“It’s an exciting time for the continent’s start-up and investor communities”, says Ian Lessem, managing partner at HAVAÍC, one of South Africa’s most active venture capital investors. He believes the economic, social and commercial prospects for investing in the African technology sector looks promising, especially as the acceleration of technology adoption continues. 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.
says 2020 saw the commercial adoption of technology increase at unprecedented rates, as illustrated by the performance of HAVAÍC and its portfolio companies. 2020 saw HAVAÍC’s portfolio companies grow their revenue by a staggering 93%, and in the coming months the economic, social and commercial prospects for investing in the African technology sector looks promising, especially as the acceleration of technology adoption continues.
According to the recent African Tech Start-ups Funding Report 2020, published by Disrupt Africa, the year produced a record for funding activity in the African tech start-up ecosystem. This was due 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, the Cape Town-based early-stage, high-growth technology investor concluded eight investments in technology companies located in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.
HAVAÍC says its track record for investing in diversified African technologies, and niche for unlocking the potential of globally relevant companies in sectors needingreal-world solutions, is especially relevant as demand for technology-enabled cloud-based solutions crosses over from early adopters’ changing personal needs, as we saw in 2020, to their business needs, as we continue to see today.
He adds that African start-ups 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 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, Lessem says the coming months will be interesting as more subtle, but no less impactful solutions 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.”