The Mineworkers Investment Company’s (MIC’s) Khulisani Ventures has concluded its first allocation of R43.5-million to technology companies Kelo and Rentoza.
In July 2021, MIC launched MIC Khulisani Ventures, a R150-million early-stage investment vehicle targeting black-owned innovative, high-growth businesses in South Africa.
This investment initiative targeted high-growth potential companies across all sectors, barring the primary agriculture and primary extractive industries.
Calls for applications closed on August 15, 2021, with MIC Khulisani Ventures having received 722 applications.
MIC Khulisani Ventures says it sifted through hundreds of promising business ideas, searching for companies that showed the best signs of scalability, innovation and capability to be disruptive industry players.
“The pitch deck reviews and adjudication by the MIC Khulisani Ventures investment panel narrowed applications down to a list of ten finalists, who were invited to pitch meetings.
“After several rounds of brisk Shark Tank-esque interviews, Kelo and Rentoza were the first to close with a combined investment of R43.5-million. The economic enablement associated with their respective business models served as an attraction and helped set them apart during the selection process.
“They are an example of the kinds of entities we continue to seek out mutually beneficial partnerships with,” says MIC CIO Nchaupe Khaole.
Ed-tech business Kelo received a capital allocation of up to R23.5-million.
The company secured contracts with key publishers that gave them licensing rights to educational content libraries with over 50 000 titles.
MIC impact investment manager Thato Ntseare refers to Kelo as a disruptor of industry – changing the way people learn and access study material using digital technology.
“Their practical, book-rental model allows students to get the books they need for much cheaper, especially since they often need certain textbooks for a limited time only during the course of their studies.
“Their digital approach also contributes to saving paper, as well as storage efficiency, by avoiding the use of physical space for books. These are some of the things that caught our attention.”
Rentoza is an online electronics and appliances retailer operating on a subscription-based model.
It is noted to make access to essential technology easy and affordable to consumers, especially when traditional means of acquiring tech products are not an option.
“Rentoza’s focus on creating alternative means of accessing devices that play such a big role in our daily lives was the drawcard that attracted us to the business.
“Their growth rate from the onset, showed that they are well-organised, extensively experienced and a very capable enterprise. It is critical that we provide funding for businesses of this nature, especially since they are developing solutions that speak to the specific needs of consumers,” says Ntseare.