The Financial Times (FT), in partnership with Statista, has released its annual ranking of Africa’s top 100 fastest-growing companies for 2023, listing over 30 South African companies among them.
The ranking, now in its second year, shows that companies in sectors including fintech, renewable energy, healthcare, commodities and agriculture were managing to grow their businesses while much of the world shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic, said the FT.
“Covid appears to have accelerated the move online, with companies providing digital services in finance, payments, trade facilitation and healthcare all making headway,” the report said.
“It also seems to have been the time in which Silicon Valley investors, as well as those in Asia and Europe, discovered potential in the African start-up scene, particularly in the tech hubs of Lagos, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Cairo,” it added.
The companies were ranked by their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue between 2018 and 2021.
South African companies that made the list operate in multiple sectors, including IT and software, mining, healthcare, and e-commerce.
According to the report, the three fastest-growing companies in South Africa were Deimos, ranked 6th in Africa, Bluesky Digital Solutions (12th), and Northam Platinum Holding (23rd).
Deimos Cloud is a local technology-orientated company that provides cloud and software services, such as custom software development, cloud-native architectures, large-scale cloud migrations, developer automation, security, and more.
Deimos recorded a CAGR of 177% in revenue between 2018 and 2021, from $500,000 to $9.5 million.
Bluesky Digital Solutions is another IT and software company that provides cloud computing services, custom application development, architecture, configuration, business analysis, training, and delivery management.
The company reported a CAGR of 94.6% in revenue between 2018 and 2021, from $1.7 million to $11.1 million.
Northam Platinum Holdings is a South African mining and platinum group metals producer (PGM) focusing on platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
The mining company recorded a CAGR of 62.9% in revenue between 2018 and 2021, from $587.5 million to $2.1 billion.
Other notable mining companies that featured in the ranking include Impala Platinum Holdings (29th), Sibanye Stillwater (33rd), Pan African Resources (49th), and African Rainbow Minerals (51st).
These companies, therefore, rank 5th, 7th, 17th, and 18th among South Africa’s fastest-growing companies, respectively.
Interstingly, one of the JSE’s top 10 companies in 2022 – Napsers – ranked 19th in South Africa and 52nd in Africa, reporting a respectable CAGR of 34.1% in revenue between 2018 and 2021, from $3.3 billion to $7.9 billion.
The table below shows the top 20 fastest-growing companies in South Africa, their rank in Africa, and reported CAGR in revenue.
|Africa ranking||Company||Sector||CAGR (revenue growth)|
|6||Deimos Cloud||IT & Software||177.2%|
|12||Bluesky Digital Solutions||IT & Software||94.6%|
|23||Northam Platinum Holdings||Metals & Mining||62.9%|
|28||Vertice Medtech Holdings||Healthcare & Life Sciences||53.6%|
|29||Impala Platinum Holdings||Metals & Mining||53.5%|
|31||Routed Hosting||IT & Software||51.5%|
|33||Sibanye Stillwater||Metals & Mining||50.4%|
|36||Herholdt’S Group||Energy & Utilities||48.9%|
|38||Linkfields Innovations||IT & Software||47.5%|
|41||Nclose||IT & Software||42.9%|
|42||Purple Group||Fintech, Financial Services & Insurance||42.9%|
|45||Entelect Software||IT & Software||40.9%|
|47||Expert South Africa||E-commerce||38.5%|
|48||Hearx||Healthcare & Life Sciences||37.6%|
|49||Pan African Resources||Metals & Mining||36.2%|
|51||African Rainbow Minerals||Metals & Mining||34.1%|
|52||Naspers||Media & Telecommunications||34.1%|
|57||Spark Schools||Education & Social Services||30.6%|
Criteria for inclusion on the list
According to the FT, to be included in the list of Africa’s fastest-growing companies, a company had to meet the following criteria:
- Revenue of at least US $100.000 generated in 2018;
- Revenue of at least US $1.5mn generated in 2021;
- The company is independent (the company is not a subsidiary or branch office of any kind);
- The company’s operational headquarters are located in one of the African countries; and
- The revenue growth between 2018 and 2021 was primarily organic (i.e. “internally” stimulated).
The FT added that countries that do not use the dollar to express revenues had to provide the average local currency value equivalent over the relevant fiscal year.
Additionally, all countries in the African continent were eligible to participate.
“The ranking of Africa’s fastest-growing companies in 2023 was created through a complex procedure.
“Although the search was very extensive, the ranking does not claim to be complete, as some companies did not want to make their figures public or did not participate for other reasons,” noted the FT.