Silvertree to plough $10m in African startups

Johannesburg - Cape Town-based online consumer business Silvertree Internet Holdings says its investment arm plans to inject $10m (R166m) into African startups this year.

The move comes after Silvertree Internet Holdings - which acquired a majority stake in local price comparison company PriceCheck last year - said it recorded 330% per annum growth during 2015 to reach above $10m in revenue.

READ: Why Kevin Tucker bought back PriceCheck

Silvertree Internet Holdings claims to have reached 25 million consumers in 2015 with businesses that include Click n Compare and Healthcart.

And through its investment arm Silvertree Capital, the company also invested $5m in startups in 2015.

Now it’s targeting doubling its investment in startups.

"We don't want to flip any companies,” Manuel Koser, Silvertree Internet Holdings founder and managing director told Fin24.

“We're not buying them, beefing them up and selling them to someone because the exit scenario hasn't developed. 

“And that's why we never set up a fund, we set up ever-green capital,” Koser said.

Startups that already have a turnover are in Silvertree’s sights, Koser said.

Areas that Silvertree is interested in further include niche e-commerce players, classifieds disruptors, and software as a service businesses. Meanwhile, the company also takes a shareholding in each business it invests in, Koser added.

Businesses can apply for funding by contacting Silvertree via its website.

"We don't have a pressure to sell; we want to build businesses or help make businesses sustainable,” said Koser. 

“If we run losses, those losses are small and parred with strong growth, so, when we look at revenue growth numbers, it always goes hand in hand with the net income loss underneath it,” said Koser.

Silvertree launched in 2013 and last year moved to buy PriceCheck from global internet and media company Naspers. Silvertree teamed up with the founder of PriceCheck Kevin Tucker in acquiring PriceCheck.

*Fin24 is part of Media24 which is owned by Naspers. 

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