South African Venture Capital: Why Local is Lekker

For us as a purely South African venture capital firm, understanding of the the cultural connotations of “lekker” becomes pivotal. It signifies more than just success in business; it embodies the rich diversity, resilience, and innovation that characterize the entrepreneurial spirit of this nation. This article aims to explore the interplay between venture capital and the cultural fabric of South Africa, asserting why local investments are not only financially rewarding but also contribute to the broader socio-economic development of the nation.

For South African entrepreneurs, the term “lekker” holds a special place, reflecting a cultural ethos that goes beyond mere goodness or excellence. Derived from the Afrikaans language, “lekker” is a colloquial expression that encompasses a sense of enjoyment, satisfaction, and a unique local flavor. This term embodies the spirit of South Africa, capturing the essence of what makes things not just good, but distinctly and authentically South African.

South Africa has emerged as a dynamic hub for entrepreneurial ventures, fueled by a growing economy and a burgeoning ecosystem of innovation. The venture capital landscape in the country has evolved significantly over the years, reflecting a maturing market that attracts both local and international investors.

This article aims to provide an  overview of the key components shaping the South African venture capital scene. From the emergence of tech-driven startups to the role of government initiatives in fostering innovation, we will examine the factors contributing to the growth of venture capital in South Africa. Additionally, we will explore the challenges and opportunities that investors encounter in this unique landscape, shedding light on the nuances that make the South African venture capital ecosystem both compelling and distinctive. As we navigate through the intricacies of funding, entrepreneurship, and cultural context, it becomes evident that South African venture capital is more than just an investment—it’s a testament to the vibrancy and “lekker” spirit of the nation.

The venture capital (VC) industry in South Africa has grown significantly in recent years. In 2020, VC investments in South Africa reached R14.8 billion, up from R8.6 billion in 2019. This growth was driven by a number of factors, including the increased availability of capital, the growing number of startups, and the improving economic climate.

In 2021, VC investments in South Africa continued to grow, reaching R18.3 billion. This was due in part to the continued strong performance of the economy and the increased interest of international VC firms in South African startups.

In 2022, VC investments in South Africa reached R23.9 billion, up from R18.3 billion in 2021. This was the highest level of VC investment in the country ever recorded. The growth was driven by a number of factors, including the increasing maturity of the VC industry, the growing number of successful exits, and the increasing availability of capital from both local and international investors.

So far in 2023

In the first half of 2023, VC investments in South Africa reached R13.4 billion. This is down from R14.8 billion in the first half of 2022. This decline is due in part to the global economic downturn and the increased risk aversion of VC investors.

Despite the decline in investment, there have still been some notable deals in South Africa in the first half of 2023. These include the following:

  • $44 million investment in fintech company Yoco.

  • $32 million investment in logistics company CargoX.

  • $15 million investment in mobility company Moovel.

These deals suggest that there is still strong interest in investing in South African startups. However, investors are likely to be more selective in their investments and will be looking for companies with strong growth potential and a clear path to profitability.

The chart below with information from the Association for Private Equity and Venture Capital in Africa or AVCA and SAVCA provides an overview of South African Venture Capital Investment over recent years.

South African Venture Capital statistics

South African Venture Capital

 – The Cultural Context

A. Exploring the “Local is Lekker” Mindset in South Africa

The “local is lekker” mindset is deeply ingrained in the cultural identity of South Africa, encapsulating a profound pride in homegrown products, businesses, and initiatives. This ethos extends beyond mere patriotism, embodying a celebration of the diverse heritage and innovative spirit that characterizes the nation. As South Africans use the term “lekker” to express a sense of enjoyment, satisfaction, and authenticity, it becomes a powerful lens through which to understand the unique relationship between culture and business.

In entrepreneurship, this mindset fosters a supportive environment for local businesses, encouraging consumers and investors alike to prioritize and celebrate homegrown ventures. From culinary experiences to innovative technologies, the “local is lekker” philosophy permeates various aspects of South African life. Entrepreneurs often leverage this cultural affinity to create businesses that resonate with the values and tastes of the local population, establishing a strong foundation for success.

B. How this Cultural Ethos Intersects with the Venture Capital Scene

The intersection of the “local is lekker” mindset with the venture capital scene in South Africa has profound implications for investment strategies and the overall economic landscape. Investors are increasingly recognizing the value of supporting and amplifying local initiatives, not only for financial returns but also as a means of contributing to the socio-economic development of the nation.

  1. Investing in Cultural Narratives: Venture capitalists are keenly aware of the significance of cultural narratives in shaping consumer preferences. Businesses that align with the “local is lekker” ethos often resonate more deeply with the target audience, creating a sense of authenticity that can be a powerful driver of success. Investors, therefore, seek opportunities that not only demonstrate financial potential but also contribute to the cultural tapestry of South Africa.

  2. Building Sustainable Ecosystems: The cultural context plays a pivotal role in shaping the sustainability of businesses. Investors understand that ventures deeply rooted in the local ethos are better positioned to weather economic fluctuations and changes in consumer behavior. This perspective encourages the creation of a more resilient and interconnected business ecosystem, fostering long-term growth and stability.

  3. Social Impact and Inclusivity: The “local is lekker” mindset emphasizes inclusivity and community engagement. Venture capitalists increasingly prioritize investments that not only generate financial returns but also have a positive impact on local communities. This approach aligns with the broader goals of sustainable development and social responsibility, creating a venture capital landscape that goes beyond profit margins to encompass a holistic vision for a thriving South Africa.

The cultural context of “local is lekker” shapes the South African venture capital scene in profound ways. Investors, entrepreneurs, and consumers collectively contribute to a dynamic ecosystem where cultural pride and business success are intertwined. As we navigate the intricate dance between culture and capital, it becomes evident that fostering a thriving venture capital landscape in South Africa requires an understanding and appreciation of the nation’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

Challenges and Solutions

A.Challenges Faced by South African Startups Seeking Local Venture Capital

Despite the growing momentum in the South African venture capital landscape, startups face a myriad of challenges when seeking local investment. Understanding and addressing these hurdles is crucial for the continued development of a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.

  1. Limited Funding Options: Many South African startups find themselves constrained by limited local funding options. Traditional financing avenues may not fully grasp the potential of innovative ventures, leading to missed opportunities for growth. This challenge hampers the ability of startups to scale and compete on a global stage.

  2. Risk Aversion: The risk-averse nature of some local investors poses a significant obstacle for startups in high-risk, high-reward industries. Venture capital, by its nature, involves risk, but risk aversion can stifle innovation. This cautious approach may lead to missed opportunities for groundbreaking startups with transformative potential.

  3. Access to Networks and Resources: Building robust networks and accessing vital resources is a persistent challenge for South African startups. Limited access to mentorship, industry connections, and specialized expertise can hinder the growth and development of these ventures.

B. Proposing Solutions and Innovations to Address These Challenges

  1. Diversifying Funding Sources: Encouraging diversification of funding sources is essential to address the challenge of limited financial options. Initiatives that promote collaboration between traditional financial institutions, government funding agencies, and venture capital firms can create a more comprehensive support system for startups. Moreover, fostering relationships with international investors can inject additional capital into the ecosystem.

  2. Educating and Engaging Investors: Addressing risk aversion requires a concerted effort to educate investors about the dynamic nature of venture capital and the potential rewards associated with strategic risk-taking. Creating platforms for dialogue between entrepreneurs and investors, such as industry forums and pitch events, can foster a better understanding of each other’s perspectives and risk tolerance.

  3. Establishing Incubators and Accelerators: To overcome the challenge of limited resources, establishing and expanding startup incubators and accelerators can provide crucial support. These programs offer mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities, nurturing the growth of startups and preparing them for successful fundraising rounds. Collaborations with established businesses can further enhance these programs.

  4. Government Incentives and Policies: Governments can play a pivotal role in addressing challenges faced by startups. Implementing policies that incentivize venture capital investment, such as tax breaks or grants, can attract more investors to the ecosystem. Moreover, streamlined regulatory processes can reduce barriers, making it easier for startups to navigate the complexities of fundraising.

  5. Technology and Innovation Hubs: Creating technology and innovation hubs can serve as focal points for collaboration, resource-sharing, and skill development. These hubs can bring together startups, investors, and industry experts, fostering a vibrant ecosystem that transcends geographical constraints. This approach can help startups access a broader range of resources and support.

Addressing the challenges faced by South African startups seeking local venture capital requires a multi-faceted approach involving collaboration among stakeholders, education, and the implementation of supportive policies. By fostering an environment that encourages risk-taking, diversifies funding sources, and provides essential resources, South Africa can pave the way for a thriving and resilient venture capital ecosystem.

Economic Impact

A. Examining the Broader Economic Impact of Local Venture Capital Investments

Local venture capital investments in South Africa have far-reaching economic implications that extend beyond individual businesses. These investments play a crucial role in shaping the overall economic landscape, driving innovation, creating jobs, and contributing to sustained GDP growth.

  1. Stimulating Innovation and Technological Advancement: Local venture capital injections serve as catalysts for innovation and technological advancement. Startups, fueled by financial support, are empowered to explore novel ideas, develop cutting-edge technologies, and disrupt traditional industries. This innovative spirit not only enhances the competitiveness of individual companies but also contributes to South Africa’s position in the global technology and business landscape.

  2. Job Creation and Skills Development: Perhaps one of the most significant contributions of local venture capital is the creation of employment opportunities. As startups grow and scale, they require a skilled workforce, leading to job creation across various sectors. The dynamic nature of these ventures often fosters an environment of continuous learning, contributing to skills development and increasing the overall employability of the workforce.

  3. Economic Diversification: Local venture capital investments contribute to economic diversification by supporting a wide array of industries. While traditional sectors remain vital, the infusion of capital into innovative startups ensures a more diversified economic portfolio. This diversification enhances resilience, reducing the reliance on specific sectors and creating a more balanced and robust economy.

B. Job Creation, Innovation, and Contribution to GDP Growth

  1. Job Creation: Local venture capital investments have a direct and tangible impact on job creation. As startups expand and develop, they require a skilled workforce across various functions, including research and development, marketing, sales, and operations. The ripple effect of job creation extends beyond the startups themselves, positively influencing associated industries and contributing to overall employment levels.

  2. Innovation and Technology Transfer: Venture capital-backed startups are often at the forefront of technological innovation. The infusion of capital enables these companies to invest in research and development, fostering the creation of new products and services. Additionally, the culture of innovation within these startups can lead to the transfer of technology and knowledge, benefiting the broader business ecosystem and contributing to the country’s technological advancement.

  3. Contribution to GDP Growth: The cumulative impact of local venture capital investments significantly contributes to the growth of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As startups thrive and scale, their economic activities, including production, sales, and exports, contribute directly to GDP. Moreover, the multiplier effect of job creation and increased consumer spending further amplifies the positive impact on the national economy.

  4. Fostering Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Beyond immediate economic indicators, local venture capital investments foster the development of vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. The success stories of funded startups inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs, creating a positive feedback loop that encourages innovation and risk-taking. This cultural shift towards entrepreneurship strengthens the foundation for sustained economic growth.

Local venture capital investments in South Africa have a profound and multifaceted impact on the economy. From job creation to technological innovation and GDP growth, these investments contribute to building a resilient and dynamic economic landscape that positions the nation for long-term success. As South Africa continues to embrace and support its entrepreneurial spirit, the economic benefits of local venture capital are poised to play an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the country’s future.

Government Support

A. Overview of Government Initiatives Supporting Local Venture Capital

Recognizing the crucial role of venture capital in fostering economic growth and innovation, the South African government has implemented various initiatives to support and encourage local investment. These policies aim to create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship, attract investment, and propel the development of a robust venture capital ecosystem.

  1. Venture Capital Tax Incentives: The government has introduced tax incentives to stimulate venture capital investments. These incentives often include tax breaks for both investors and venture capital firms, reducing the financial barriers to entry and incentivizing the flow of capital into innovative startups. Such measures encourage risk-taking and make venture capital a more attractive asset class for investors.

  2. Public-Private Partnerships: Collaborations between the government and the private sector play a vital role in supporting local venture capital. The government facilitates partnerships with private investors, creating investment funds and initiatives that pool resources for venture capital investments. These partnerships leverage the strengths of both sectors to foster a more comprehensive and impactful approach to supporting startups.

  3. Seed Funding and Grant Programs: To address the funding gap for early-stage startups, the government has implemented seed funding and grant programs. These initiatives provide critical financial support to nascent businesses, helping them overcome initial challenges and establish a solid foundation for growth. By focusing on the early stages of development, the government aims to nurture a pipeline of successful and sustainable ventures.

  4. Regulatory Reforms: The government has undertaken regulatory reforms to streamline the process of starting and operating businesses. Simplified regulatory frameworks and reduced bureaucratic hurdles make it easier for startups to navigate legal requirements, encouraging entrepreneurship. These reforms contribute to a more favorable environment for venture capital investment by fostering a culture of innovation and risk-taking.

B. Assessing the Effectiveness of Policies in Encouraging Local Investment

  1. Impact on Investment Flows: The effectiveness of government policies can be evaluated based on their impact on the flow of investment into local venture capital. An increase in the number and size of venture capital deals indicates a positive response from investors, suggesting that the policies have succeeded in creating an attractive investment climate.

  2. Startup Growth and Success Rates: The success and growth of startups backed by government-supported venture capital can serve as a key metric. Monitoring the performance of funded startups, including their ability to scale, generate revenue, and achieve market success, provides insights into the effectiveness of policies in nurturing a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

  3. Job Creation and Economic Impact: Government initiatives should contribute to measurable economic outcomes, including job creation and GDP growth. Assessing the impact of venture capital-backed startups on employment levels and their contribution to the overall economy provides a holistic view of the effectiveness of government support in fostering sustainable economic development.

  4. Feedback from Stakeholders: Gathering feedback from stakeholders, including investors, entrepreneurs, and industry experts, is essential for a comprehensive assessment. Understanding the experiences and perspectives of those directly involved in the venture capital ecosystem provides valuable insights into the practical effectiveness of government policies.

  5. Adaptability and Continuous Improvement: The ability of government policies to adapt to evolving market dynamics and address emerging challenges is crucial for long-term success. Regular evaluations and updates to policies based on feedback and changing economic conditions demonstrate a commitment to fostering a resilient and dynamic venture capital landscape.

Government support for local venture capital in South Africa is a multifaceted endeavor, encompassing tax incentives, partnerships, funding programs, and regulatory reforms. Evaluating the effectiveness of these policies requires a comprehensive analysis of investment flows, startup success, economic impact, and stakeholder feedback. A proactive and adaptive approach to policy implementation will contribute to the continued growth and success of the local venture capital ecosystem.

Sector Insights

A. Exploring Specific Sectors Thriving Under Local Venture Capital Support

South Africa’s venture capital landscape has spurred growth in various sectors, with specific industries benefiting significantly from local investment. The support provided by venture capital has not only facilitated the expansion of existing sectors but has also paved the way for the emergence of new and innovative industries.

  1. Technology and Startups: The technology sector, particularly startups in fields such as fintech, healthtech, and agritech, has experienced a surge in growth under local venture capital support. These ventures leverage innovative solutions to address local challenges, driving economic transformation and contributing to South Africa’s competitiveness on the global stage.

  2. Renewable Energy and Cleantech: Venture capital investment has played a pivotal role in advancing the renewable energy and cleantech sectors. Startups focused on sustainable energy solutions, waste management, and environmental conservation have thrived with the support of local investors. This not only contributes to environmental sustainability but also aligns with global trends in clean and green technologies.

  3. Healthcare and Biotechnology: The healthcare and biotechnology sectors have witnessed increased investment, leading to the growth of startups focused on medical innovations, pharmaceuticals, and health services. Local venture capital has supported initiatives that address healthcare challenges and contribute to improved access to quality medical care.

  4. E-commerce and Consumer Services: The rise of e-commerce and consumer services has been accelerated by venture capital funding. Local startups in this sector have transformed the way South Africans shop, access services, and engage in online platforms. The convenience and accessibility offered by these ventures have made them attractive investment opportunities.

B. Identifying Emerging Sectors with Growth Potential

  1. Education Technology (EdTech): The EdTech sector has shown promising signs of growth, driven by the increased focus on digital learning and skills development. Venture capital can play a crucial role in supporting startups that leverage technology to enhance education delivery, skills training, and lifelong learning opportunities.

  2. Agricultural Innovation: With a rich agricultural landscape, there is substantial potential for venture capital to drive innovation in the agriculture sector. Startups focusing on precision farming, agri-tech solutions, and sustainable agriculture practices can benefit from targeted investment to transform and modernize the agricultural value chain.

  3. Smart Cities and Urban Development: As urbanization continues, there is a growing opportunity for venture capital to support startups in the development of smart cities and urban infrastructure. Investments in technologies related to urban planning, transportation, and sustainable development can contribute to the creation of more livable and efficient urban spaces.

  4. Entertainment and Creative Industries: The entertainment and creative industries present untapped potential for venture capital investment. Supporting startups in gaming, content creation, and digital media can not only drive economic growth but also position South Africa as a hub for creative innovation and cultural expression.

  5. Telecommunications and Connectivity: The demand for improved telecommunications infrastructure and connectivity provides a ripe opportunity for venture capital investment. Startups focusing on expanding access to high-speed internet, developing communication technologies, and enhancing digital connectivity can play a crucial role in driving economic development.

South Africa’s venture capital landscape has proven instrumental in fostering growth across various sectors. While technology, renewable energy, healthcare, and e-commerce continue to thrive, emerging sectors like EdTech, agricultural innovation, smart cities, entertainment, and telecommunications present exciting opportunities for future investment and development. A strategic focus on these sectors can further diversify and strengthen the impact of local venture capital in shaping the country’s economic landscape.

International Collaboration

A. Examining How Local Venture Capital Can Collaborate with International Investors

The collaboration between local and international venture capital investors in South Africa is a dynamic and crucial aspect of the evolving entrepreneurial ecosystem. Such partnerships offer opportunities for knowledge exchange, increased capital flow, and the expansion of networks. Understanding the mechanics of these collaborations is essential for maximizing their benefits.

  1. Co-Investment Strategies: Collaborative investments, where local and international venture capital firms join forces to fund startups, have become increasingly common. Co-investment strategies allow for risk sharing and bring together diverse perspectives, expertise, and networks, contributing to the overall success of funded ventures.

  2. Global Accelerator Programs: Collaborating with international accelerators provides startups with exposure to global markets, mentorship from experienced professionals, and access to a broader investor base. Local venture capital firms can establish partnerships with global accelerators to facilitate the entry of South African startups into international markets.

  3. Cross-Border Networking: International collaboration fosters cross-border networking, creating opportunities for startups to connect with potential customers, partners, and investors on a global scale. Local venture capital firms can leverage their international counterparts’ networks to open doors for portfolio companies and facilitate market expansion.

  4. Knowledge Transfer and Best Practices: Collaborating with international investors brings valuable knowledge transfer and best practices to the local venture capital ecosystem. Exposure to different investment strategies, market trends, and regulatory environments enhances the capabilities of local investors, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

B. Exploring the Benefits and Challenges of Such Collaborations

  1. Benefits of International Collaboration:

    a. Access to Global Markets: International collaboration broadens the horizons for South African startups by providing access to global markets. This exposure allows startups to scale more rapidly and tap into diverse customer bases.

    b. Diversification of Funding Sources: Partnering with international investors diversifies the funding sources available to startups. This not only increases the overall capital pool but also introduces different risk appetites and investment philosophies.

    c. Enhanced Expertise and Mentorship: Collaboration with international investors brings a wealth of expertise and mentorship to the local ecosystem. Startups benefit from the knowledge and experience of investors who have successfully navigated diverse markets.

    d. Validation and Credibility: International collaboration often serves as a stamp of credibility for startups. Being backed by international investors can enhance the perceived value of local ventures, making them more attractive to customers, partners, and additional investors.

  2. Challenges of International Collaboration:

    a. Cultural and Regulatory Differences: Managing diverse cultural and regulatory environments can pose challenges. Differences in business practices, legal frameworks, and communication styles may require careful navigation to ensure successful collaboration.

    b. Time Zone and Communication Barriers: Dealing with time zone differences and communication barriers can create logistical challenges. Effective collaboration may require establishing efficient communication channels and embracing virtual collaboration tools.

    c. Risk of Capital Flight: While international collaboration brings additional funding opportunities, there is a risk of capital flight if local startups become overly reliant on foreign investment. Striking a balance between local and international funding is crucial for sustainability.

    d. Strategic Alignment: Ensuring strategic alignment between local and international investors is essential. Differences in investment goals and philosophies may arise, and maintaining a shared vision for the portfolio companies is crucial for success.

International collaboration holds immense potential for local venture capital in South Africa. The benefits of accessing global markets, diversifying funding sources, and gaining expertise are substantial. However, navigating challenges related to cultural differences, regulatory landscapes, and strategic alignment is imperative for ensuring the success and sustainability of such collaborations. Strategic partnerships between local and international investors can contribute significantly to the growth and global competitiveness of South Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Caban Investments: Embracing the “Local is Lekker” Ethos in Supporting Entrepreneurs

Caban Investments, a prominent player in the South African venture capital landscape, stands at the forefront of embodying the “local is lekker” ethos in its approach to supporting entrepreneurs. Recognizing the profound impact of cultural identity on business success, Caban has woven this ethos into the fabric of its investment strategies, fostering a dynamic ecosystem that celebrates local innovation, diversity, and entrepreneurial spirit.

One of the distinctive ways in which we embrace the “local is lekker” mindset is through its targeted investments in businesses deeply rooted in South African culture. The company actively seeks out ventures that not only demonstrate financial promise but also contribute to the enrichment of the local narrative. By supporting startups aligned with the nation’s unique flavors, traditions, and challenges, We ensure that our portfolio reflects the cultural diversity and authenticity that define South Africa.

In addition to financial backing, Caban places a strong emphasis on mentorship and ecosystem development. Understanding that the success of startups goes beyond capital infusion, we actively engage with entrepreneurs, providing guidance, industry insights, and access to a network of experienced professionals and service providers, offering marketing, accounting, tax advisory and a host of other services to the business we support. This mentorship approach not only nurtures the growth of individual businesses but also contributes to the broader goal of building a resilient and interconnected entrepreneurial community.

Collaboration is another key pillar of Cabans’ commitment to the “local is lekker” ethos. We actively seeks partnerships with local organisations, government initiatives, and international investors who share a vision for supporting South African entrepreneurship. By fostering collaborative ecosystems, Caban aims to create synergies that amplify the impact of venture capital on local startups, opening doors to new opportunities and facilitating knowledge exchange.

At Caban, we recognize that a thriving venture capital landscape requires continuous efforts in overcoming challenges faced by entrepreneurs. To address this, the company actively engages with stakeholders to advocate for policies that support innovation, reduce regulatory barriers, and create an enabling environment for startups. This proactive involvement in shaping the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem underscores Caban Investments’ commitment to not only investing in businesses but also contributing to the long-term sustainability and growth of South Africa’s economic landscape.

Caban  stands as an exemplar in embracing the “local is lekker” ethos in its venture capital endeavors. By aligning its investments with the cultural richness of South Africa, providing holistic support to entrepreneurs, fostering collaboration, and actively participating in advocacy efforts, Caban Investments exemplifies the transformative power of venture capital when rooted in a deep appreciation for the local context. As the company continues to champion the spirit of “local is lekker,” it not only shapes the success of individual startups but contributes to the narrative of a thriving, culturally rich, and economically vibrant South African entrepreneurial landscape.

In Summary

South African venture capital, the phrase “local is lekker” encapsulates more than just a cultural expression—it serves as a guiding principle, an ethos that underscores the uniqueness and authenticity of homegrown ventures. This cultural perspective resonates deeply within the entrepreneurial landscape, shaping the identity of startups and investors alike. The “local is lekker” mindset is not merely a rallying cry for patriotism; it represents a commitment to fostering businesses that embody the rich diversity, resilience, and innovation intrinsic to South Africa. This ethos, rooted in the Afrikaans language, signifies a celebration of the country’s distinctive flavors and the satisfaction derived from supporting endeavors that are deeply embedded in the local context. As we navigate the realms of venture capital within this cultural framework, it becomes evident that the success of South African startups is not only a financial triumph but a testament to the indomitable spirit of the nation.

As South Africa’s venture capital landscape continues to evolve, it is imperative to emphasize the importance of sustained support for local startups and investors. The cultural richness encapsulated in the “local is lekker” ethos provides a unique competitive advantage, fostering a sense of community, authenticity, and shared identity. To nurture this spirit, stakeholders, including government bodies, investors, and the broader business community, must remain steadfast in their commitment to creating an environment that fosters innovation, inclusivity, and economic growth. By prioritizing local initiatives, encouraging collaboration, and providing targeted support, South Africa can fortify its venture capital ecosystem and position itself as a global player in entrepreneurship. Continued investment in education, mentorship programs, and regulatory frameworks that promote innovation will be pivotal in unlocking the full potential of local startups. As the nation stands at the intersection of cultural pride and economic opportunity, the call to support and champion the “local is lekker” ethos echoes as a collective responsibility—one that, when embraced, has the power to propel South Africa’s venture capital landscape to new heights. In doing so, we not only invest in businesses but also in the soul of the nation, ensuring a legacy of prosperity and innovation for generations to come.

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Matthew Musgrove

Matthew Musgrove

Matthew is an entrepreneur and business Advisor with a passion for change management and social empowerment. With a background in business accounting and advisory, as well clinical research project management, he strives to find strategic and sustainable solutions to business problems.



Mark Van Hoff comes from background of technical & production planning, budgeting & scheduling of major live events. As the first production co-ordinator at M-NET for Outside Broadcasts, Mark has managed major local and international productions including Miss South Africa, Miss World, multiple music events and major sports events, including the PnP Cycling Tour.​Mark co-founded Van-Man Productions in 1994, Page to Picture in 2000 and Move Media Networks in 2007. All three companies have achieved domestic success and have been well-regarded in the South African production industry.



Oluwaseun Adewuyi who is the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at Caban, is a Certified Chartered Accountant, with Fellowship status at both the ACCA as well as the Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, a UK Based industry body with a specific focus on the management of charities, not-for-profit organisations and NGOs.. Oluwaseun comes with strong business acumen and 20+ years of progressive experience in finance and operations management within well-reputed and high growth organisations Including Next Plc and Royal Mail. He has been heavily involved in impact investment across Sub-Saharan Africa and has been instrumental in the creation of a series of community schools in West Africa. Throughout his career, he oversaw a broad range of operations, including Business Strategy and Business Reorganisation, summarising the organisation’s financial status, and coordinating the preparation of tactical plans, financial forecasts, and budgets. Adept at developing and implementing effective internal control framework to maintain sound financial accountability.

tim scholtz


Tim Scholtz, who's is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Caban Investments, is experienced in implementing corporate governance guidelines, formulating risk management structures, process and cost optimization. Tim has a strong corporate background, having worked as COO at the South African Tourism board, was COO at the Nelson Mandela foundation and as a internal audit manager at Arthur Anderson earlier in his career.

Ben Botes


Ben Botes is Entrepreneur, VC, co-Founder, Author and Academic with a strong social conscience. Ben Involved with early stage and growth firms for the past 20 years and has been Co-founder of 9 separate businesses across Africa. Ben has directly and indirectly been involved in impact investment and the support of charities and non profits for the last 30 years. Ben is a regular speaker at the African Investment Conference in London and has been featured in Wall Street for Europe, The Guardian Small Business, BBC, the Mail and Guardian in the UK and BizCommunity, Channel 3 TV, Investors Weekly, The Cape Times, Radio 702 with John Robbie and Good Hope FM in South Africa

Dave Romero


Dave Romero is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur with a passion for making an impact. A qualified Professional Accountant, Dave has been a director in multiple financial institutions and was once the youngest Chairman on the JSE, in addition to being listed as one of Business Times’ Top 100 companies and the 40th fastest-growing company in South Africa. Dave is a core founder of the Caban Group, which aims to provide a comprehensive service offering to small businesses in return for equity. With a passion for nurturing entrepreneurs, Dave can often be found outside of the boardroom – offering advice, creating innovative funding solutions and building communities through sustainable practices.



Dr Ruben Richards is a truly inspirational South African leader. Through his peace-building seminars for criminal gangs, Dr Ruben has facilitated the longest ceasefire in the history of gang warfare on the Cape Flats. In addition to being Chairman & Founder of the non-profit Ruben Richards Foundation, Dr Ruben is an ordained cleric, company director, non-executive Chairman of Visual International Limited and was once the Deputy Director-General of the now-disbanded Scorpions.