Naspers Foundry is working that R1.4 billion war chest and has made 11 investments to date.

This article will look at all the investments Naspers Foundry has made to date.

Who is Naspers Foundry?

It is an early-stage business funding initiative focused on technology entrepreneurs in South Africa founded by Naspers with a war chest of R1.7bn in 2019. Naspers Foundry takes a 10-30% stake plus a board seat or two in the companies it invests in.

The following is a list of the companies Naspers Foundry has invested in;

  1. LifeCheq
  2. Nile
  3. Floatpays
  4. Planet42
  5. Naked
  6. Ctrl
  7. WhereIsMyTransport
  8. SweepSouth
  9. Student Hub
  10. Aerobotics
  11. Food Supply Network

From the newest to the oldest investments and investment size, here’s a breakdown of the respective investments;

1) 30 May 2022, Naspers Foundry, made a R40 million investment in LifeCheq, a fintech platform empowering financial advisers to provide quality, holistic financial advice which was co-founded by Abu Addae during its Series A round of investment which raised R53 million.

2) 17 May 2022, Naspers Foundry made a R40m investment in Nile, an agritech company that connects farmers to buyers of fresh produce in an equity funding round that raised R83m. Since 2020, 30 million kilograms of fruits and vegetables have been traded on the Nile platform.

3) 22 Feb 2022, Naspers Foundry, made a R15m investment in Floatpays, an on-demand earned wage access platform. Floatpays’s technology integrates with a company’s existing payroll system enabling employees to access a portion of their earned pay at any point during the pay cycle.

4) 21 Dec 2021, Car subscription company Planet42 raised R91m in an equity round led by Naspers Foundry. Naspers Foundry invested R54m of the R91m in Planet42’s fund raising round.

The R91m equity round was supplemented with R380 million of debt raised from various investors.

Planet42 was founded in 2017 and addresses transport inequality by offering an inclusive car subscription service to customers who typically cannot access traditional bank credit. Planet42 has purchased >7,000 cars for people who are unable to access traditional bank credit.

Prior to the current capital raise of $5.8m equity and $24m debt, Planet42 had raised a total of $30m of debt and equity since 2017. Planet42 is backed by Change Ventures and Startup Wise Guys, as well as unicorn founders Martin Villig from Bolt and Ragnar Sass from Pipedrive.

The funds (R91m equity + R300m debt) raised in this round will be used to expand Planet42’s car inventory in both South Africa and Mexico, putting the company on track to achieve its ambitious global goal of providing 1 million cars to people facing transport inequality by 2025.

5) 4 August 2021, Naspers Foundry made a R120 million investment in Naked, an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven insurtech company that offers a fully digital way for consumers to insure their cars, homes, and valuables.

6) 21 Jul 2022, Naspers Foundry made a R34m investment in Ctrl, a digital insurance advice platform. Ctrl provides a unique tech solution to the short-term insurance industry and consumers through its single platform, which connects consumers, brokers and insurers in one place.

7) 7 Jul 2021, Naspers Foundry made a R42m investment in WhereIsMyTransport during a R201m funding round. WhereIsMyTransport is a mobility technology company that maps formal and informal public transport networks.

8) 20 June 2019, Naspers Foundry made a R30 million investment in SweepSouth. SweepSouth is an online cleaning services platform that connects clients with trusted, reliable domestic cleaners. Aisha Pandor, CEO and Co-founder of SweepSouth. Yes they are with the Minster.

In 2021, SweepSouth acquired Egyptian startup, Filkhedma a home services marketplace operating across three cities and serving tens of thousands of customers with cleaning, maintenance, and beauty services.

9) Nov 2020, Naspers Foundry made a R45m investment in The Student Hub which digitises government-accredited TVET course content to present curricula through a 100% online distance learning model and through a blended learning model to students attending classes at TVET campuses.

Hertzy Kabeya, CEO and founder of The Student Hub made the 2021 Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list.

10) Naspers Foundry made a R100 million investment in agritech business Aerobotics. Aerobotics is a subscription-based artificial intelligence (AI) company that provides intelligent tools for the agricultural industry to manage its crops.

11) Naspers Foundry made an investment in Food Supply Network (FSN) on undisclosed terms. FSN is an independent business-to-business marketplace that integrates ordering systems of manufacturers, distributors, and buyers (restaurants, hotels and retailers) of food products.

The Venture Capital sector in SA is also growing. The SAVCA’s 2021 survey which covered the 2020 calendar year showed that;

  • 74 fund managers invested R1.39bn into 122 entities which is a 13% increase. 
  • 53.1% of VC funding in 2020 came from Cape Town-based investors and 29.4% from Johannesburg.

Funding seems to be skewed towards certain provinces. 

Thomas Piketty-backed World Inequality Lab said the following; “there is no evidence that wealth inequality has decreased since the end of apartheid. Asset allocations before 1993 still continue to shape wealth inequality”.

On the backdrop of the above statement, it is now crucial more than ever, for capital allocators to look into closing these inequality gaps by also looking at high-quality startups that might come from rural provinces and historically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Naspers Foundry is doing great in the funding space.


This article first appeared here.