For entrepreneurs wanting to find early-stage funding, this is the article for you. As there is generally a veil of secrecy surrounding funding and startups, there is often smoke and mirrors in the industry, with many claiming to be “investors”. Our content partner Ventureburn has sifted through the South African landscape and brought you the investors that are putting the money where their mouths are, and investing in the startup industry.
4Di is very well known in the startup industry, probably due to the fact that it was founded by its high-profile investor and entrepreneur Justin Stanford. Stanford was also the co-founder of the Silicon Cape Initiative. The group managed to raise R256-million in funding early this year, as well as an undisclosed amount in 2014. These funds are used to invest in early and growth-stage startups.
In August this year, 4Di was one of the investors in fintech company Zoona, which managed to raise US$15-million in funding led by International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of World Bank Group.
Founded by Ernst Hertzog, Action Hero Ventures is a private investment holding company that specialises in early stage angel investments. The company looks to invest alongside other investors and invests an initial maximum of R3-million into startups.
Some of its more notable investments include Wumdrop, Picsa, and Domestly.
This VC is a seed and early-stage investor and looks at lean, disruptive startups. In 2015, the company invested in Snapplify, which also saw former rockstar executive banker, Michael Jordaan, join the startup’s board. They also hold shares in GoMetro, who’s recently had a 20% acquisition by Tritech Media.
As a product of Capital Eye Investments, this “Angel Investment Incubator” primarily looks at new mobile-application-driven businesses. They incubate startups to break-even point and then partner with, or exit to, a strategic investor for further growth.
Some of their investments include TuYu, Clandestine (Secret Agent), Gift It, and FlickPay.
Clifftop is one of the more “under the radar” VC companies that specialises in investments of R20m and above. However, despite this, the firm has been recently active in the world of early stage startups. This Muizenberg-based VC also has headquarters in the US, UK, and Switzerland. It aims to catalyse startup growth as well as provide advice on a strategic level.
Edge Growth definitely fits the bill with its R388-million Vumela ESD Fund being managed on behalf of FNB. When investing, Edge Growth looks for “investment readiness” in startups.
One of the more prominent startups backed by the VC is SweepSouth, which received a funding round of R10-million from a variety of investors (including Vumela).
Funding firm Goodwell Investments might be based in the Netherlands, but the firm has a respectable portfolio of African companies across various stages.
Its EUR 50-million uMunthu fund is targeted at startups and high-growth companies in fintech spaces.
Some of these firms include WhereIsMyTransport and
Havaic are new-comers to the VC and startup scene. Apart from investing in early stage, high-growth businesses, Havaic adopts a “hands-on” approach to the startups it invests in.
One of the VC’s largest investments to date happened only a few weeks ago. The VC invested a healthy R6.5-million into del
It might not be a proper investment fund, but Jozi Angels serves a crucial role in the sector. Besides its focus on growing the startup system, Jozi Angels has also facilitated several deals, while also providing capital and coaching to early stage companies.
Jozi Angels’ partners include ABAN, Ground Flr, Venture Network, and SABAN.
Another notable addition to the list is Kgatelopele, offering “early stage or startup capital” and targeting “mostly black under-developed businesses”.
In addition to early stage investments, the company also focuses on firms at an expansion stage.
We still are trying to work out the exact difference between Knife and KNF, but it’s safe to say that they are both headed by respected VC professionals in Keet Van Zyl and Andrea Bohmert. One of the more high-profile VCs on the list, Knife Capital plays host to KNF Ventures, which is an early stage fund with a target of R100-million. Knife also has HBD Venture Capital and the Grindstone Accelerator as two startup-focused operations in its stable. KNF has managed to rope in high-profile people like former Springbok rugby player, Bob Skinstad and internet entrepreneurs who have exited their businesses.
Earlier this year, the 12 startups in its Grindstone accelerator programme boasted revenue of over R65-million.
Founded in September 2013, MonteGray is an investment firm started by ex-FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan. The fund looks at businesses with a minimum of two years’ trading history and the potential for rapid growth, which require between R2-million to R5-million.
Jordaan started MonteGray Capital just months after his resignation, with some of their partners including On Networks, AngelHub Ventures, and Alto Africa.
One of the more interesting VCs, Newtown Partners was founded on the set of Dragons’ Den, and is headed up by Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen.
Some of their investments include BitGo, SA Florist, WumDrop, and SweepSouth. SA Florist won its investment by pitching on Dragon’s Den, where Lingham was a Dragon.
Founded in 2016, Niveus Ventures is a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI:Johannesburg)
It looks to bridge the gap between Angel investments under R1-million and capital that ranges between R100 – R200 million.
Unlike many other VCs, which tend to look at tech startups in general, Quona invests specifically in companies utilising and creating fintech ideas in emerging markets.
In August 2016, Quona was part of the US$15-million investment round for Zoona, in which the VC doubled its initial investment.
SABAN (South African Business Angel Network)
The South African Business Angel Network (SABAN) is a group of several companies and initiatives, such as Silicon Cape and SiMODiSA. The aim of SABAN is to grow Angel investing in SA by providing support, training, and potentially linking them with startups to invest in.
SABAN is still in its infancy, though, having launched in August 2016.
SABF Seed Fund
The SABF Seed Fund isn’t new to the scene, having been launched by the SAB Foundation, in partnership with the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The fund aims to provide students and entrepreneurs from various institutions with access to much-needed seed capital. The fund also focuses on supporting ideas with test funding of up to R10 000 and seed funding of up to R50 000.
Founded by Manuel Koser andPeter Allerstorfer (both previously with Zando and Ju
To date, Silvertree has invested in the likes of Click n Compare, WineCo, We Are Monsters and PriceCheck, which was sold to Naspers and then shortly bought back again by its founder Kevin Tucker.
Founded and run by Daniel Guasco and Wayne Gosling, Team Africa Ventures focuses on “passionate founders to create sustainable and valuable technology driven businesses”.
One of their latest investments is in Gosling’s latest company, Hyperli.
The Technology Innovation Agency is a public entity which provides three types of funding (including seed funding) to entrepreneurs, among other bodies and individuals. The seed fund, in particular, is meant to help SMMEs advance their research and ideas, helping them grow toward a proof of concept and to develop working prototypes.
The self-proclaimed “African platform for startup funding” is a community of professionals spanning over 150 countries and dedicated to building and funding sustainable SMEs. Entrepreneurs are able to look for investors in the sub-US$1-million investment category using the platform.
Other funds to look out for:
- Business Partners Venture Fund – having put aside R1-billion for startups in 2013, and launching a R300-million green fund in 2015, it looks for startups with new products and concepts, and those with substantial job creation.
- CCDI Capital – this fund put aside R6.5-million for pre-revenue and innovative technologies in the agri-processing, health and bio-tech, and manufacturing sectors.
- Grovest – offering tax incentives to investors, at the end of 2015 this VC launched a R100-million fund f
or disruptive startups in SA, and acquired a stake in Seed Engine in 2016.
- Pilot Labs VC – one of the newest investors around, this VC helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into products and raises funds of between R500 000 to R2-million from private investors.
- Polymorph – besides investing up to R2-million of its own cash, this VC (or “Venture Technology” as they call themselves) also invests time and knowledge into ventures.
*If you feel there is someone we missed, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that the list can be updated.
Feature image: Christopher Griner via Flickr.
This article first appeared on Ventureburn, one of our content partners. The emerging market tech startup space is expanding, but those within it don’t often have a voice to speak for them. Ventureburn hands those individuals a megaphone and gives more than a voice to both entrepreneurs and startups in order to tell the world what they are doing and how they are innovating.