Africa’s Most Valuable Company To Launch $100M Tech Startup Fund In South Africa

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

 

South African media giant Naspers, Africa’s most valuable company by market cap, is set to launch a $100 million tech startup fund.

The fund, which will become known as the Naspers Foundry, will be dedicated to the growth of tech startups in the country which are aiming to address “big societal needs”, according to Techcentral.

The South African firm did not elaborate on the societal needs that it would be looking to address through its backing of startups, but a look at the Naspers Ventures portfolio suggests that education may be high on its list of priorities, with current investments in Udemy, Brainly, Codecademy and SoloLearn.

The Naspers Foundry will officially be launched and made available to entrepreneurs in 2019, with the company particularly interested in backing black-owned South African startups, according to a Naspers statement.

In addition to the tech startup funding, the group has committed to spending a further $200 million within the South African tech sector, with a specific focus on developing its existing technology businesses, including OLX , Takealot.com and Mr D Food.

Africa's most valuable company
South African tech entrepreneurs will soon have access to the Naspers Foundry. Photo – Seedstars

Cape Town-based Naspers is a global internet and entertainment group that has built a reputation as one of the largest technology investors in the world.

It owns stakes in numerous international companies including Multichoice, ShowMax, Mail.ru, PayU, Takealot, OLX and Chinese investment holding company Tencent.

The South African firm’s investment in Tencent is now worth $120 billion, representing a major success story considering the initial $36 million it invested in the Chinese company in 2001, Fin24 reports.

The Naspers group has a market capitalisation of $91 billion, making it the biggest tech company on the JSE by market cap, according to Moneyweb.

The South African media company which is listed on the Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges has stakes in around 45 technology and media companies around the world, and is involved in e-commerce, television, print media, travel, communications and other sectors in over 120 countries, according to Ventureburn.

The investment was announced at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference 2018 in Johannesburg, a three-day investment summit held by the government to attract local and international investment in the country.

Africa’s most valuable company continues to buy and sell tech firms

While Naspers invests heavily in support of South African tech startups and the technology sector in general, it continues to look for opportunities to invest in and grow companies throughout the globe, as it has done successfully for some time.

Last year Naspers invested around $433 million for a minority stake in Germany-based Delivery Hero, the leading global online food ordering and delivery marketplace, according to MoneyWeb.

In May the company sold its entire stake in Indian e-commerce marketplace Flipkart to Walmart for $2.2 billion. This represented a 11.18 percent stake in the online firm, India’s largest property in the e-commerce space, which saw the initial investment from Naspers in 2012, according to ITWebAfrica.

The proceeds from the sale of the Flipkart stake have been used to fund investments geared at supporting the growth of its classifieds, online food delivery and fintech businesses globally.

Last month Naspers made a $94 million investment in South African specialized car buying service, Webuycars, through the group’s classifieds business, OLX, according to DigestAfrica.