While 5G is still firmly on the agenda for Vodacom in 2019, the company’s also looking at other budding technologies to expand its business…
We always knew it was likely that Michael Jordaan’s post-FNB career would include startups. Now we can confirm that this is actually the case and we can put a name to the investment vehicle he’ll be heading up: MonteGray Capital.
The company, which is based in Stellenbosch, will reportedly open its doors in January 2014 and begin investing in disruptive technologies and business models.
To start, there will only be two staff members: Jordaan himself and Atka Young, a credit analyst at FNB South Africa. This, Jordaan told Business Tech, is because he wants to keep the operation as lean as possible.
“My major expense is a super-fast fibre connection which allows me to operate as if the world is flat, from a wonderful lifestyle location,” said Jordaan.
From his base in Stellenbosch — in a building which was once home to the Western Cape town’s first bank — Jordaan will operate on the principle that small companies run by the right people don’t need much capital to take on the big players in their markets.
“I will therefore only invest small amounts and provide incremental funding as the business grows. As such I am not dependent on outside capital,” he said.
Locating the company in Stellenbosch means that Jordaan will be close to his wine estate interests as well as Mxit HQ. The former FNB CEO was appointed chairman of the mobile social network’s board towards the end of September, but also noted it wouldn’t be taking up all his attention.
“While I am excited about the potential for a mobile chat network to scale across Africa and India, my Mxit involvement is only at a strategy level, and I have many more cards up my sleeves,” said Jordaan.
It’ll be interesting to see how Jordaan copes in the role of private investor. His time as FNB CEO shows that he certainly understands innovation and technology. It’s worth noting however that much of his career to date has been spent in large banking institutions so the lean operation he’s trying to build may not come entirely naturally. That said, starting with just two people doesn’t exactly scream dangerously wild dreams of investment glory.