Press Release – The Launch of Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa

Hasso Plattner launches venture capital fund to give SA innovators access to world markets
15 Feb 2008
A new R350-million venture capital fund, called Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa, has been launched to give innovators in South Africa a leg up into the global technology arena.

The fund was officially launched in Cape Town yesterday (Friday 15 February) by Professor Hasso Plattner, the co-founder, chairman and chief software advisor for global ERP software giant SAP, which is used by most of the larger corporations in SA and the rest of the world. He is also well known in SA as the owner of Fancourt in George and a past winner of the Cape to Rio yacht race.

The fund which is co-funded by German MAN Ferrostaal, a global provider of industrial services, is a major boost to SA’s entrepreneurial climate and a vote of confidence in SA’s ability to produce innovation of international standard.

It comes in the wake of Prof Plattner’s three year old venture capital company, Hasso Plattner Ventures in Europe, headed by Eran Davidson, which has already established a track record as the most active early stage VC investor in Germany. The fund has made its first twelve investments and first developments were sufficiently encouraging to approve the set up of a second fund.

Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa aims to invest in and manage a portfolio of investments that have a unique innovative offering either based on the business model, product offering or underlying technology. Technology Investments will not be limited to but in majority have an emphasis on telecommunications, mobile applications, media and software as well as clean technology investments such as renewable energy, energy-saving concepts and similar business segments in early stages of their development with the focus of their activities predominantly in South Africa and other emerging markets.

The fund in South Africa will be headed by Andrea Böhmert who for the past three years’ has helped prepare early stage technology companies for external investments.

She says Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa aims to identify companies that have the potential to successfully succeed on an international level and will provide access to an international network of leading companies, venture capital firms and institutions in the technology arena.

“In the past SA technology companies have found it almost impossible to get funding from international groups outside of South Africa. And all start up businesses know, its extremely important not only to get investment funding but also assistance in accessing global markets.

“Hasso PlattnerVentures Africa has an edge over other venture capital funders as it gives our portfolio companies access to our investors’ commercial and political networks in all significant markets around the world.

“Prof Plattner and MAN Ferrostaal will be able to ‘open doors’ for them that would never be accessible otherwise across the IT industry as well as in industrial solutions – from heavy engineering to automotive to green technology – through MAN Ferrostaal which is key player in the field of alternative energy.”

Andrea Böhmert says the support will be two-fold – the portfolio companies will get local management support through HP Ventures Africa which will have its office based at TechnoPark in Stellenbosch and a constant exchange of information with its European partner Hasso Plattner Ventures Europe which could also follow up funding across Europe through the German fund.

In addition the funds have close relationships with the International Venture Capital industry and will provide unparalleled support in each continent for accelerating international exposure and growth for its portfolio companies.

She says Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa (HP-Ventures Africa) has strict investment requirements and will favour the best managed early stage South African companies that embrace, create and utilize leading global technology trends.
“It is our goal to build world-class international companies which have the potential to be able to actively compete on the international market.