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Naspers宣布投资3亿美元支持南非创业及新技术研发

Naspers宣布成立1亿美元的Naspers Foundry基金来支持南非的科技初创企业。这是这家南非媒体和投资公司3亿美元(14亿兰特)承诺的一部分,旨在全面支持南非的科技行业。Naspers Foundry将于2019年推出。

这些举措表明Naspers更加重视在非洲的风险活动,因为该公司此前在欧洲、印度和中国的投资受到了不少关注。

“技术创新正在改变世界,”Naspers首席执行官Bob van Dijk表示。“Naspers Foundry旨在鼓励和支持南非企业家创办企业,确保南非从这项技术创新中获益。”

在指定用于Foundry的1亿美元之后,Naspers将在未来三年投资约2亿美元“发展其现有的科技企业,包括OLX、Takealot和Mr D Food先生。”

此次宣布的投资规模对非洲来说相当大。根据Crunchbase的数据,与Safaricom的Spark Venture Fund、Interswitch的E-Growth Fund和Standard Bank对Founders Factory数百万美元的承诺相比,1亿美元的Naspers Foundry承诺使任何已知的非洲企业风险活动相形见绌大约95倍。

Naspers是世界上最大的公司之一——市值1080亿美元,排名第85位,仅次于耐克——也是世界上最大的科技投资者之一。

除了运营著名的互联网、视频和娱乐平台,该公司还在欧洲、印度、亚洲和南美进行了大量投资。2018年,Naspers向德国的Delivery Hero投资了7.75亿美元,向巴西电子商务公司Movile投资了1.24亿美元,并向印度外卖网站Swiggy增加了1亿美元的投资。

Naspers也是中国科技集团腾讯的早期投资者,在2001年投资3200万美元后,于今年出售了100亿美元的股票。

这家南非媒体集团在非洲的投资则较少,也不太成功,当然这主要是与Naspers强劲的全球活动形成的对比。

尼日利亚电子商务初创公司Konga是Naspers早期非洲投资公司之一,在今年早些时候的一次不良收购中被出售。

该公司最近向其对南非电子商务网站Takealot的投资承诺增加了约7000万美元。或许,该公司正在将一些焦点转移回非洲。Naspers今年9月在非洲进行了最大规模之一的收购,以9400万美元收购了南非的Webuycars。

对南非科技生态系统的3亿美元承诺标志着Naspers对其本土市场的坚定承诺。Naspers尚未对它是否或何时能够将这一承诺扩展到南非之外置评。

如果Naspers的确增加了对更大范围非洲的创企和生态系统的资助——考虑到与其他国家相比的规模——那将是这块大陆科技行业的一个重大发展。

Naspers announced a $100 million Naspers  Foundry fund to support South African tech startups. This is part of a $300 million (1.4 billion Rand) commitment by the South African media and investment company to support South Africa’s tech sector overall. Naspers Foundry will launch in 2019.

The initiatives lend more weight to Naspers’ venture activities in Africa as the company has received greater attention for investments off the continent (namely Europe, India and China).

“Naspers Foundry will help talented and ambitious South African technology entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses,” said a company release.

“Technology innovation is transforming the world,” said Naspers chief executive Bob van Dijk. “The Naspers Foundry aims to both encourage and back South African entrepreneurs to create businesses which ensure South Africa benefits from this technology innovation.”

After the $100 million earmarked for the Foundry, Naspers will invest ≈ $200 million over the next three years to “the development of its existing technology businesses, including OLX,  Takealot, and Mr D Food…” according to a release.

In context, the scale of this announcement is fairly massive for Africa. According to Crunchbase data recently summarized in this TechCrunch feature, the $100 million Naspers Foundry commitment dwarfs any known African corporate venture activity by roughly 95x, when compared to Safaricom’s Spark Venture Fund, Interswitch’s E-Growth Fund, and Standard Bank’s several million dollar commitment to Founders Factory.

Naspers is one of the largest companies in the world—85th by its $108 billion market cap, just after Nike—and one of the world’s largest tech investors.

Aside from operating notable internet, video, and entertainment platforms, the company has made significant investments in Europe, India, Asia, and South America. In 2018 Naspers invested $775 million in Germany’s Delivery Hero, $124 million in Brazilian e-commerce company Movile, and added $100 million to its funding to Indian food delivery site Swiggy.

Naspers was also an early investor in Chinese tech group Tencent, selling $10 billion in shares this year after a $32 million investment in 2001.

The South African media group has invested less in (and been less successful) in Africa, though that comparison comes largely by contrast to Naspers’ robust global activities.

One of Naspers early Africa investments, Nigerian e-commerce startup Konga, was sold in a distressed acquisition earlier this year.

The company recently added around $70 million to its commitment to South African e-commerce site Takealot. And in perhaps a preview the company was shifting some focus back to Africa, Naspers made one of the largest acquisitions in Africa this September, buying South Africa’s Webuycars for $94 million.

The $300 million commitment to South Africa’s tech ecosystem signals a strong commitment by Naspers to its home market. Naspers wasn’t ready to comment on if or when it could extend this commitment outside of South Africa (TechCrunch did inquire).

If Naspers does increase its startup and ecosystem funding to wider Africa— given its size compared to others—that would be a primo development for the continent’s tech sector.

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