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Could mysterious Durban man be the investor behind SA startup Zapper?

Is a media shy Durban-born entrepreneur the angel investor behind South African tech startup Zapper?

Mystery continues to surround who the investor behind the Durban-based startup is. After a brief investigation by Ventureburn no one close to the company, other than the co-ordinator of the supposed investor’s scholarship fund, was willing to comment.

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In September last year when interviewed by Ventureburn, Zapper CEO David de Villiers refused to name who the angel investor was behind the company (see the story here).

Then last month a Ventureburn reader pointed out in a comment to the initial story that following a five-minute search on Google, they were able to connect the name of SA entrepreneur Martin Moshal with Zapper.

No one close to Zapper is willing to comment on who the investor really is

Despite lengthy Google searches Ventureburn was not able to verify whether this indeed is so. In addition, several emails sent by Ventureburn over a span of a number of days to the reader went unanswered.

Ventureburn then approached Moshal for comment via his personal Gmail address and via his scholarship fund, but he did not respond to repeated emailed requests for comment.

After Ventureburn sent an email to Moshal via his scholarship fund, a Jodi Bailey, who oversees the Moshal Scholarship Program, responded in writing saying she had forwarded Ventureburn’s request for comment to Moshal’s personal assistant.

When reached by telephone, Bailey declined to provide a contact number for the personal assistant, but confirmed in a subsequent call that Moshal is indeed “involved” with Zapper.

“As far as I know he is involved with that company (Zapper),” she said, adding that she was unsure if he is still involved or if his involvement with that company has come to an end.

When Ventureburn asked where Moshal was at present, Bailey responded that he is “all over the place” and that he spends a lot of time overseas. “Martin has a thousand different entities and all that,” she added.

Ventureburn also contacted Zapper CEO David de Villiers and asked if Moshal is indeed the investor behind the company and asked him to confirm whether the company is indeed battling in the UK, following reports (including a report in March on UK site Better Retailing) that the company had laid off staff there earlier this year.

De Villiers said only that he had “no comment for you”.

As it is rumoured that Moshal also has interests in Durban-based software company Derivco (where De Villiers previously worked) Ventureburn contacted Derivco CEO Quraish Behari.

When asked whether Martin Moshal is indeed the investor behind Zapper, he told the publication that he was “in a meeting”. Pushed to provide a simple “yes or no” answer, an annoyed Behari responded by asking “do you know who you are dealing with?”

Who then is Martin Moshal?

The little information on the web on Moshal is that he is one of the founders of Israeli headquartered Entree Capital.

According to he was born in the South African city of Durban in 1970 and studied at the UCT, majoring in several subjects including finance and business administration.

page on purports that together with his brother David and father John, he controls a number of companies including among them online gaming supplier Microgaming and Derivco — which states on its website that it designs and develops technology for Microgaming, “one of the world’s biggest suppliers of online gaming”. in a 2015 story says: “At one point, Microgaming was the software behind 35% of the world’s online casinos. Today, the business is more diluted and based in the Isle of Man. Moshal concentrates on philanthropic distractions, having sold his share of the business.”

The question then is why no one close to the company wants to comment on who the investor behind Zapper is. What, one must ask, is the big deal?

Featured image: SA entrepreneur Martin Moshal (via Youtube)

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