Picture: BLOOMBERG
Picture: BLOOMBERG

Naspers’s SA-focused venture funding unit, Naspers Foundry, has secured its third deal with an investment in food systems integrator Food Supply Network (FSN).

Naspers Foundry, which was created in October 2018, started with R1.4bn and has so far invested R30m in SweepSouth, an Uber-style online platform providing on-demand and regular home cleaning services in 2019; and R100m in agritech business Aerobotics earlier in 2020.

Now it is backing FSN, an independent business-to-business marketplace that integrates ordering systems of manufacturers, distributors and buyers, such as restaurants, hotels and retailers, of food products.

According to Naspers, the platform streamlines the process across the board as buyers reduce their administrative overhead, payment reconciliations and out-of-stock events; distributors improve service delivery and grow market share; and manufacturers drive sales by accurately showcasing all their brands, products and promotions throughout their supply chain.

FSN is active in SA, Namibia and Zambia, and “will soon expand to Angola as it extends its reach to the rest of the continent and beyond”.

Naspers did not disclose how much the deal was worth.

Naspers SA CEO Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa told Business Day in May that the company plans to invest a further R300m in local businesses in 2020 through its startup arm. At the time she said that would probably be done through three transactions of about R100m each.

As a group, Naspers has concentrated its investments around food delivery, classifieds and fintech, in recent years. It recently exited its investment in SA’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Luno, by selling its stake to US-based Digital Currency Group.

In a statement, FSN founder and CEO Gert Steyn said: “We’re extremely excited about our partnership with Naspers Foundry. Naspers brings unparalleled global experience, marketplace expertise and extensive networks to the table. Its capabilities complement our own, as well as those of our existing partners at Venturen, which also participated in this round. Naspers shares our vision of optimising the local and global food supply chains in an industry that still relies on manual processes.”

gavazam@businesslive.co.za

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