South African technology investment firm Naspers, has made known its plans to launch a R1.4 billion (about $96 million) startup fund to boost tech firms next year.
The announcement about the fund – Naspers Foundry – came at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference 2018 in Johannesburg on 26 October.
Naspers, in a statement released on the same day, said it aims to find and support SA tech startups that seek to address “big societal needs”.
Naspers Chief Executive Bob van Dijk said in the statement that the fund aims to both encourage and back South Africa (SA) entrepreneurs, to create businesses “which ensure South Africa benefits from this technology innovation.”
Naspers is one of the largest tech 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,” 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,” he said.
Naspers CFO Basil Sgourdos added that the company recognises the 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 start-ups,” he said.
Naspers will invest about R4.6-billion ($316 million) in the SA technology sector over the next three years.
Aside investments into Naspers Foundry, R3.2-billion ($220 million) will be allocated to the development of its existing technology businesses, including OLX, Takealot, and Mr D Food.
Further announcements on Naspers Foundry will be made in due course.