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Funding your startup: Ventureburn lists the SA investors that are delivering

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”.  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.

Make sure to keep checking back on this article. We will constantly be updating it with new funds as the startup space grows in South Africa. Also, with your comments and suggestions we hope to create a clear overview of the people and organisations that influence and shape South Africa’s tech venture space.

*If you feel there is someone we missed, then please email editor@memeburn.com so that the list can be updated.

4Di Capital

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.

Action Hero Ventures

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 WumdropPicsa, and Domestly.

AngelHub Ventures

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.

Montegray, a holding company of Jordaan’s and established in September 2013, also does early-stage investments through AngelHub. Montegray targets businesses with at least two years’ trading history.

Blue Garnet Investments

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 Colony

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.

Some of Clifftop Colony’s more notable investments include R8-million in Wyzetalk and R2.5-million in iono.fm.

Edge Growth

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).

Goodwell Investments

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 Nomanini.

HAVAIC

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 delvv.io, along with UK-based investor Kevin Gaskell.

Jozi Angels

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.

Kgatelopele

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.

Knife Capital & KNF Ventures

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.

Newtown Partners

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.

Niveus Ventures

Founded in 2016, Niveus Ventures is a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI:Johannesburg) and the youngest firm on this list.

It looks to bridge the gap between Angel investments under R1-million and capital that ranges between R100 – R200 million.

Quona

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.

Silvertree Internet Holdings

Founded by Manuel Koser and Peter Allerstorfer (both previously with Zando and Jumia), along with Paul Cook, this is a VC that primarily focuses on ecommerce and internet companies. Earlier this year, the company pledged US$10-million to grow startups in SA.

To date, Silvertree has invested in the likes of Click n CompareWineCoWe Are Monsters and PriceCheck, which was sold to Naspers and then shortly bought back again by its founder Kevin Tucker.

Team Africa Ventures

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.

Technology Innovation Agency

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.

In 2016, the agency signed R5.9-million funding agreement with Custos Media Technologies, and invested in the Design Innovation Seed Fund.

VC4Africa

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:

*If you feel there is someone we missed, then please email editor@memeburn.com so that the list can be updated.

Feature image: Christopher Griner via Flickr.

Update 22 December 2016: We’ve rolled Montegray into AngelHub Ventures.

Update 10 January 2017: Added GroTech,

Author Bio

Graham van der Made: Editor
Graham started out as an electronics manager at Take2 Home Entertainment and went on to spend a further ten years in the South African ecommerce industry. During this time, Graham founded and managed an online geek and hobby shop. He has always had a passion for writing and has... More
  • Keet van Zyl

    Good investor reference site Graham! The difference between Knife and KNF? Knife Capital is a Venture Capital investment and advisory firm that manages HBD Venture Capital’s portfolio of investments in SA, invests via KNF Ventures and builds high-growth technology enabled SMEs through the Grindstone Accelerator. KNF Ventures is an approved SARS section 12J Venture Capital Company (VCC) with the sole purpose of investing in innovation-driven SME’s with proven traction. Investors in KNF are the shareholders/ beneficial owners, and can claim their full investment amount as a deduction from taxable income.

  • Bongane Tshabangu

    Great work Graham.