New $50m fund aims to catalyse South African tech boom

A newly launched venture capital fund is setting its sights on propelling South African and African technology startups to new heights. Conducive Capital, a majority black-owned firm, aims to raise $50 million over the next two years to invest in disruptive technologies with the potential for global scaling.

The fund, which opened its doors recently, is the brainchild of tech industry veterans Clive Butkow and Mitchan Adams. Butkow, formerly CEO of Kalon Venture Partners, and Adams, co-founder of fintech pioneer Ozow, have collectively invested over R300 million in early-stage companies with an impressive 30% internal rate of return over the past seven years.

“There is strong demand for quality capital to support emerging businesses in South Africa, with the deployment of early- and growth-stage capital,” said Butkow. “We are plugged into networks that can open doors to international ecosystem players and mentors, as well as local and global investors for follow-on funding.”

Conducive Capital is targeting an initial $15 million close in July 2024, with the ambition of hitting its $50 million hard cap within 24 months. The fund will focus on post-revenue startups with strong unit economics, proven product-market fit, and the ability to scale locally and globally.

While financial returns are paramount, Conducive Capital also has a mission to improve diversity in South Africa’s VC landscape and nurture the next generation of black women investors.

“We need women in this space in particular,” Adams stated. “And black women – there are not nearly enough. And Clive has been clear from the start: part of our reason for existence is to share knowledge and pass the baton to the next generation.”

The founders’ pedigree from disruptive firms like Kalon and Ozow means the fund can provide not just capital but strategic guidance, operational expertise, and mentorship. “We are the entrepreneurs behind the entrepreneurs,” Butkow remarked, adding that their startup operating experience gives them “a leg up” on local competitors.

In today’s innovation-driven economy, Conducive Capital believes fostering groundbreaking technologies will be key to maintaining a competitive edge. “We have identified major industries and technologies that are building the foundation to empower corporations and individuals in South Africa and Africa to create meaningful, sustainable solutions and improve millions of lives,” said Butkow.

“Conducive Capital is not just an investment; it’s a partnership in growth and innovation – and it’s built for transformation.”


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