AYO launches R200m fund for start-ups
The fund is aimed at second-round funding opportunities for companies that have a proof of concept and that are ready to scale.
The announcement was made at the Fast Company SA Most Innovative Companies Awards evening by AYO chairperson advocate Wallace Mgoqi and the AYO Technology and Innovation Fund’s head of talent Snow Mokgalabone, who also oversees the AYO Academy.
Mgoqi and Mokgalabone confirmed that the R200m would be an annual amount and that it would be allocated to qualifying companies, organisations and entrepreneurs to scale their businesses.
They said R100m would be allocated to local companies, of which 50percent would be geared to specifically supporting black-owned start-ups, and R100m would then be apportioned to grow companies founded and operated in the rest of Africa.
Addressing the award-winners, nominees and invited guests at the awards, Mokgalabone said: “I think it is fair to say that technology and innovation are critical to the advancement of not just our society here in South Africa, but everywhere.
"To effect real change, though, we are going to need more bright minds and more companies such as yourselves, who can work together to fix our societal, economic and environmental issues.”
Mgoqi said there were thousands of brilliant business ideas out there, but the sad reality was that only a few made it to the “big time”.
“The necessary funds to take these ideas from bud to blossom, and then fruit, can often be in short supply. This is why AYO has committed to launching an annual fund aimed at supporting as many bright ideas and innovations as possible. With this, AYO can help turn ideas into action,” he said.
AYO will invest in organisations that are creating new technologies or using existing ones in novel ways to solve pressing business and everyday needs. There will be strict criteria and appropriate due diligence measures.
AYO said it realised that the ongoing success of investee companies would depend not just on an injection of money but also professional assistance and support.
“AYO will, therefore, use its stable of companies to offer beneficiaries a variety of opportunities for self and business acceleration, through access to professionals, services and marketplaces within the group. Investee companies will also be in a position to offer their own skills and support to companies within the greater AYO group,” said the tech firm.
AYO will accept applications via its website, from today.