Naspers has closed its early-stage tech investment fund, Naspers Foundry, but this will not affect its portfolio companies, according to media reports.
BusinessDay reported the shutdown on Monday. A Naspers spokesperson confirmed the report to News24, saying the company was “fully committed to South Africa and will continue to evaluate new investments in line with the same approach taken in other markets.”
Naspers set up the R1.4 billion (approximately $100 million U.S.) South Africa-focused fund in 2019 to invest in early-stage tech companies, since when it has injected R740 million into various companies, including car-subscription company Planet42.
“While we made headway in deploying the capital, the startup space remains very nascent given the historic lack of investment in the tech ecosystem,” said Naspers, quoted by News24.
“This, combined with the fact that the global environment, as well as the local SA one, is not what it was in the years where we were in an aggressive growth mode, has meant that we have needed to review the Naspers Foundry investment strategy and to bring it in line with the rest of the world.”
In South Africa, Naspers runs leading verticals Property24.com and AutoTrader.co.za.
The decision follows a flurry of moves by the group to reduce its cost structure, which included layoffs by Prosus, the Netherlands-based marketplace specialist part-owned by Naspers, and the potential sale of OLX Autos.