Silvertree to invest $10m in SA startups this year

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Cape Town-based Silvertree Internet Holdings has announced it plans to invest US$10 million in South African tech startups during 2016 on the back of its strongest year so far.

Silvertree had a busy 2015, investing in the likes of We Are Monsters and Faithful to Nature while also joining forces with Kevin Tucker to acquire PriceCheck, and confirmed today last year was its strongest since operations began in 2013.

The company recorded 330 per cent year-on-year growth to more than US$10 million in revenue, and through portfolio companies that also include Click n Compare, Cyber Cellar, and Healthcart reached 25 million unique consumers across the continent, an increase of around 50 per cent on the previous year.

Given this level of success, Silvertree has said it plans to deploy US$10 million in investments in new talented online companies to join its fast-expanding owner-operator portfolio in 2016.

“Our meteoric growth in 2015 has been driven by execution-focused delivery across all of our portfolio companies, as well as a number of company acquisitions that are already delivering positive returns,” said Manuel Koser, Silvertree co-founder and managing director.

“Our job now is to build on this momentum to maintain our aggressive growth trajectory and cement our dominance in the African e-commerce and price comparison markets.”

Silvertree partner Paul Cook said the company, through its operations across the continent, was seeing first-hand that the African consumer market creates ‘leapfrog’ tech opportunities that its portfolio companies are poised to capitalise on.

“Silvertree-owned companies are without a doubt best placed to service and grow the millions of African consumers who are migrating to online platforms, looking to source the most competitive prices for goods and services,” Cook said.

The company operates an owner-operator model, focusing on scaling tech and commerce companies across small, fast growing niches. It invested US$5 million in company acquisitions and business building in 2015.

Searching for top tier talent to invest in and work with will be a key focus for the Silvertree team in 2016, starting in South Africa, but with an eye on other emerging markets on the continent, specifically Nigeria and Kenya.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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