South African VC firm Knife Capital gets first commitment for its $50M fund, to invest in 10-12 Series B rounds

South African VC firm Knife Capital gets first commitment for its $50M fund, to invest in 10-12 Series B rounds

Knife Capital, a South African enterprise capital agency, is elevating a $50 million fund for startups trying to increase Series B financing. With Knife Fund III referred to as the African Series B Expansion Fund, the agency seeks to straight put money into the aggressive growth of South African breakout corporations. It additionally plans to co-invest in corporations throughout the remainder of Africa.

The first fund, referred to as Knife Capital Fund I or HBD Venture Capital, was a closed non-public fairness fund managed by Eben van Heerden and Keet van Zyl. The agency provided seed capital to startups. It additionally generated important exits from its portfolio — Visa acquisition of fintech startup Fundamo, and orderTalk’s acquisition by UberEats come to thoughts.

In 2016, the VC agency launched its present 12J providing with Knife Capital Fund II. The fund (KNF Ventures), which invests primarily in Series A stage, has eight startups in its portfolio. Last yr the agency instructed TechCrunch of its intention to increase the Fund II and open to new traders. The plan was to provide startups entry to networks, cash and growth alternatives.

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“We need to assist South African and African corporations internationalize,” stated co-managing associate Andrea Bohmert on the time. A testomony to its trigger, certainly one of its portfolio corporations, DataProphet, raised $6 million Series A to broaden into the U.S. and Europe.

Bohmert tells TechCrunch that the third fund goals to handle the essential Series B funding hole that has characterised the enterprise capital asset class in South Africa, leading to companies not reaching full potential or exiting too early.

“Lately, we see a rise in corporations in a position to increase $2 million to $5 million funding rounds. And whereas the businesses are working inside their dwelling nation, in our case South Africa, such quantities take you far as a result of native price construction,” Bohmert says. “However, as soon as these corporations begin gaining worldwide traction and have to construct an infrastructure exterior of their dwelling nation, they should increase important quantities to afford so. There are presently hardly any South African VC funds, maybe apart from Naspers Foundry, that may write checks of $5 million or extra and are prepared to deploy them to finance the externalization of South African corporations into bigger markets.”

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These specialised Africa VC funds are welcoming co-investors

As a end result, Bohmert argues that Africa has grow to be an incubator for worldwide VCs who can write these checks however can not present the native assist most of those corporations nonetheless want. Likewise, there are cases the place worldwide traders actively seek for native co-investors in South Africa to put money into a spherical, and never discovering one may blow the probabilities of them going additional with the funding. This is the hole Knife Capital intends to fill by launching this fund, Bohmert says.

“We need to be the native lead investor of alternative for South African know-how corporations trying to internationalise, co-investing with worldwide traders who can lead the Series B dialogue and additional.”  

This week, Knife Capital secured $10 million from Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC), a South Africa-based funding agency. The dedication positions MIC as an anchor investor to the fund alongside different native and worldwide traders.

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Nchaupe Khaole, the CIO at MIC, defined that the transfer to alter the way in which native institutional traders method enterprise capital funding has been in MIC’s pipeline for some time. And by partnering with Knife Capital, this concept can start to materialize.

“Our dedication brings to the desk the funding, together with lots of our strengths as an skilled participant. One of which is our means to affect the businesses inside our portfolio to associate with us and impact actual, tangible change to the South African financial system. We are delighted to be a key catalyst within the success of this funding spherical,” he stated.

As per different particulars, Knife Capital goals for a primary shut by May and a ultimate shut by the tip of the yr. Most of its participation shall be co-investing, and the concept is to do this in 10 to 12 corporations.


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