Naspers to invest billions in South African tech start-ups

It has set aside R4.6 billion for investments over the next three years. 

Africa’s largest technology company by market value, Naspers, has pledged to invest R4.6 billion over the next three years in South Africa’s technology sector, the company announced on Friday. 

Naspers will start investing R1.4 billion of funds – through its start-up fund called the Naspers Foundry – to help South African technology entrepreneurs grow their start-ups.

The R1.4 billion start-up fund was announced at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference 2018 in Johannesburg on Friday and aims to fund and support local technology start-ups seeking to address “big societal needs”.

The Naspers Foundry will be launched during 2019.

“Technology innovation is transforming the world,” said Naspers chief executive Bob van Dijk (pictured).

“The Naspers Foundry aims to both encourage and back South African entrepreneurs to create businesses which ensure South Africa benefits from this technology innovation.” 

Over the next three years, Naspers will invest around R4.6 billion in the South African technology sector, with R3.2 billion allocated to the development of its existing technology businesses, including OLX, Takealot, and Mr D Food, and R1.4 billion committed to Naspers Foundry.

Naspers is one of the largest technology investors in the world, with operations and investments in more than 120 countries and markets. Its portfolio 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 company said its ventures team already “finds and backs promising entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses across the world.”

“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.”