[Interview] Clive Butkow, CEO, Kalon Venture Partners, South Africa
Clive Butkow founded Kalon Venture Partners in August 2015, a digital disruptive technology VC, to make use of his skills and learnings and to invest in a portfolio of disruptive tech companies. Clive was the ex COO of Accenture South Africa where he worked across the globe building technology startups and working in some of the leading entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Could you tell us what your company does?
Kalon Venture Partners provides growth capital and acquires a minority stake in high growth digital technology companies that provide technology-based solutions with innovative business models.
Kalon invests in startups that have a proven customer base, a good technology offering, are post-revenue and have a large target addressable market. Our disruptive tech funds seek to invest in entrepreneurs solving African problems with the potential to scale into global markets, with a focus on providing smart capital as well as on delivering smart returns.
Kalon has over 300 retail shareholders invested in the funds. We're located in Houghton, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.
Who are your clients?
We have made 5 investments to-date who collectively have hundreds of clients. The five investments are; SmEasy; OZOW (previously IPAY): Flow; SnapnSave and Finchatbot.
What are the company’s USPs?
Kalon’s unique selling points include:
• The most experienced management team in tech VC in South Africa with over 200 years of tech, venture capital, business building experience
• Networks in the South African & global entrepreneurial eco-system
• Access to high quality deal flow
• Understand problems digital technologies solve
• Ability to pick winners & focused investment strategy
How is Kalon Venture Partners funded?
Kalon is funded with investment from over 300 retail investors. The fund is a Section 12J fund under the auspices of the South African Revenue Services where tax payers receive 100% deduction of their investment from their taxable income.
How has the market responded to your services?
The market is excited about having a Johannesburg based venture capital company investing in the disruptive technology space. This is an alternative asset class with expectations of high returns and high impact. Our investors believe they are making a difference by investing in up and coming South African entrepreneurs, helping to fund and grow the SME sector. We invest in growth capital once a business has found a repeatable and scaleable business model. We have experienced good growth in the majority of our companies where we have helped reduce unemployment by hiring a number of new employees.
What are the growth plans of Kalon Venture Partners?
We're looking to grow our networks further into Africa and become Africa’s leading technology VC. We are also looking to raise a large USD based fund servicing the African market. This year our focus is to continue to invest in South Africa’s best scalable technology companies. We are seeking partners for co-investment and look to further expand our strategic networks.
To realize our goals, we need additional funding to invest in exciting opportunities. Kalon is always on the lookout for great Venture Capital and entrepreneurial talent to assist our funds and companies to grow.
What is the latest news from the company?
Kalon recently invested in two exceptional companies, Flow Living, a tenant loyalty platform, in the PropTech space, and FinchatBot, an AI-powered chat and lead bot focused on the financial or FinTech industry.
Flow Living is a platform that connects renters, agents, landlords and neighbourhoods for a seamless rental experience. Through Flow Living, tenants can be incentivised to earn points and rewards for positive and responsible conduct including timeous rental payments.
FinChatBot develop chat bots to help financial service providers acquire & retain customers thanks to AI-powered conversations. FinChatBot manages to dramatically lower the drop off rate traditionally experienced by customers who engage with a call centre.
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