Private equity firm 1K1V buys minority stake in DigiCo

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Jason Goodall, DigiCo chairman.
Jason Goodall, DigiCo chairman.

Cape Town-headquartered private equity firm One Thousand & One Voices (1K1V) has made a R200 million investment in a minority stake in Digital Ecosystems (DigiCo), an investment holding company that provides integrated technology services to the telecommunications sector.

1K1V says it has experience in founding and running Africa-focused private equity funds, with over 125 years of combined investment and financial services experience. It also has offices in Colorado, US, which serve as a bridge for African companies expanding into the US, as well as offices in Mauritius, with a long history of commerce with Africa.

Sandton-based DigiCo operates at the intersection of digital technology and telecommunications, enabling the rollout of mobile-mediated sales, financial services, banking, couponing, gaming, loyalty programmes and other payment tender methods.

The investment will enable DigiCo to further expand its services globally.

The investment is 1K1V’s second in the technology space this year and the third technology investment in its portfolio. In June, 1K1V collaborated with empowerment partner Crossfin Technology to acquire multinational enterprise software company Sybrin, an EOH subsidiary, for R410 million.

“DigiCo’s locally-developed technology, IP and service offering are at the forefront of the rapidly-changing digital economy,” says Hendrik Jordaan, president and CEO of 1K1V.

“We believe some of this unique technology is way ahead of its time and has not been deployed yet in developed economies. Our goal is to reposition the company for growth in these markets through our Three-Dimensional Capital provided by our leading family limited partnerships and extensive global networks.”

DigiCo’s technologies and products enable a business-to-business-to-consumer service, agnostic to any phone type or any mobile operator.

The company operates in 22 countries across the globe, with six subsidiaries in the digital space: Airvantage, M4Jam and PayMeNow (mobile financial services); Hyve Mobile and Viamedia (VAS infotainment); and Cellfind (integrated communications).

“The investment by 1K1V into DigiCo is an important step in the journey to grow, expand and internationalise our business,” notes Andrew Dunn, CEO of DNI, the majority shareholder of DigiCo.

“1K1V has globally-renowned networks and relationships, an excellent investment track record and strong advisory capabilities so, from a strategic perspective, they bring far more than just capital to the table. We are looking forward to them adding considerable value to DigiCo and helping us achieve our long-term growth aspirations.”

Linked to 1K1V’s investment in DigiCo is its expanded strategic partnership with seasoned technology investor, Jason Goodall, who was recently appointed as DigiCo chairman, according to the companies.

Goodall also serves as non-executive director at Dimension Data, parent company of NTT, and as strategic advisor to Letter One, an international investment business focused on the telecoms, technology and energy sectors.

“I’m thrilled to join the DigiCo team of exceptional entrepreneurs and technologists,” said Goodall, upon his appointment.

“After spending over a decade scaling a global technology business, I’m delighted to continue this journey with the DigiCo team and build a highly-relevant, fast-growing, customer-centric, platform-based global technology business across multiple industry sectors. I am excited by the innovation and proven technology platforms that exist within the group and believe there is a compelling opportunity to globalise the business from its South African roots with the backing of global investors such as 1K1V.”

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