Standard Bank and the SA SME Fund have joined other investors in backing venture capital firm Knife Capital’s new $50 million African Series B expansion fund dubbed Knife Fund III.
According to a press release, the fund has already secured over $40 million in commitments from other local and international investors including the International Financing Corporation (IFC), Mineworkers Investment Company, international development funders and prominent family offices.
Speaking on the commitment, Akash Maharaj, executive, equity finance and investments at Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking, stated that the bank believes in the positive impact that investment into early-stage, high-growth businesses can have on innovation, job creation, and economic development of South Africa.
“We have partnered with a number of the leading investors in this space and are excited to add Knife Capital to our venture capital portfolio. With Standard Bank’s expansive African footprint, our suite of bespoke banking products and extensive client base, we can facilitate the growth journey of businesses that scale internationally,” he added.
For the SA SME Fund, CEO Ketso Gordhan said: “We nurture South Africa’s vast entrepreneurial spirit through long-term partnerships and are delighted to follow on into Fund III to continue supporting Knife Capital.”
The Knife Fund III invests in scalable business-to-business technology companies that have attractive exit optionality. It consists of two main funding vehicles: a USD-denominated limited partnership in Jersey and a ZAR-denominated limited partnership in South Africa, which will co-invest alongside one another in portfolio companies.
It has already made its first investment by leading the $10 million round in DataProphet, a South African startup that provides AI-as-a-service software in the manufacturing sector.
“We are very excited to gain not only a funder, but also a growth partner for our portfolio companies in Standard Bank,” said Keet van Zyl, co-founder at Knife Capital.