A partnership between Enygma Ventures, a ZAR100 million (US$6.8 million) fund launched late last year with a focus on investing in women entrepreneurs in the SADC region, and Startup Circles, the Shift Fund was launched in April.
The US$1 million fund aims to support African startups, entrepreneurs and innovators that are building solutions for the post-pandemic world.
Its first investment is Job Crystal, which will enable the female-led company to develop technology to speed up the process of recruitment, making it easier for employers to hire the right talent faster than ever and making a dent in unemployment rates at the same time.
“We’re thrilled to receive this investment from Enygma Ventures, which will help us to improve our tech development and expand our footprint across the country and region,” said Job Crystal managing director and co-founder Sasha Knott.
Sarah Dusek, managing partner and co-founder of Enygma Ventures, said there had never been a more critical time to get South Africans back into work.
“We see the recruitment industry as vital in South Africa’s economic recovery, enabling employers to navigate finding the right talent, quickly and efficiently, getting more people back to work sooner,” she said.
The general unemployment rate in South Africa increased to 30.1% during the first quarter of 2020, with 63.3% of the 7.1 million unemployed people consisting of youth. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these numbers.
“Job Crystal has strongly positioned itself within the recruitment market focusing on small and medium sized businesses with a passion for solving Africa’s unemployment crisis using technology and smart problem-solving skills. This is what we at Shift Fund are looking for – businesses that combine smart, innovative strategies and technologies in scalable models,” said Startup Circles chief executive officer (CEO) Sandras Phiri.