Imperial and Newtown Partners launch new R320 million venture capital fund

JSE-listed logistics group, Imperial has launched a new venture capital fund in partnership with Newtown Partners.

Newtown Partners is the venture capital fund managed by South African entrepreneur Vinny Lingham, co-founded by investor Llew Claasen.

The fund will have an initial capitalisation of $20 million (R320 million) and will invest in startups in the logistics industry, working to identify, invest in disruptive technology with high-growth potential in the global supply chain and logistics technology stack.

“This programme will contribute to the long-term success of the organisation by identifying and leveraging startups deploying emerging technologies and business models in key geographical and logistics service areas,” Lingham said.

Imperial CEO Mohammed Akoojee said the fund will help position the group “ahead of future competitors, enabling a strategic response to emerging technologies and business models”.

“With this fund, we are embracing the disruption taking place in the market by safe-guarding the organisation against future risk. It is about leveraging innovation so that we — alongside our clients — can not only survive but thrive well into the future,” Akoojee said.

The fund is operationally separate from Imperial, which will allow startups to bypass a lot of red tape, while giving them support and access to markets. It has the objective of generating attractive financial returns together with a strategic underpinning relevant to the core business of Imperial.

“By adopting a pragmatic approach to disruptive innovation, we are well-positioned to identify how Imperial’s business will change over the next few years, and enable them to not just weather the inevitable disruption to their industry, but to leverage this change for competitive advantage,” Newtown Partners said.

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Imperial and Newtown Partners launch new R320 million venture capital fund