On a mission to build Africa's largest venture capital fund
JOHANNESBURG - A young chartered account, who is passionate about scaling small businesses, says he is on a mission to build Africa’s largest venture capital fund.
And he is determined to address what he describes as an “economic problem” in the country where “all the wealth sits in one place”.
Boitumelo Mofikoe, 29, is co-founder and managing director of MyGrowthFund, a funding, incubation and boutique venture capital firm, which he runs with renowned venture capitalist Vusi Thembekwayo, in Africa’s richest square mile of Sandton in Johannesburg.
MyGrowthFund’s stated mission is to “find and nurture high-growth entrepreneurs through funding, incubation and enterprise development”.
Mofikoe, who spent four years at Nedbank Capital as an investment banker in private equity, structured debt origination, corporate banking and wealth management, says they are busy building a dominating continental force with MyGrowthFund.
“For us, that’s the goal and vision. We are busy in talks with the Kenyan government, Zimbabwe, Malawi, we are looking to set up offices in those areas, we are already in expansion mode, a lot is coming. Talks are underway,” says Mofikoe, who holds a bachelor of accounting science honours degree from Wits University.
Mofikoe, who’s also worked at Macquarie, Australia’s largest investment bank, as an equity analyst in their Sandton office for two years, says: “In South Africa, we’ve made some quick wins, we’ve realised the model works. There’s still a lot of growth for improvement.”
He then steers the frank conversation to the contentious transformation issue in the private sector, saying: “A lot of transformation targets have not been met by big corporates, that’s pretty clear for everyone to see. Our mission right now in South Africa is to transform the corporate space and even the playing field. Corporates must partner with us in order to develop entrepreneurs, we can’t do it alone.”
The journey has not been a bed of roses for the Mofikoe-Thembekwayo team, he says. “It’s been tough, it hasn’t been easy. I remember that when we started we didn’t get funding from anywhere. We started with our own money. What you’re seeing now is something that culminated from our own savings, we had to make sure we invest in the business with everything we had.”
Then investments started coming their way as corporates started paying attention to what the pair were doing in building “quality businesses”.
He says the first company they took up was Side Productions. “They are the first black manufacturer of speakers in South Africa. When we took them they were turning about R2 million per annum. But last year they turned over R45m. You can imagine the rate of growth that we’ve put into that business,” says Mofikoe.
Another company he is proud to have helped turn its fortunes around is SA Florist.
“They are NetFlorist’s biggest competitor. We’ve build that business from scratch, literally! We took this business during 2014/2015 from making R300,000 in sales per annum, they’ve now realised a turnover of just under R10m per annum.”
Mofikoe says he is very passionate about capacitating small businesses into becoming listed companies, explaining: “When I was in corporate, I was building big businesses. I have worked on building private companies and taking them from private to listing. I worked on strategies for growth, I worked on how you can actually scale businesses. That was part of my job description. I have a background in building small businesses and advising on strategies for growth. I decided, let me transfer the skills and take a small business from small to eventually listing.”
Mofikoe says he’s interested on the impact President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership would have on the economy.
“I’m excited about what he said during the State of the Nation Address(Sona), especially on developing incubation hubs, that’s exciting. I’ve got utmost respect for Ramaphosa. Signs are there that he wants to do the right thing,” he says.
During the Sona, Ramaphosa said the growth of the economy would be sustained by small businesses; that they were finalising a small business and innovation fund targeted at start-ups; and would reduce the regulatory barriers for small businesses.
Interestingly, Mofikoe, who attended the Safa/Transnet Football School of Excellence in Kempton Park, says his background has always been in sports, and that in his matric year in 2006 he got a scholarship to study at Wits University. “I had an opportunity to play football for the Wits Team. I played for Wits, I think in my third year it became difficult to balance football and studies. I was more forced by my family to take the academic route as it’s considered a safe option.”
- BUSINESS REPORT