Naspers has announced that it has created an R1.4bn ($300 million) startup fund to boost the technology sector in South Africa.
Naspers Foundry, which will launch in 2019, was created to fund South African technology startups looking to address major societal needs. In addition to funding, the Foundry will help technology entrepreneurs in the country with business development and growth.
“Technology innovation is transforming the world,” Naspers chief executive Bob van Dijk said in a press release. “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 R4.6bn in the South African technology sector, with R3.2bn allocated to the development of its existing technology businesses, including OLX, Takealot, and Mr D Food. R1.4bn will be earmarked for Naspers Foundry.
“When we invest in an entrepreneur, we are able to bring much more to the table than just funding: we understand what it’s like to build and grow tech businesses, and we share that knowledge to help them succeed. We also recognize the important 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 startups,” said Naspers CFO Basil Sgourdos.
Naspers is one of the largest technology investors in the world, with operations and investments in more than 120 countries and markets.
“The group started in South Africa and understands the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of South Africans,” added 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.”