SA’s Hlayisani Growth Fund mulling 12 deals after having invested R200m so far

Hlayisani Growth Fund, a SA fund that aims to make later-stage investments in African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is mulling 12 potential new deals, fund principal Brett Commaille revealed today.

“Most of them have an element of tech that is inherent in most scalable businesses,” added Commaille (pictured above), who said further announcements will be announced soon.

On Friday (1 November) the fund — which is chaired by former Nedbank chair Reuel Khoza and which includes former FNB head Michael Jordaan as its investment committee chair — released a statement that it had invested R200-million in six investments since becoming operational in January.

Hlayisani Growth Fund, which is chaired by Reuel Khoza, became operational in January

The statement follows the announcement in September that the Hlayisani Growth Fund and Knife Capital’s KNF Ventures had together invested $2-million (over R29-million) in Cape Town edtech company Snapplify (see this story).

Targeted first close of over R500m

Commaille told Ventureburn that the R200-million is the sum total of commitments made so far and that this amount had already been deployed in investments. More commitments are in the final stages of approval, he said.

He expects the fund to make a first close of R500-million to R700-million, but pointed out that the ultimate aim is to raise capital of R1-billion by December next year.

Commaille would not reveal the specific amounts that the fund has invested in each of the six deals that it has closed.

He stressed that the fund is not aimed at startups, but rather at growth-stage firms that have proven their business model and that are now looking to expand locally and internationally.

He confirmed that as the VC and private equity company is majority owned by the Khoza family, all investments made by any fund that the entity manages is considered 100% black.

In its earlier statement, Commaille said the fund is mainly focused on the information, communication and technology (ICT) and manufacturing sectors.

When it comes to technology sectors, the fund is focuses on three verticals, including agritech, edtech and medtech.

Six investments so far

The fund has so far invested in GoMetro’s Flx, Snapplify, Opennetworks, Sudonum, Ikeja and the Lean Enterprise Accelerator Programmes (Leap).

GoMetro, through its Flx platform, designs, sets up and operates scalable and flexible mobility platforms for transport operators around the world. The company was founded in 2014 by Justin Coetzee and the Flx platform launched in May last year (see this story).

This, while Cape Town based Snapplify is an educational content platform and the largest ebook aggregator in Africa. The company was founded in 2011 by Wesley Lynch.

Johannesburg based Opennetworks, which was founded in 1997, claims to be the first Google Premier Partner in Africa, with extensive experience in cloud computing and managed services, helping businesses move onto the cloud. The company is lead by Hywel Glyn-Jones, who is CEO.

This, while Sudonum helps businesses around the world understand the effectiveness of their marketing, and deliver better customer experience through call tracking and analytics. The startup was founded in Stellenbosch in 2015 by Michael Toop and Mark Griffioen, both former employees of now defunct chat app Mxit.

Ikeja is a Johannesburg headquartered wireless network provider that uses bespoke solutions to provide internet connectivity to locations that are densely populated but underserved, such as the informal settlements. The company was founded in 2015. Matthew Symonds is listed on the company’s LinkedIn page as a co-founder.

Leap manages enterprise and supplier development for large businesses, providing business support, access to markets and shared resources for entrepreneurs. The organisation was founded in 2014 in Johannesburg and is headed by CEO Peter Colombo.

*Correction: Hlayisani Capital fund principal Brett Commaille clarified in an email to Ventureburn subsequent to the publication of this story that it’s not because Reuel Khoza is the company’s chair, that all investments it makes in any entity are considered 100% black — but rather that the VC company is majority owned by the Khoza family. 

Featured image: Hlayisani Growth Fund principal Brett Commaille (Supplied)



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