Naspers Foundry is here for South African startup pitches

Naspers Company Takealot
Source: Naspers

Naspers Foundry is a popular firm in Africa, which invests in South African startups. It has $100 million in funding. The firm is constantly looking to invest in South African startups. Recently, the firm made its investment in an online cleaning service company, SweepSouth.

The funding initiative has also made some changes recently. It just appointed Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa as the new CEO who joined Naspers in July. She will directly report to the CEO of Naspers, Bob van Dijk. Moreover, Mahanyele-Dabengwa made a statement in which he said, “We will invest in businesses in South Africa, which benefit the South African community. We look for these opportunities all over the country. We also have a marketplace in South Africa.”

Mahanyele-Dabengwa also made it clear that they would even consider Founders from other parts of Africa, which have startup operations in South Africa. Naspers Foundry will mainly back companies that have online businesses. The businesses may sell any commodity, like payments, food, and any other business venture that fulfills the needs of the society.

Now let us see how the firm will fund various startups. Naspers Foundry will make equity investments in the startups, from Series A to Series B. However, the firm won’t do any pre-series funding. Mahanyele-Dabengwa stated, “We are constantly in contact with our stakeholders. There is a need for earlier stage investments in the region.”

The firm is already involved in screening activity. However, it has a rolling application call on its website, which is open to any startup that meets the requirements. Minette Haveman, Naspers Foundry’s strategy director, will review all the online investment applications.

Mahanyele-Dabengwa believes that she is a good fit for this role because she has good market exposure. Before coming to Naspers Foundry, she had several capital positions. She founded the Sigma Capital Group, which is a Johannesburg private equity fund. Before that, she was the CEO of Shanduka Group, which is an investment company founded by the president of South Africa himself. Moreover, she has the experience, both in the U.K. and the U.S. She got her degrees from both these states.

She has also set an example in the Naspers Foundry because she is the first female and the first black CEO in the 104 years of the firm’s history. It shows that she is quite a capable person.

For allocating its VC, Naspers Foundry will invest gradually over three years. The Foundry is part of $314 million of Naspers initiative to invest in South African companies. The firm might invest in other African startups in the future, like Kuda, a Nigerian startup that raised $1.6 million a month ago.

Naspers is on top of the 100 largest companies list. Moreover, it ranks 85th by its $108 billion market cap, so it is present just after Nike. It is also one of the largest tech investors in the world. Other than operating the internet and other entertainment platforms, the firm has also made huge investments in India, Asia, Europe, and South America.

Naspers also used to be an investor in the Chinese tech group Tencent. The firm just sold $10 billion in shares this year. This is a huge deal as the firm invested $32 million in Tencent in 2001.

Mahanyele-Dabengwa made it clear that Naspers Foundry won’t invest in startups outside South Africa. However, its parent company, Naspers, may invest in startups all over Africa, if it finds the right opportunity. The South African global group has also invested less in Africa as compared to its global investments.

Early on, Naspers invested in a Nigerian e-commerce startup, Konga. However, it sold Konga in 2018. Moreover, the company recently decided to invest $70 million to its South African e-commerce site Takealot. It also made a hugely successful deal in September, when it bought South Africa’s Webuycars for $94 million.

In Africa’s tech, the total VC funding is over $1 billion. However, Naspers Foundry’s $100 million investment in South African startups will give the lead to South Africa.


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