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PIC won’t reveal how much it invested in black-owned insurtech Yalu [Updated]

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UPDATE (6 August 2019): The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) disclosed in its 2018 annual report (see here — opens as a PDF) that it had acquired a 30% stake in Yalu in its 2018 deal involving the startup. It said the founders and employees own the remainder of the equity.

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) says it won’t reveal the amount that it has invested in black-owned startup Yalu — after the insurtech firm announced earlier this week that it has clinched funding from the state entity,  which administers government employees’ pensions.

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In an email to Ventureburn today (10 May) PIC head of corporate affairs Deon Botha said the deal was concluded after the Johannesburg-based startup approached the PIC but added that he could not reveal how much the state entity had invested in the startup “as it is governed by the non-disclosure agreements”.

“Yalu approached the PIC and the deal was concluded in April 2018 after it was subjected to a thorough investment process,” he added.

Yalu could be the first tech startup that the PIC has invested in

The PIC’s investment could be the asset management firm’s first equity investment in a tech startup.

Ventureburn earlier emailed questions to the PIC to find out how many other startups the PIC has invested in as well as what kind of businesses the PIC is looking to invest in — however the PIC had not yet responded to these questions at the time of publication.

Read more: PIC behind new black-owned insurtech Yalu, set to launch first product in June

In an earlier phone call yesterday (9 May) PIC spokesperson Sekgoela Sekgoela referred Ventureburn to the corporation’s 2017 unlisted investment schedule and its integrated annual reports.

Sekgoela said the PIC is “always willing to listen to people”, when asked if the firm has invested in any other startups, he said the firm had “invested in many companies”.

The state entity’s 2017 integrated annual report notes some interesting things. In the report the PIC states that it approved a R500-million equity funding commitment to the SA SME Fund.

Of the entity’s most recent investments the one that comes the closest to being concluded with a small or medium-sized firm is an investment of R48-million in debt finance in Johannesburg-based Spartan financial services. This, according to the PIC’s schedule detailing the entity’s investments in unlisted companies, dated 31 March 2017.

Although Spartan is not a startup — having been founded in 1981 — the company finances small to mid-sized enterprises, including tech businesses.

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