South Africa’s Hlayisani Growth Fund has made six investments worth a total of ZAR200 million (US$13.5 million) in 2019, and is currently in talks about adding a dozen more companies to that list.
Operational since early 2019, Hlayisani Growth Fund invests in the agricultural innovation, ICT, manufacturing, education and e-health spaces, with a focus on the SME ecosystem.
The fund specialises in growing SMEs into large, successful enterprises that operate across multiple territories, create jobs and generate export revenue domestically. Target businesses are those that demonstrate sustainability, growth and investment return, while including in their strategy focus on the appropriate environmental, social and governance impact of the business.
According to report, Hlayisani had in November invested alongside Knife Capital in South African ed-tech startup Snapplify’s US$2 million funding round, but the other five investments are newly-announced. Though undisclosed amounts individually, the total amount committedby the fund, including the Snapplify deal, is around ZAR200 million.
The other investments are all also in South African companies, namely transport tech startup Flx, cloud computing company Opennetworks, marketing tech company Sudonum, wireless network provider Ikeja, and enterprise and supplier development firm Lean Enterprise Accelerator Programmes (LEAP).
“Big business in SA spends ZAR100 billion on outsourced services offshore,” said Hlayisani principal Brett Commaille. “This could be redirected into South Africa if we developed skills. There are many SMEs working to solve this problem – including those in the education and skills development space. This is just one of the investment opportunities for SME-focused funds to support and play a key role in driving GDP growth.”