• Ian Lessem

HAVAÍC expects bumper year for African tech startups



As one of South Africa’s most active Venture Capital investors, in 2020 we witnessed first-hand how the commercial adoption of technology increased at unprecedented rates. 2020 saw HAVAÍC’s portfolio companies grow their revenue by over 90%, and in the coming months with the economic, social and commercial prospects for investing in the African technology sector continuing to show promise, at HAVAÍC, we expect 2021 to be a watershed year for African technology enabled businesses. According to the recent African Tech Startups Funding Report 2020, published by Disrupt Africa, the past year produced a record for funding activity in the African tech startup ecosystem, owing to the increased number of active investors on the continent that continued to grow in tandem with additional investment opportunities across more geographies in an increasing number of verticals.

In line with this, last year HAVAÍC concluded eight investments in technology companies located in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Our track record for investing in diversified African technology businesses, and niche for unlocking the potential of globally relevant companies in sectors in need of real-world solutions, is especially relevant as demand for technology enabled cloud-based platforms crosses over from early adopters’ changing personal needs, as we saw in 2020, to their business needs, as we continue to see today. It is an exciting time for the continent’s startup and investor communities. Fintech, e-commerce and e-health show immense promise for further growth both in terms of funded ventures as well as for their local and international adoption and revenue growth. Furthermore, African startups are reaching new heights in terms of broad global appeal. With our portfolio servicing close to half a million clients in over 180 countries across the globe, and with the majority of our investments having successfully moved their intellectual property or operations into sizeable markets such as the US and UK, as well as achieving multiple international exits, HAVAÍC’s portfolio companies are well on track to fulfilling their international potential. While the Covid-19 pandemic has forced people and organisations the world over to pivot and quickly adapt and re-strategise in obvious ways, the coming months will be interesting as more subtle, but no less impactful solutions continue to come to the fore. Innovation thrives in times of challenge and uncertainty, and given the disruptive nature of our investments, HAVAÍC’s investment thesis to support local and act global, is resulting in capital inflows and foreign investment into Africa, while delivering ‘Dollarised’ returns to our portfolio companies and investors. With a performing portfolio demonstrating that local can compete toe-for-toe internationally, local innovation and pipeline opportunities continuing to thrive, together with HAVAÍC successfully finalising the 2nd close of our newest pan-African fund, 2021 is shaping up to be a bumper year for HAVAÍC as well as the tech startups we invest into and support.

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