Forbes recently unveiled its latest Forbes 400 list, revealing the four hundred wealthiest people in the United States. Among the newcomers to the list were South African-born Elon Musk (who founded Tesla Motors and SpaceX) and Chase Coleman.
Most South Africans are familiar with Musk, but the same is not true for Chase Coleman (Charles Payson Coleman III).
Coleman is the founder & CEO of the New York-based hedge fund, Tiger Global Management – and with a net worth of $1.5 billion, he is described by Forbes as “probably the hottest money manager in the world right now”.
Why is Coleman relevant to a South African technology and business publication, you may ask? The reason: he owns a sizable portion of some of the biggest websites in South Africa.
Through his Tiger Global Management fund, Coleman owns shares in South Africa’s largest online auction website, BidorBuy, which in-turn owns 100% of Ubuntu Deal and has a minority stake in PayFast.
Tiger Global further owns a majority shareholding in Private Property, which in-turn has minority stakes in Safari Now and a number of motoring, property and employment businesses in East and West Africa.
The New York hedge fund further owns a majority stake in Takealot. Tiger Global acquired Take2 in 2011, and pumped millions into the business (which included rebranding it to Takealot) with the aim of dominating the South African online retail market.
BidorBuy recently sold Jobs.co.za, in which it had a large stake, to Pnet. It also sold its shares in Jump.co.za to former BidorBuy CEO, Andy Higgins.
It is clear that Tiger Global has a keen interest in South Africa, despite the fact that Coleman does not directly involve himself in the local market (South Africa is the domain of Tiger Global MD, Lee Fixel).
It is clear that Coleman and Tiger Global see South Africa as a strong online market to invest in, and coming from a hedge fund manager which invested early in Facebook and LinkedIn and showed gains of 45% in 2011, he may be right on the money (again).