Saturday, February 10, 2007

Shuttleworth Investment a shot in the arm for SA tech ventures

Multi million $ and £ investments in performing technology ventures around the world has become almost common practice again over the last two years. Few investors or small firms may have envisioned this following the bursting of the Internet bubble and crashing of technology stocks over the last decade, but it now seems that confidence, albeit a bit more cautious than the nineties version, has now been restored.

To many South African entrepreneurs the large amounts invested in start-ups abroad may have seemed like more of a mirage, we know its there but still out of reach. This dream came a little closer to reality last week when HBD venture capital fund founded by South African billionaire Mark Shuttleworth invested R15m in IncuBeta, an Internet marketing company found by Vinny Lingham, well known amongst bloggers and technology lovers in South Africa.

It is very reassuring to know that there are still plenty of funding sources available for the right idea. Technology start-ups in particular now has more support than ever before with the likes of HBD, The Innovation Hub, Enablis and many other venture firms ready to invest in solid ideas with international growth potential. One can not help but think that internet giants EBay, Google and yahoo! are indirectly to thank for this following their ongoing string of high profile and higher priced buy outs of successful Internet companies such as, YouTube, Flicker, SKype, PayPal and Picasa bit to name a few.

Congratulations Vinny for pulling this one off and I trust that as far as SA start-ups go this will be the first one of many success stories.


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