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SA investor Naspers has announced that it plans to next year launch a R1.4-billion (about $96-million) startup fund to boost the SA tech firms.
The initiative – called Naspers Foundry – was announced at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference 2018 in Johannesburg on Friday (26 October).
In a statement released on the same day, Naspers said it aims to fund and support SA tech startups that seek to address “big societal needs”. The company said further announcements will be made in due course.
Commenting in the statement, Naspers chief executive Bob van Dijk said the fund aims to both encourage and back SA entrepreneurs to create businesses “which ensure South Africa benefits from this technology innovation”.
Naspers is one of the largest technology investors in the world, with operations and investments in more than 120 countries and markets.
Naspers will launch a R1.4-billion fund to invest the SA tech startup that seek to address ‘big societal needs’
Its portfolio, through Naspers Ventures, spans technology sectors as far-reaching as online classifieds, payments and fintech, online food delivery, online travel, social and internet services, education, and health.
“The group started in South Africa and understands the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of South Africans,” said van Dijk.
“We believe the best ideas often start locally, with passionate entrepreneurs starting businesses that meet the needs of the communities they know best. And when those needs are universal across the markets we know well, with the right backing, there is the future potential for their businesses to grow beyond their home market,” he said.
Naspers CFO Basil Sgourdos added that the company recognise the role that local businesses can play in boosting local economies, which in turn boosts the wider South African economy.
“That’s why a significant portion of the Naspers Foundry investment will be focused on black-owned South African start-ups,” he said.
Over the next three years, Naspers said it will invest about R4.6-billion in the SA technology sector. Of this, R3.2-billion will be allocated to the development of its existing technology businesses, including OLX, Takealot, and Mr D Food, and R1.4-billion will be committed to Naspers Foundry.
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