Naspers Foundry’s 10 best deals as it shuts down

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 14 Mar 2023

Naspers has reportedly shut down its R1.4 billion early-stage technology investment vehicle Naspers Foundry.

According to a Business Day report, the company confirmed the closure of the investment vehicle to the publication.

However, it says Naspers will continue to support the development of SA’s early-stage tech sector, “assessing the market and new opportunities in a way that is consistent with our other global markets”.

It adds the group will maintain the investments it has made through the four-year-old fund, including start-ups such as online home-cleaning business SweepSouth and agritech firm Aerobotics.

In a statement to ITWeb, Shamiela Letsoalo, communications director of Naspers South Africa, comments: “Naspers and Prosus announced the reduction of some roles across central functions; this will bring the reduction to 30% of group functions.

“After these reductions are completed, we would have reduced corporate centre headcount by 30% in the last 12 months. The global investment environment, as well as the local South African one, has changed and we have made clear the need for our business to adapt.

“In line with changes across the wider business, we have reviewed our early-stage investment strategy within South Africa to bring it in line with our international approach. Naspers will continue to support the development of South Africa’s early-stage tech sector, assessing the market and new opportunities in a way that is consistent with our other global markets.”

The move comes after Naspers and its subsidiary Prosus recently announced they are looking to trim their workforce by 30%.

When it established Foundry, Naspers pledged its commitment to a R1.4 billion start-up fund to boost the South African technology sector.

The initiative was announced at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference 2018 in Johannesburg, and aimed to fund and support South African technology start-ups seeking to address big societal needs.

Naspers Foundry officially launched in 2019.

ITWeb looks at the notable technology start-ups Naspers Foundry has backed since 2019.


In June 2019, Naspers Foundry announced its first deal, with a R30 million investment in South African tech start-up SweepSouth.

SweepSouth, co-founded by Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic, is an online cleaning services platform that connects clients with domestic cleaners. It has since established itself as one of the fastest growing start-ups in SA.


In May 2020, Naspers pumped R100 million into agritech start-up business Aerobotics.

The subscription-based artificial intelligence (AI) company provides intelligent tools for the agricultural industry to manage its crops.

Founded by James Paterson and Benji Meltzer in 2014, Aerobotics specialises in the application of AI in agriculture.

Food Supply Network

In September 2020, Naspers Foundry invested an undisclosed amount in Food Supply Network (FSN), the early-stage business funding initiative’s third investment deal.

Stellenbosch-based FSN is an independent business-to-business marketplace that integrates ordering systems of manufacturers, distributors and buyers (restaurants, hotels and retailers) of food products.

It is already active in SA, Namibia and Zambia, with plans to soon extend its reach to the rest of the continent and beyond.

The Student Hub

In November 2020, Naspers Foundry reaffirmed its commitment to driving increased growth in SA’s technology sector through a R45 million investment in online learning platform The Student Hub.

This deal, the fund’s fourth, brought its investment to R200 million at the time.

The Student Hub increases access to vocational education to large numbers of students, while reducing the costs of delivery of education and training.

The company helps overcome the constraints of limited physical infrastructure and related resources by partnering with government-accredited technical and vocational education and training colleges, to help them deliver their courses online. The online platform also connects graduates with work opportunities related to their skills set.


In June 2021, Naspers invested $3 million (R42 million) in Cape Town-founded mobility tech start-up WhereIsMyTransport.

The investment was part of a R201 million ($14.5 million) funding round led by Naspers Foundry, Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund and SBI Investment.

WhereIsMyTransport maps formal and informal public transport networks and uses this data and technology to improve the public transport experience, making the public commute more reliable, predictable, safe, inclusive and accessible for millions of people in highly-populated megacities.

The start-up licenses these mobility datasets to governments, development finance institutions, NGOs, operators and third-party solution developers for the purpose of research, analytics, insights, and consumer and enterprise solutions.


In July 2021, Naspers Foundry lifted the South African insurtech sector with a R34 million investment in the Ctrl digital short-term insurance advice platform, which was founded in 2017.

It provides a tech solution to the short-term insurance industry and consumers through its single platform, which connects consumers, brokers and insurers in one place.


In August 2021, Naspers Foundry announced a R120 million ($8.3 million) investment in Naked, an AI-driven insurtech company that offers a fully digital way for consumers to insure their cars, homes and valuables.

In total, Naked received R160 million, with Naspers leading the round. Existing Naked investors, Yellowwoods and Hollard, also participated in the funding round, contributing R40 million.


In December 2021, Foundry announced a R54 million ($3.4 million) investment in Planet42, a car subscription company addressing transport inequality.

The investment was part of a R91 million ($5.8 million) equity round led by Naspers Foundry, alongside existing investors Change Ventures and Startup Wise Guys.

Planet42 was founded in 2017 and offers an inclusive car subscription service to customers who typically cannot access traditional bank credit.


In February 2022, the investment vehicle announced a R15 million ($1 million) investment in Floatpays, an on-demand earned wage access platform that helps customers build financial wellness.

Floatpays provides customers with real-time access to a portion of their earned but not yet paid income at any time during the month, giving them an alternative to using credit to cover unplanned expenses.


In May 2022, it pumped R40 million ($2.5 million) into financial advisory fintech firm LifeCheq.

The investment was part of a total R53 million ($3.3 million) series A investment round led by Naspers Foundry, with the balance funded by existing investors.

Launched in 2018, LifeCheq’s AI-powered platform equips financial advisers with the ability to improve client experience and drive efficiency.