How do I make a sale? How do I ensure I have all the right financial records in place? how do I manage my cash flows not to go bankrupt? How can I compete effectively in the market? etc. As an entrepreneur, you are then given assignments that allow you to practically implement everything you are learning each week so you can see some immediate improvements and feel more grounded in understanding and running your businesses. The entrepreneurs also have each other in class who end up providing a huge network of support and resources.

What has been the impact since you started Sinapis? How many entrepreneurs have been trained since the organization was established in Kenya?

To date, we’ve worked with over 700 entrepreneurs in Kenya and have seen great results thus far. On average the entrepreneurs grow revenues by 166% annually, create 3 new jobs/year and raise 15x more in investment capital after our program as compared to before. They’re also 46% more likely to still be in business after 3 years as compared to the national average. This is an affirmation that we are doing things right. Some of the feedback we’ve received from entrepreneurs is that they would have failed if they hadn’t gone through the Sinapis program.

After the training there is a competition where the finalists pitch the idea, tell us more about that?

Upon completion of the training program, the entrepreneurs are eligible to compete in the Sinapis Business Plan Competition, in which the top finalists compete for $10,000 in seed capital at a live pitch event. 
The finalists in the business plan competition are then invited to join our Fast Track Fellows Program, which is a 6-month accelerator program that provides the entrepreneurs access to high quality generalist consultants, professional advisors, successful entrepreneur mentors, advanced training, and investor matchmaking.

Who are the other previous entrepreneurs who were finalists in the competition? Highlight for us some of their winning business.

Sinapis is sector agnostic and hence has had a variety of entrepreneurs in different sectors go through the program; from agribusiness to tech to even traditional ones like construction. Some of our well known finalists and winners include Grace Murugi from Cakes.co.ke, Amanda Gicharu from Amanda’s Kitchen, Wanjiku Kandie from Waridi Events, Waweru Kuria, pivoted his business and now runs Inuka Pap which recently joined TechStars. These are but a few of some incredibly talented entrepreneurs who go through the Sinapis Academy, you can read more on them on our website.

So where do you start when you have a business idea and want to join Sinapis?

Simple, apply! We would then call you to take you through an application process and once you go through, you would be getting ready for an unforgettable 16 weeks!

What’s next for Sinapis for the next 5 years? Are you planning to expand the program locally? In East Africa?

As we grow we will continually improve our program to ensure that entrepreneurs can practically integrate their faith while building strong businesses all over the world. So far, we have started programs in Kisumu, Mombasa, Ghana, Brazil and are in the processes launching a program in Uganda.

Legal SaaS platform Libryo secures $1M to expand across Africa & Europe to help solve regulatory complexity

UK and South Africa-based online legal compliance platform Libryo has closed a £787k ($1million)to solve the problem of regulatory complexity in organisations.

The round was led by Seedcamp and Nextlaw Lab as well as Innogy UK Innovation Hub, Force Over Mass and various angel investors including Steve Gledden and Chris Field.

According to Tom Wilson, Investment Manager at Seedcamp: “We’ve been really impressed with the Libryo team since our initial investment and are delighted to be following on in this round. We see a real demand in the market for their product as evidenced by their strong traction to date across a number of jurisdictions. We’re excited to see the team take the business forward and are confident in their ability to execute on their vision.”

Co-founded in 2016 by Peter Flynn, Garth Watson and Malcolm Gray as a platform for multinational companies to understand the legal regulations faced at each operation.

Libryo offers its users (who are often not legally trained), intuitive search, real-time updates and truly site and context specific regulatory information, anywhere, at any time. For Lawyers, the platform is helping to alleviate some of the legal research work, which their clients are often unwilling to pay for, so that they can focus on adding premium value to their clients in other areas.

“We’re already seeing a huge appetite for our service across Africa, particularly in the legal domains of environment and occupational health and safety,” said Flynn. “We’re at a key moment in our business as we look to expand our offering even further across the world and into other legal domains.”

Since inception, Libryo has expanded from a global reach of five to 50 countries (45 across Sub-Saharan Africa). The $1million seed round will enable further expansion across four continents; Africa, Europe, North America and Australia – in the next 18 to 24 months.

 

 

Naspers Pumps $775m into Delivery Hero to Increase its Stake to 23.6 Percent

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Naspers Building in Cape Town (Wikipedia)

Naspers is obtaining 22,359,857 shares of Delivery Hero stock from Rocket Internet for €660m (US$775m) at a price of €29.50 per share in a move that will see it increase its stake in the food ordering and delivery firm to 23.6 percent.

The deal makes Naspers the largest shareholder in Delivery Hero. Naspers initially invested in Delivery Hero in May of this year. Since then, the company executed a successful IPO in June and delivered strong half-year results as a public company on September 26, 2017.

“The food delivery sector is still underpenetrated and growing rapidly across the world. Many markets have experienced significant traction already, but we believe the potential is far greater in high-growth markets than that observed in the West,” Naspers CEO, Bob van Dijk said.

Growing its position in online food ordering and delivery is consistent with Naspers’ strategy to invest in platforms with global potential that offer online marketplace services in high-growth markets.

In addition to the investment in Delivery Hero, Naspers recently led an $80M Series E investment in Swiggy, a leading food ordering and delivery platform in India. Through majority-owned Movile, Naspers has a leading food delivery business in iFood, operating in Brazil and Mexico (under the brand SinDelantal), and Naspers also operates Mr. D Food, a food delivery business in South Africa.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval, will be funded from existing resources, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

Knife Capital’s Keet van Zyl appointed to the Southern African Venture Capital Association’s board

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Keet van Zyl, the Founding Partner of Knife Capital, a top VC firm with offices in Cape Town and London has been appointed to the board of the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA).

Keet will join three other appointed representatives, Juan Coetzer, Head of Private Equity at Ashburton Fund Managers; Cathy Goddard, CEO of Firebird Fund Managers; Vusi Thembekwayo, CEO of MyGrowthFund to advocate for private equity and venture capital in Southern Africa, representing about R170 billion in assets under management, through 160 members.

The representatives will engage regulators and legislators on a range of matters affecting the industry, providing relevant and insightful research on aspects of the industry, offering training on private equity and creating meaningful networking opportunities for industry players.

According to Dave Stadler, outgoing Chairman of the SAVCA board and CEO of Paean Private Equity: “Each new board member brings with them diverse experience and expertise in venture capital and private equity. This includes in-depth cross-industry and entrepreneurial knowledge, but what is most critical is their passion for the industry.”

The appointment of four new directors expands the SAVCA board from 11 to 13. Dave Stadler, and Siyabonga Nhlumayo, the Treasurer of the SAVCA board and Partner at Medu Capital, will be stepping down as directors after years of dedicated service to the organisation and the industry.

Adds van Lill, “SAVCA would like to thank Dave and Siya for their hard work and commitment to the SAVCA board and their continuous support for the SAVCA executive team. Each of them has dedicated their time and efforts to help grow SAVCA and its offerings over the years and have always had the best interest of the industry at heart.”

Juan Coetzer, Head of Private Equity at Ashburton Fund Managers, has over 15 years’ experience in investment management and financial services while Cathy Goddard, the CEO of Firebird Fund Managers, has over 18 years’ experience in investment banking, corporate finance and private equity.

Vusi Thembekwayo, CEO of MyGrowthFund, is a global business speaker and an Iconoclasts merchant. Vusi has masterminded and led a R400 million division in a R17 billion multinational. Vusi launched a Top40 mentorship programme and currently mentors 40 entrepreneurs.

Keet’s KNF Ventures is a SARS S12J VC company that leverages knowledge, networks and funding to enhance investee growth and investor returns. Prior to this, Keet structured various private equity funds in Southern Africa for a US fund-of-funds investor and worked at industry-leading companies such as Procter & Gamble, Investec Bank and ‘Here Be Dragons’ (HBD) Venture Capital.