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SA’s most promising businesses recognised at SAVCA Industry Awards

11 November 2022: A multi-store, e-commerce start-up and an energy drink brand were among the winners at this year’s SAVCA Industry Awards, hosted by the South African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) in partnership with Investec. The awards platform recognises the achievements of regional portfolio companies who have leveraged the backing of venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) investment as a launch pad to success.

Winners from the SAVCA Industry Awards 2022

For Tshepiso Kobile, SAVCA’s newly-appointed CEO, the awards are testament to the immense value that the VC and PE asset classes contribute to the economy, environment and society. “This year’s winning companies thrived because they were courageous and resilient enough to grasp the golden opportunities that emerge during times of scarcity and uncertainty. Moreover, we also use these awards as an opportunity to pause and recognise the innovators in our industry, and the entrepreneurs that have made all of the companies here tonight a resounding success. A hearty thanks goes out to the fund managers present, for believing in these portfolio companies, and providing them with unwavering support and investing time and resources that have enabled them to endure quite a tough economic climate.” 

Nominees for the 2022 SAVCA Industry Awards were companies within the current portfolio of a VC or PE firm, or companies from which the capital company exited during the 12 month period leading up to June 2022. This year’s constituent of nominees consisted of 12 companies put forward by several of the country’s leading VC and PE firms.

A total of eight judges formed part of this year’s adjudication panel which featured industry stalwarts as well as executive team members of prominent investment companies. This panel of esteemed judges, led by the lead adjudicator, Craig Beney: CEO, Helical Capital Partners, was comprised of Dr David Makovah; Director: Tactus Advisory, Catherine Townsend; Head of Ecosystems and Partnership: RMB, Dr Anthony Costa; Investment Lead: RSA Presidency, Andrew Moffat; Joint Head of Investment Banking: Investec, Ketso Gordhan; CEO: SA SME Fund, Anne Keppler; Regional Director Southern Africa: DEG as well as Shainal Sukha; Managing Director: Sukha and Associates (Pty) Ltd.

The judging process involved a rigorous assessment of each nominee and interviews with the respective finalists. Finalists and winners were selected based on evidence of growth (in terms of profitability and investor returns), job preservation/creation, innovation, environmental and social impact and leadership team/reputation. Other differentiating factors included whether the company demonstrated skilled execution of projects as well as whether there was evidence of the positive impact of the company’s relationship with its investment firm.  

The winners of this year’s awards are as follows:

Large Category Winner | MetroFibre

Three nominees contended for the award in the Large Company category, which was open to enterprises valued at or with a revenue of over R1.5 billion, and with positive operating cashflows. The winner, MetroFibre is a local telecommunications company specialising in the provision of highly managed, fibre optic broadband connectivity in South Africa.

Mid-Market Category Winner | Switch Energy Drink

The companies in the Mid-Market award category were enterprises valued at, and with revenue of over R200 million but under R1.5 billion. Switch Energy Drink clinched the award in this category with its eclectic selection of energy drinks and flavoured sodas aimed at South Africa’s urban youth market. The brand, which was established in 2014 has seen significant growth and expansion into nine countries with 28 product lines and over 450 million products sold.

SME Category Winner | Jachris Hose & Couplings

In the SME category, four nominees were selected from a pool of entrants with an enterprise value and revenue of under R200 million. Jachris Hose & Couplings was the winner in this category. The company is currently the continent’s only fully integrated fluid transfer, fluid power and fire suppression company and Africa’s largest supplier of specialised hose and couplings.

Start-up/Venture Capital Winner | OneCart

The Start-up/Venture Capital category included companies that are less than five years old and are in the early funding stage (Series A or B funding excluding seed and pre-revenue). Industry innovator, OneCart was the winner of this award, having gained significant traction since its launch as the country’s first multi-retailer, e-commerce platform to its recent acquisition by Massmart. With the goal of “simulating a virtual mall experience in the simplest form,” OneCart is operational in over 50 locations throughout the country with over 5,000 daily active users.

Congratulating this year’s deserving companies, SAVCA Chairperson Lelo Rantloane lauded all the winners on their value-driven approach to business, their committed focus on growth as well as their eagerness to draw on the experience and expertise of their VC/PE partners.

As Andrew Moffat, Joint Head of Investec Investment Banking concludes: “this year’s Industry Awards was the first event of its kind to be hosted since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For this reason, the accomplishments of the 2022 winners are even more impressive. They defied the odds and demonstrated that South African entrepreneurs have what it takes to claim their stake in this competitive market both locally and abroad. Many of the winners here this evening, as well as their businesses, have gone through turbulent times on an almost daily basis for the past few years. This has served to optimise their resilient nature and has enabled them to adapt to new challenges in this very uncertain world that we live in. The innovative qualities we see in these entrepreneurs will play a crucial role in solving the problems that face us today, as well as the barriers that we are likely to encounter in years to come.

Investec is particularly excited about what these wins mean for job creation and specifically youth employment. Not only are these businesses engines for economic growth, but they also hold unlimited potential to address many of our ongoing societal challenges. We are honoured to play a role in uplifting them as they navigate the complex world of business in South Africa and continue on their respective journeys of building a brighter future for our country and its economy.”