Published On: Wed, Dec 2nd, 2015

WeChat invests in African start-ups

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JOHANNESBURG – WECHAT Africa, the mobile social communication company, plans to invest R50 million (3,48 million) in technology startups in the continent.

This is part of efforts to support local entrepreneurs and technology innovations.

Brett Loubser, head of WeChat Africa, said the fund aims to provide financial support to businesses so that they can effectively get on the
WeChat platform.

“This will include technical integration and communications tactics across the Naspers’ stable and other suited channels,” said Loubser.

WeChat Africa will identify promising tech startups, via an application and selection process, and support their speedy entrance into the market
using the WeChat platform.

Access to markets was listed as one of the biggest inhibitors to growth for African tech-enabled businesses in the recent Emerging Companies
survey conducted by PWC and Silicon Cape.

To coordinate the initiative, tech strategy practice firm, WeChat Africa has appointed Batstone Ventures to source and coordinate early stage
investment opportunities among tech startups in Africa.

Since the success of partnerships with startups such as Money4Jam, PicUp and Order In, WeChat’s growth strategy has increasingly focused on
integrating with early stage businesses whose models strategically fit with, and clearly demonstrate, the power of the platform and its positioning in the market.

“We have been working with Batstone since mid-2014 and in that time have come to trust their purpose-led approach to understanding and supporting tech businesses.

“This approach, coupled with their networks, means our partnership is well placed to identify and vet the best possible investment opportunities for WeChat,” said Loubser.

Alexandra Fraser, Head of Batstone Ventures, said their experience in the past two years had demonstrated that many companies had huge potential but were unable to communicate what they did.

“We don’t want to miss the chance to work with smart businesses just because they can’t succinctly tell us what they can do in an online form
so our process will include a face-to-face workshop element to mitigate this risk,” said Fraser.

Applications via Batstone’s website ( will open in mid January 2016. Selection will be based on a mix of online
application and a series of purpose workshops.

– CAJ News




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