Finfind is an online platform that connects small & medium enterprises (SME’s) with debt and equity funders as well as accountants and business advisors. The website has tools for SME’s to improve financial literacy, a financial readiness test that allows them to see if they are ready to apply for finance, and then links them to financial institutions with the most appropriate lending products, or accountants and business advisors. Finfind has a fast-growing database of SME’s which is highly sought-after by companies doing business in this market segment.
A significant part of the business model for Finfind is lead generation and loan origination for funders of SME finance. Our stakeholders include Business Leadership South Africa, the Banking Association of South Africa, USAID and the Department of Small Business Development through its finance subsidiary, SEFA (Small Enterprise Finance Agency). A National Finfind Steering Committee has been established and represented by senior members of each of our Stakeholders. This committee is chaired by the Chief Director at the Department of Small Business Development. After exposure at the World Economic Forum held in Durban in May 2017, where Darlene Menzies (the founder and CEO) won the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Five Top Female Tech Entrepreneurs in Africa, numerous opportunities for international expansion have started opening up.
Spazapp is a stock ordering mobile app for spaza shops, which links informal traders with the large brands that want to engage with them (through advertising and merchandising). Spazapp partners with these larger brands and uses their existing distribution networks to deliver the orders.
Incorporated into the Spazapp platform is an electronic wallet for spaza shop owners which allows them access to an entire range of banking facilities otherwise not afforded to the bottom end of the market. Spazapp, together with ABSA, are developing proprietary Spaza-to-Spaza and Spaza-to-ATM cash transfers.
Spazapp has launched SpazaSparks, a self-employment program developed for youth. Sparks, once trained, use the app for mobile trading and supporting spaza store owners. Spazapp is one of the lead partners in the Tshepo 1Million project, led by the Gauteng Provinicial Government, with the aim of creating employment for one million youth.
SMEasy is an online, award winning, business management and accounting system specifically designed for entrepreneurs. One of the awards it won included the World Summit Awards for Best Business and e-Commerce Product in 2013. SMEasy addresses some of the key causes of small business failure by helping entrepreneurs in a simple and uncomplicated way to keep proper accounting records. It reminds entrepreneurs of their upcoming SARS payments, and how much and by when they owe their creditors or should expect money from their debtors, without having to understand the accounting mechanics behind it.
Although the accounting software package space is relatively crowded, SMEasy is unique in its simplicity and target market. We identified a number of cross-sell opportunities between Finfind and SMEasy, and took a strategic view to assist the founding team recapitalise and buyout some of the early investors. This investment, plus Finfind, allows us the opportunity to leverage off an expanding SME ecosystem. One such opportunity through Finfind includes a partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Government to co-develop and deploy a shared services centre for identified SME’s as part of the Tshepo 1Million project. This shared services centre will assist SME’s readying themselves for access to finance.
Home Cloud Solutions (Home Cloud) is the fastest growing LTE data service provider in South Africa. It is an authorized service provider to Telkom and currently on-sells Telkom products and services. Home Cloud has built up experience and a good reputation in this highly competitive space and is the largest dealer in the Telkom stable. Data and the emergence of it as a commodity for the consumer is one of the reasons behind this catapultic growth. Home Cloud is well positioned to niche itself as a specialist data service provider in this industry.
Our investment has enabled Home Cloud to move up the value chain. Not content to stay in the low-margin volume game of being a dealer, Home Cloud has started to own its own customer book (which is driving strong revenue growth), and started sourcing some of its own hardware (which is improving margins). These initiatives required capital investment, and will structurally improve the business’s quality of earnings. Innovation remains at the epicenter of this business, and other initiatives to move up the value chain or increase current margins are already being implemented or discussed with external service providers.
Colorgen is a technology support partner to the printing and packaging industry. Their proprietary range of UV flexo inks is complimented by a range of speciality coatings and adhesives from Ashland & Michelman, for whom they have exclusive distribution rights in South Africa. Michelman is one of the global leaders in water-based coatings, while Ashland is a global multinational business listed on the NYSE and a Fortune 500 Company. Colorgen is uniquely positioned to offer European UV Flexographic Ink technology and other bespoke products for the Southern Africa market.