(photo thanks DFarber)
I have received this Business Week article from a friend of mine, thanks Mike. Excellent news.
On Feb. 15, Hasso Plattner, the billionaire co-founder and former CEO of German software giant SAP (SAP) announced in Cape Town, South Africa, that he is starting a new $42.3 million pan-African venture capital fund with the help of Germany’s MAN Ferrostaal, a global provider of industrial services and key player in alternative energy. Plattner is investing $36.48 million of his own money in the fund, while the remainder comes from MAN.
Plattner has recruited an impressive team of managers. Among them: Malengane Machel—son of the late Mozambique President Samora Machel and Graca Machel-Mandela, who is now married to South African icon Nelson Mandela—will be a venture partner. In addition to providing capital, the new fund should help open doors for African companies throughout the tech industry and in such industrial sectors as heavy engineering, automotive, and green technology.
I am sick and tired of Africa being written off as a basket charity case, so it fabulous to see a significant venture fund targeting African start up innovation.
Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa will focus on pre-profit innovative companies, Böhmert says. “This is a First World country when it comes to research and development capabilities, but at the same time a developing country, so it is perfectly positioned to develop solutions for the Third World.”
Indeed, poor inhabitants of South Africa’s townships are clamoring for services such as mobile banking so that they can wire money to relatives and friends or prepay for utilities such as water or electricity. “We are seeing some companies already that will be a good fit for the new fund,” Davidson says. “There will be a big emphasis on social entrepreneurship. We can make the world a better place and make money at the same time.”
Social entrepreneurship, goodness indeed.