Silvertree Internet Holdings has announced an investment in newly-founded web and mobile development agency We Are Monsters (WAM), while the two have also signed a partnership that makes WAM the preferred development provider for Silvertree’s portfolio.
Silvertree, which recently invested over ZAR10 million (US$730,000) in Cape Town-based organic e-commerce startup Faithful to Nature and also has the likes of Cybercellar, WineCo, Click n Compare and Sprout in its portfolio, said recently it had invested over ZAR20 million (US$1.47 million) in tech companies in the first seven months of 2015.
The latest confirmed investment is in We Are Monsters, a development agency serving digital agencies and startups that want to develop campaigns or applications. Silvertree said the startup has a wealth of knowledge in the processes of large multinational corporations, and assists and mitigates the risk for their clients in the development life cycle of a campaign.
Founders Stephan Steynfaardt and Pieter van Reenen have a combined twenty years of development experience in the IT security and digital marketing environment. After only three months of business, WAM has already acquired Ogilvy and Gorilla Media as clients for a multitude of online commerce projects.
“We will be working with many of the most exciting companies in South Africa – and the rest of the continent – on ground-breaking and innovative projects,” said Van Reenen.
“This partnership with Silvertree gives us a chance to really showcase our ability. To create not just great websites and apps, but also top-class digital marketing.”
Silvertree director Paul Cook said the company was “incredibly excited” to be working with the We Are Monsters team as its preferred developers.
“They have top-of-the-range technical expertise, deep interest in building businesses, and an incredible, young culture,” Cook said.
A number of other Silvertree investments are set to be announced in the coming weeks, with the company saying its investments so far this year include over ZAR16 million (US$1.18 million) of first-time investments in the e-commerce, online travel and IT development industries respectively.
Silvertree Internet Holdings is the holding vehicle of early-stage investor Silvertree Capital and strongly focused on operational and marketing execution within portfolio companies.
The trio behind Silvertree – Cook, Peter Allerstorfer and Manuel Koser – believe the biggest opportunities for tech investment in Africa are in working with businesses driven by strong teams that are executing simple, proven models. The company has what it describes as a “continuous focus” on revenue and margins.
“We watch the numbers every day, every hour, checking progress, making adjustments. It’s all about execute, execute, execute,” Koser said.
Cook said African startups and investors can be too quick to try to copy Silicon Valley, and sometimes forget that building a viable business requires finding customers and generating revenue.
“Smart potential investors are seeking businesses that have proven they will be able to make money – not just great ideas,” he said.