SA’s Knife Capital launches $6.4m fund for innovative startups

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South African venture capital (VC) firm Knife Capital has announced the launch of KNF Ventures, a ZAR100 million (US$6.4 million) fund dedicated to investing in innovative startups with proven traction.

Knife Capital said KNF Ventures was a SARS-approved section 12J Venture Capital Company (VCC), which means investors can deduct the full amount of their investment from taxable income.

The targeted investment capital is ZAR100 million, but Knife Capital said initial closing will be smaller in order to start taking advantage of impending investment opportunities.

“By leveraging knowledge, networks and funding, KNF Ventures will accelerate the growth of strategically relevant South African scale-up companies and generate enhanced returns for investors,” said Keet van Zyl, chief executive officer (CEO) of KNF Ventures and co-founder of Knife Capital.

“We are taking our learnings in the local venture investment space over the last ten years, partnering with value-adding investors and utilising the SARS section 12J VCC regime to create something unique.”

The fund will select entrepreneurs with deep subject matter expertise and add the business building skills of Knife Capital and the diversified experience of a credible investor pool. KNF investees will have a solid knowledge foundation to scale from and the confidence that they are supported throughout the growth journey.

“Exploiting IP is one of the key strategies that businesses can rely upon to improve their competitiveness, but most South African innovation-driven companies we come across have not adequately taken advantage of their knowledge base,” said van Zyl.

The new fund will provide market access and accelerate investee traction by drawing on a dynamic partner network, with investors “taken into the trenches” of South African high-growth entrepreneurship through facilitated capacity building interactions and regular targeted investor and investee networking events.

To facilitate this, KNF has partnered with former Springbok rugby captain, entrepreneur and corporate networker Bob Skinstad.

“I’ve always treasured my personal and business relationships and believe in the power of like-minded individuals working together to achieve a common goal,” said Skinstad.

“Through the KNF network we believe that the solution to virtually every challenge confronting a South African high-growth business is no more than three phone calls away.”

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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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