File picture: Philimon Bulawayo
JOHANNESBURG - 4Sight is the first pure technology play to list on the JSE in many years, probably going back to the dotcom frenzy.

The company plans to list on the 19th of October.

They specialise in data and are the brainchild of industrial engineer Professor Antonie van Rensburg. Being both computer whiz and entrepreneur, he identified the shortcomings and fragmented state of the computer data industry, not only in South Africa, but all over the world.

For years he contemplated putting similar companies together and creating synergies between related businesses in this sector. He connected with the right people and then started the process with the acquisition of Digitata, a Mauritius-based company specialising in data in the telecommunications area.

A few more acquisitions followed, and now Antonie is bringing his business to the JSE to raise funds for more purchases. In essence, this is a data investment company, connecting the right people where there is the possibility of making one plus one equal three. All these acquisitions function independently, managed by the original owners and intellectuals.

Data analytics

Currently, there is a massive explosion in the technology arena called data analytics. This is part of our everyday lives, a good example is face recognition, used by Facebook, where a face is immediately recognised because of previous tags to this person. Another example is dynamic tariffing used by Uber where demand determines the price charged for rides.

The digitisation of our lives is taking place, and a vast amount of data is generated every moment. In future machines will talk to each other to optimise our businesses and our lives. 4Sight has the capabilities to analyse this data for their clients, and then develop algorithms to streamline their clients’ business. Pure data has no use if you cannot apply the results meaningfully.

An excellent example of Antonie’s skills are the acquisitions they are currently working on.

One company writes algorithms for optimising mining operations, the other manufactures sensors and components for mechanisation, and the next one is a weather sensor company predicting the weather.

The bigger plan is to optimise profitability for mining companies and mechanising operations to function optimally regarding health and safety, profitability and productivity.

The essence is finding the perfect operational process where machines speak to each other to create a perfect storm. These algorithms are also capable of predicting component failure and maintenance work can be anticipated and planned for ahead of time.

Algorithms can deal with complex situations that are humanly impossible. These algorithms are complicated to write, and clients do not trust anyone to write them. The barriers to entry are therefore very high.

Digitata

The cellphone companies create a massive amount of data. They know what you do and how you spend your time every second of the day. With this voice and data consumption information Digitata can do dynamic pricing, optimising their revenue and network.

They can quickly reach any customer and can create engaging games to cleverly gather more information from consumers (an example is the Mastercard game that is currently available) and offer relevant offers to customers.

Digitata has data scientists and engineers based all over the world.

They apply intelligent algorithms in different sectors of the economy in a profitable way.

Their vision is to help people make better decisions in a digital economy where vast volumes of data are available. They can help their clients disrupt a market, increase productivity and design new products.

4Sight is giving South Africans the opportunity to be part of the 4th industrial revolution and a possible success story. Artificial intelligence, algorithms and blockchain can now be part of your investment portfolio. They are busy with a few acquisitions and will inform the market of the terms and profit warranties as they go along.

Investors can apply through their stockbrokers for shares in a bookbuild with a price range of 180c to 220c, the offer closes on Thursday.

They intend to raise in the region of R300 million, and the predicted market capitalisation of this company will be close to R1 billion, considered quite small (similar size to construction group, Group 5). While 97% of all their invoicing currently takes place in dollars, 3%  are in rand.

4Sight is a technology company offering real products and services in 15 countries, and they generate profits.

Take note that 4Sight has no track record and a lot depends on the abilities of Antonie van Rensburg.

He believes that he has uncovered a niche space in technology where smaller companies (not in the sight of the international giants) are keen to be part of a more prominent group. Keep in mind that small companies always present more risk, even more so if it is brand new.

Amelia Morgenrood is PSG Wealth regional director.

- BUSINESS REPORT