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Our Approach


HAVAÍC is a venture capital and advisory firm that specialises in investing in and supporting early-stage, high-growth post-revenue African technology start-ups with global prospects. As a complementary offering, HAVAÍC provides corporate advisory and capital raising services to its portfolio companies, which assists when scaling locally and internationally.


The HAVAÍC team has extensive local and international experience and networks. We are passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and encouraging our portfolio companies to retain their independence and unique cultures. We are deeply invested in ensuring alignment with founders on vision, strategy, and long-term objectives and work tirelessly to prepare our portfolio companies for global growth, impact, and high-returning exits. 

OUR VISION is to provide a non-traditional investment offering that delivers annualised returns of at least 30% through participation in early-stage, post-revenue, high-growth African businesses with global prospects.

OUR MISSION is to facilitate the success and realisation of the international potential of emerging African businesses through technology adoption and our strong advisory relationships and strategic expertise.


Ian Lessem

Managing Partner


Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Ian’s passion for building businesses runs in his genes. Coupled with over a decade of pan-African investing and investment banking experience, he is ideally placed to invest and advise early-stage, high-growth businesses. Ian has a unique talent for raising capital and is an expert at strategically aligning businesses for international growth, investment, and exit.

Grant Rock



Grant has a talent for finding new business opportunities and providing business-minded, practical advice. For nearly 20 years, Grant worked as a corporate transactional lawyer, solicitor, and executive in South Africa, London, and New York, on a wide range of transactions in banking, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, debt and equity capital markets, and private equity. 

Rob Heath



Rob is an inquisitive, active, original, and determined individual. This has led him to perform in and be exposed to various disciplines, sectors, and activities in academia, business, and sport. After post-grad studies and completing his chartered accountancy articles, Rob worked and travelled in Africa, the USA, and the UK as an executive, business founder, CA, and advisor. Rob brings practical operational experience, a wealth of multi-sectoral knowledge, and detailed financial acumen to the HAVAÍC team.



Investing in, raising capital, and providing strategic advice for start-ups and early-stage, high-growth technology businesses.
HAVAÍC is built on the solid foundations of its partners with experience in investment banking, legal and M&A, corporate finance, and advisory services, complemented by diverse operational expertise and international networks. 




Rob Hamer
Investment Committee Chair

Rob is currently the Senior Director of Growth Capital at Maia Financial in Sydney, Australia. He was previously the co-head of Alternative Investments at Ashburton and co-head of Investment Banking at Rand Merchant Bank and several other management roles at RMB. His institutional banking career was focused on the return and risk of corporate loans and private lending in various forms. He was also closely involved in RMB’s principal equity and mezzanine investing activities.


Previously Chairman of Bowmans and head of the firm's Corporate Department, Jon retired as a Partner this year, having spent his entire working life with the firm. He now consults Bowmans and specialises in corporate governance and advising boards of directors. His expertise extends to corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and securities law.


Jonny is currently co-Managing Partner at Universum Wealth, a UK-based Family Office and Investment Manager.  He was formerly with HSBC Investment Bank, joint CEO of Nedbank Private Wealth, Sasfin IC Chair and CEO of Close Brothers Asset Management (UK).


Given his interest in assisting growth companies to access capital and his admiration for innovative entrepreneurs, it was merely a matter of time before Jonty would find himself advising a venture capital company. Jonty’s analytical approach is useful in evaluating companies’ likely capital requirements and considering the appropriate returns that investors are likely to seek. Jonty spent most of his career at Standard Bank, where he worked on a wide range of transactions across industries and legal jurisdictions, which has resulted in his in-depth understanding of the ways in which different capital instruments can be used to address specific funding challenges.


Mphokolo currently holds the position of Executive Head of Energy and Infrastructure for the East Africa region at Standard Bank. She sits on their Africa Regions Investment Banking Management Committee, representing the bank's energy and infrastructure business. Mphokolo's career in investment banking spans coverage, treasury, transactional banking, structured finance, and infrastructure finance.

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