Helping start-ups to take off, a group of successful South African entrepreneurs has launched a venture capital (VC) company that doesn’t just invest in early stage start-ups, but nurtures them through each phase of their business growth cycle, with the aim of scaling them in readiness for entry to international markets.
Futureneers will bring select start-ups together with capital and the necessary management and professional support services, to get them to where they need to go. In addition to this, the chosen start-ups, will be supported by mentors who will not only guide them, but also connect them to opportunities locally as well as abroad.
In so doing, the company will be filling the current gap that exists after early angel investors exit, to where start-ups require an additional injection of capital and experience, to achieve recurring revenue generation. It is also capitalising on the rise of emerging-market technologies, usually born out of necessity, that are finding resonance in more established markets.
Having built an impressive track recordsacross the globe as both entrepreneurs and investors, the team behind Futureneers believes the dearth of real deal-flow in SA can be attributed primarily to perceptions of risk. Since South African investors often lack the time, knowledge and resources to screen, manage and grow promising start-ups, they tend to invest in more mature, post-revenue businesses.
Heading the group is Johannes Booysen, best known as founder of Yonder Media (acquired by WPP’s Group M in 2015), the B-One Group (currently owned by Steinhoff Group) and Hot Dog Café Group. He’s joined by the likes of ex Price Waterhouse Coopers Partner Jaco Gerber, and Cipla Nutrition co-founder Deon Lewis.
Part of a carefully selected and patriotic advisory group is Los Angeles-based Brent Cohen.
Cohen’s experience ranges from Internet start-ups to high-growth companies, turnarounds, raising capital and IPOs, as well as mergers and acquisitions in the global technology sector. Perhaps best known for his 12 years at the helm of Packard Bell, Cohen has also optimised and exited a Softbank Capital and Texas Pacific Group portfolio company with over $1-billion in proceeds.
Sharing Cohen’s vision and support for the company’s endeavours, are local advisors such as the Gustav Praekelt of the Praekelt Foundation, Martin Venter of Val de Vie and Derek White of the Clearwater Group, to name a few.