Naspers Foundry to unveil new start-up investments before year end

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Naspers Foundry is set to unveil new investments before the end of the year, in a drive to support entrepreneurs in the local tech sector, SA chief executive Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa said on Wednesday.

Foundry is a R1.4bn business start-up funding initiative formed by Naspers, with the funds to be used over three years.

Speaking to journalists in Johannesburg, Mahanyele-Dabengwa said the company was looking to create growth potential for entrepreneurs to allow them to scale at global level.

"We are working on a number of transactions that we need to conclude before December," she said, adding that a formal announcement would be made soon, giving further details of the deals.

Mahanyele-Dabengwa was in July appointed to head the Naspers South Africa business, including Naspers Foundry and Naspers Labs.

"What are we doing is providing equity funding, which is typically very difficult. We are using equity funding to support business, and it is important that we are investing in local entrepreneurs," she said.

In June, Naspers Foundry announced a R30m investment in SweepSouth, a tech start-up which provides cleaning services. Mahanyele-Dabengwa hailed the online service, which was co-founded in 2014 by Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribicas, as a solution not only applicable in South Africa but also the rest of the world.

Speaking at the event, Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk emphasised the media and e-commerce group's commitment to South Africa, following the listing of new company Prosus on the Euronext bourse in Amsterdam. Prosus now owns all of Naspers’ international internet assets.

Van Dijk described the move as necessary for growth.

* Fin24 is part of 24.com, a division of Media24, which is a subsidiary of Naspers

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