SA tech start-ups raise R240m in Dubai

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The pay-TV operator recently followed in the footsteps of its former parent company, Naspers, by launching into venture capital, having selected six local start-up businesses that it hoped to help garner funding in the Middle East, as part of the country’s push to drive interest in SA’s economy at Expo 2020 Dubai.

For start-ups, international investment is important because local pools of capital are still small compared with the multimillion cheques from overseas. Overseas investors can help local companies access and scale markets beyond SA’s borders.

Despite having the most advanced economy on the African continent, SA still trails countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Ghana when it comes to attracting capital for technology start-ups. In 2021, $5bn was put into such businesses on the continent with SA garnering $800m of the total, just 16%.

As the Expo closed this week, the DStv operator said companies on its accelerator programme secured altogether $16m. MultiChoice invested $3.1m and external investors generated $12.9m.

“These six start-ups really made the most of this opportunity,” MultiChoice group chair Imtiaz Patel said at a media briefing in Dubai. “They generated investment interest of more than $16m, which is R240m from investors, more than half of which is already committed.”

The former Supersport CEO said “we want to turn our funding into shares. We really believe there’s an opportunity here for us as MultiChoice to expand our business beyond just pay television.”

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