As part of the new fund, AYO will allocate ZAR200 million (US$12.7 million) each year to help qualifying companies, organisations and entrepreneurs scale their businesses.
Half of the fund is to be allocated to South African companies of which 50 per cent will be geared to specifically supporting black-owned startups. The other half will be apportioned to companies founded and operated on the wider African continent.
The announcement was made at the Fast Company SA Most Innovative Companies Awards evening by AYO chairperson advocate Wallace Mgoqi and the AYO Technology and Innovation Fund’s head of talent Snow Mokgalabone, who also oversees the AYO Academy.
“There are thousands of brilliant business ideas out there, but the sad reality is that few make it to the big time. The necessary funds to take these ideas from bud to blossom and then fruit, can often be in short supply,” said Advocate Wallace Mgoqi.
“Which is why AYO has committed to launching an annual fund aimed at supporting as many bright ideas and innovations as possible. With this, AYO can help turn ideas into action.”
AYO will invest in organisations that are creating new technologies or using existing ones in novel ways to solve pressing business and everyday needs.
The investment firm said that there will be strict criteria and appropriate due diligence measures, while the fund is aimed at providing second round funding opportunities for companies that have a proof of concept and are ready to scale.
AYO said it realised that the ongoing success of investee companies would depend not just on an injection of money but also professional assistance and support.
“AYO will, therefore, use its stable of companies to offer beneficiaries a variety of opportunities for self and business acceleration, through access to professionals, services and marketplaces within the group. Investee companies will also be in a position to offer their own skills and support to companies within the greater AYO group,” said the tech firm.