Helping start-ups to take off, a group of successful South African entrepreneurs, today launched something the country has never seen before: a Venture Capital (VC) company that doesn’t just invest in early stage start-ups, but personally nurtures them through each phase of their business growth cycle, with the aim of scaling them in readiness for entry to international markets.
Called FUTURENEERS™, this pioneering company 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, FUTURENEERS™ (and 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 unquestionably impressive track records across the globe as both entrepreneurs and investors, the team behind FUTURENEERS™ believe the death 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 (Jo) 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.
And, because it is all about the people who make the businesses fly, backing the founding team is a powerhouse advisory board of ‘FUTURENEERS™.’ Part of that carefully selected and patriotic group keen to plough expertise back into South Africa’s start-up landscape is Los Angeles-based Brent Cohen.
Brent’s extensive 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 – where they achieved the distinction of attaining #1 market share worldwide – Brent has an equally impressive record in Venture Capital, also having optimised and exited a Softbank Capital and Texas Pacific Group portfolio company with over $1b. in proceeds.
Sharing Cohen’s vision and support for the company’s endeavours, and with similarly imposing track records, start-ups will have the benefit from guidance of local advisors such as the likes of Gustav Praekelt of the Praekelt Foundation, Martin Venter of Val de Vie and Derek White of the Clearwater Group, to name but a few.
FUTURENEERS™ will be addressing the problems that exist in the current South African VC ecosystem and has developed some unique characteristics to help them do so, which are exciting investors and start-ups alike:
Strategic partnerships in the US, UK, India, China, Australia and Israel, have facilitated the formation of a unique, multi-channel conduit for information, services and capital, aptly named the ‘Global Bridge’.
Accesses to professional services
Start-ups entering the FUTURENEERS™ programme gain unrivalled access to world-class service providers through a one-stop-shop environment.
Holistic Analysis Matrix
Before investments are reviewed and approved by the Investment Committee, they are rigorously screened and vetted against very stringent criteria.
Each member of the Management Team and Advisory Board have either started businesses, worked for large corporations, developed them, and then either exited, and/or attracted major investment capital or continued to be market leaders in their field.
Tax Benefit for investors
A Venture Capital Company, in terms of Section 12J of the Income Tax Act, that will enable investors to deduct the full amount of their investment from their income in the tax year in which the investment is made.
With active, hands-on involvement in the day-to-day business of the selected start-ups, FUTURENEERS™ will groom and nurture these start-ups through acceleration and product refinement, preparing them to scale globally.
By directly addressing the reasons why start-ups fail, FUTURENEERS™ is significantly reducing the risk profile of these start-ups, and enabling solid business success, almost from the outset.
Booysen summed it up by saying: “The start-up space, and especially the technology sector, has always been an exciting place to be. But today, more than ever – provided the risks are mitigated – it offers incredible returns. For us, the objective is simple: finding, nurturing and guiding the next Roelof Botha or Elon Musk, then introducing them to our influencer and funding networks around the world.
“With our ‘start-up machine’, international footprint and strategy, South African entrepreneurs and investors can experience what we believe is ‘real VC’ for the first time – financial support for early start-ups, professional services, and guaranteed access to a global ecosystem, along with all of the opportunities that this provides.”