Entrepreneur-led investment fund launched for SA startups

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South African company Niveus Investments has launched VC fund Niveus Ventures, which will back local tech startups by filling the gap between angel funding and private equity.

Niveus Investments is a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments, with the Niveus Ventures investment team to be headed up by Jesse Hemson-Struthers, who has successfully launched, invested in, grown and sold several businesses, including SAcamera, BetTech Gaming and LifeQ.

“Building an enduring business remains an immense challenge,” Hemson-Struthers said. “Most businesses don’t survive past the startup phase despite great ideas. The downfall is execution and turning ideas into viable businesses. Knowing when to scale is not that easy, and while top entrepreneurs know their industries very well, they don’t always have the operational experience of starting and running a business.”

South African startups, already the best-funded in Africa, are set to be on the receiving end of a growing amount of investment over the next few years if recent funds announced by the likes of mLab Southern Africa, GroTech, Caban Investments and Capital Eye are anything to go by.

The Niveus fund, according to the company, has the systems and structures in place to provide support in the crucial, early stages of business and to reduce the risks of failure. This allows entrepreneurs to focus on the innovation required to differentiate their businesses from their competitors.

“Investment criteria comes down to the right person and the right team. We look for talented individuals who may have started a business once or twice before, or individuals who have achieved corporate success but haven’t been able to realise their entrepreneurial potential,” said Hemson-Struthers.

The team will share its entrepreneurial expertise and operational know-how to provide entrepreneurs with strategic, hands-on support, with Niveus Ventures saying it specialises in executive placements, bringing in the right talent to help build strong management teams and fill key positions.

The fund is specifically looking to build businesses in Africa’s rapidly growing technology space, including those with a global agenda, and plans to invest in emerging technologies and disruptive ideas that will change the way people live, transact and communicate.

“Our team has an established track record of building successful businesses and delivering shareholder value. Using our operational expertise we want to build strong enduring businesses that will help power Africa’s growth,” said Hemson-Struthers.

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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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