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Naspers’ Diversified Portfolio Pays Off

Africa’s biggest company by market cap, has taken a wide-ranging approach to its international investments, from food delivery in Germany and Brazil, to edtech in India. In recent years, its growth in Africa has had a more singular focus: backing South African tech startups with global potential. Naspers began as a local newspaper company 100 years ago in South Africa. In 2018, it pledged $314 million to fund and grow South African tech businesses, dedicating a $92 million slice to a startup fund called Naspers Foundry. That pot made the Foundry one of the continent’s biggest investment vehicles. With a focus on Series A and B startups with the potential to develop the country’s tech network, the Foundry has invested in e-learning, food supply chains, domestic services, and agritech since its launch. It has invested R30 million in SweepSouth, an online home and business cleaning services platform that connects clients with reliable cleaners. It also invested a R100m in Aerobotics, an agritech company that provides tree crop health and yields intelligence data to the agricultural industry, using drone and satellite-enabled AI technology. The company has made a further investment of R45m in The Student Hub, an online learning platform that increases access to vocational education to large numbers of students while reducing the cost of delivery of education and training.