Five SA angel investors you want to meet

If you’re a startup and you need money the chances are you are going to look to friends and relatives for help. Or you could try an angel investor.

Angel investors often choose to operate in the shadows, as a silent investor — which means it is difficult to measure exactly how many such investors South Africa has.

A 2017 VC survey (opens as PDF) by the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (Savca) revealed that angel investors invested R89-million in deals in 2015 and 2016.

Between 2014 and 2016 angel investors disclosed 112 deals to the value of R122-million. The value of deals still invested in by angel investors stood at R271-million last year, according to the survey.

Ventureburn looks at some of South Africa’s more publicly know angel investors. Here they are:


Michael Jordaan

Former FNB boss and South African venture capitalist Michael Jordaan has invested in about 20 startups. But let’s get right to the point. The money is no more.

Last month he announced on his blog that Montegray Capital, through which he invests, was fully invested and was not accepting any more applications for funding.

“For understandable reasons we are not disclosing the amounts but in most cases these were small investments appropriate for businesses with an operating track record of two years or less,” he told Ventureburn in an email earlier this month (see the full story here).

Some of the startups the Stellenbosch based Jordaan has invested in (through his venture capital company Montegray Capital) include Rain, South Africa’s first data-focused cellphone network, which solves textbook deliveries by making textbooks available online and  SA mobility startup GoMetro.

Oh and he’s also involved in setting up a digital bank, Bank Zero, in South Africa, which he aims to launch later this year (see more here).

While he does not plan to start a second fund himself Jordaan said earlier this month that he has been approached by Hlayisani Capital to chair their Investment Committee.


Brett Dawson

Former Dimension Data head Brett Dawson last month unveiled a new investment company Campan which will hold his angel investments. At present he has invested in six tech startups, including three founded by South Africans living overseas.

Among the six are Gather Online, a social networking site in which he has invested R10-million and Wrapistry which provides the ultimate gifting experience. Dawson was involved with Genesis Capital in a deal that saw the two invest R4-million in Wrapistry in November last year (see Ventureburn’s earlier story here).

Dawson would not disclose the investment amount and details of all five of the deals (he has only disclosed that of Gather Online, while Wrapistry deal size was disclosed by the founder himself).

Dawson, who is also involved in investing in tech startups via 12J venture capital (VC) company Anuva Investments, says his vision for Campan is to become a leading incubation platform that nurtures emerging, transformational Fourth Industrial Revolution businesses to make a real difference to society.

Jozi Angels founder and director Abu Cassim (Supplied)

Abu Cassim

Abu Cassim is the founder and director of angel investor network Jozi Angels, which he helped start in 2015. In March Cassim told Ventureburn that the Joburg-based group — which has 18 angel investors — had made 15 investments totalling over R6-million.

Some of the startups the network has invested in include tourism platform Tour 2.0, media and advertising company GeistNoah VR, aerial data solutions company Omnipresent, social marketplace Momslist and marketing research consultancy Neural Sense.

The group looks for a return on the entire portfolio with a return of 5% of 10% in excess of the listed stock exchange. Each company should have the potential to return 20x to 25x. The network has not had an exit yet.

In May he told Ventureburn that none of the investees have received 2nd round funding but that a couple are in the market for funding to expand.


Llew Claasen

Blockchain expert Llew Claasen has invested in several blockchain startups, alongside tech entrepreneur Vinny Lingham through Newtown Partners.

These include SA fintech startup Wala which in December last year was able to raise almost $1.2-million for a crowdfunding token sale of Dala, a new financial services utility token built on the Ethereum blockchain (read more here).

Some of their other investments include BitGoSA Florist, WumDrop, and SweepSouth. SA Florist won its investment by pitching on Dragon’s Den, where Lingham was a Dragon. Wumdrop was acquired by Makro in November last year (see this story). The details of the deal were not disclosed.

The VC firm in 2017 began raising funding for startups using initial coin offerings (ICOs) to raise finance for three startups in that year: Augmentors, Lingham’s startup Civic and Wala.


Daniel Guasco

Former joint chief executives of Groupon South Africa Wayne Gosling and Daniel Guasco, together run Team Africa Ventures which currently has a portfolio of 12 investments — including Guasco’s own Click2Sure.

Another investment of theirs Wumdrop, was acquired by Makro, part of JSE-listed company Massmart, in November last year (see this story). The details of the deal were not disclosed.

Guasco told Ventureburn in an email earlier this month that Team Africa Ventures retains its current portfolio and haven chosen for now to rather reinvest in current investments — which include Click2Sure, Hyperli, Lulalend and LifeQ — rather than to make new investments.

He added that Hyperli has grown “amazingly well under Wayne’s expert leadership”.

Read more: Startups hold unrealistic view on securing VC, angel funding suggests new survey
Read more: Here are eight facts you should know about venture capital in South Africa
Read more:
 SA angel investment sector has to grow, black or white, says Simodisa head
Read more: SA venture capitalists slam inaccurate valuations by local angel investors
Read more: You don’t need to be super wealthy high net individual to be an angel investor



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