OUR HISTORY

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KNIFE FUND I: HBD Venture Capital

Knife Capital was established in 2010 as the incarnation of the South African venture capital division of ‘Here Be Dragons’ – a privately owned emerging market investment group founded by internet entrepreneur and cosmonaut Mark Shuttleworth. Knife Capital took over the management of seven HBD portfolio companies to create a managed fund. Exits include CSense (Analytics Software) to US technology giant General Electric, Fundamo (Mobile Financial Services) to VISA and orderTalk (online food ordering software) to Uber Eats.

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GRINDSTONE : ACCELERATOR

The Knife Capital team launched the Grindstone Accelerator, a structured entrepreneurship programme, in 2013. The mission was to provide the opportunity for earlier stage South African tech start-ups to benefit from the Knife Capital learnings. With a curriculum designed by Knife Capital, the programme takes South African SMES with proven traction through an intensive year-long review of their strategies and provides them with the necessary support to build a foundation for growth In becoming a more investable, sustainable and marketable company while ensuring exit-readiness.

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KNIFE FUND II: KNF Ventures

Section 12J of the Income Tax Act was introduced by the South African Government to encourage South African taxpayers to invest in local companies and receive a 100% tax deduction of the value of their investment. In 2016, Knife Capital launched KNF Ventures, a SARS Section 12J Venture Capital Company (VCC), becoming Knife’s Fund II. By leveraging Knowledge, Networks & Funding, KNF Ventures accelerates the growth of South African innovation-driven SMEs and generates enhanced returns for investors.

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UK EXPANSION

Knife Capital introduces the Draper-Gain Family Office as strategic investor and expands to the UK to accelerate the international growth of portfolio companies.

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KNIFE FUND II: EXTENSION

Knife launched a second Section 12J Venture Capital Company to extend the offering. KNF Ventures II has the same investment mandate as the first section 12J Fund and will continue to build on the success and momentum created. For more information about this fund please contact invest@knifecap.com

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KNIFE FUND III:

In 2021, Knife launched Knife Fund III, a new $50 million fund to invest behind the aggressive expansion of South African breakout companies that achieved a product/market fit, thereby filling a critical follow-on funding gap. For more information about this fund please contact invest@knifecap.com.

OUR TEAM

PARTNER | CAPE TOWN

Keet van Zyl

PARTNER | LONDON

Eben van Heerden

PARTNER | JERSEY

Davey Gant

Partner | London

Julien Draper

GROUP CFO | CAPE TOWN

Vivienne van der Westhuizen

HEAD OF LEGAL | CAPE TOWN

Martin Cloete

SENIOR ASSOCIATE | CAPE TOWN

Johnathan Smit

INVESTMENT ANALYST | CAPE TOWN

Ayanda Bolani

INVESTMENT ANALYST | CAPE TOWN

Karabo Modingwane

COMPLIANCE MANAGER | CAPE TOWN

Clorin Kayster

 VENTURE PARTNERS

Richard Dewing

Richard Dewing

Richard Dewing is an Entrepreneur, Investor and CEO and Co-Founder of various technology businesses with a focus on investment and development of technology businesses with global market appeal. Richard has successfully launched and led technology and related businesses for over 20 years and has worked extensively in the field across the globe in both developed and developing countries from South America, the USA, across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pac, Australia and most extensively across Africa. As a Venture Partner, Richard adds a broad range of expertise and experience to the Knife Capital offering. Richard also serves on the Investment Committee for both KNF Fund I and II.
Mike Joubert

Mike Joubert

Over a 30 year plus career, Mike has held various executive roles including CMO of Computicket, Strategic Marketing Director of Ogilvy, CMO of Diageo South Africa, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. South Africa, Vice President of Marketing for Levi Strauss & Co. in Europe and Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa. In addition he also founded and successfully sold The BrandsRock Group to the Publicis Groupe gaining invaluable entrepreneurial experience. Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Knife Capital fold as a Venture Partner which is put to good use across the portfolio as and when needed. Mike also serves as Chairman of the Board of KNF I portfolio company Quicket.

 VENTURE PARTNERS

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Richard Dewing

Richard Dewing is an Entrepreneur, Investor and CEO and Co-Founder of various technology businesses with a focus on investment and development of technology businesses with global market appeal. Richard has successfully launched and led technology and related businesses for over 20 years and has worked extensively in the field across the globe in both developed and developing countries from South America, the USA, across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pac, Australia and most extensively across Africa. As a Venture Partner, Richard adds a broad range of expertise and experience to the Knife Capital offering. Richard also serves on the Investment Committee for both KNF Fund I and II.
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Mike Joubert

Over a 30 year plus career, Mike has held various executive roles including CMO of Computicket, Strategic Marketing Director of Ogilvy, CMO of Diageo South Africa, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. South Africa, Vice President of Marketing for Levi Strauss & Co. in Europe and Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa. In addition he also founded and successfully sold The BrandsRock Group to the Publicis Groupe gaining invaluable entrepreneurial experience. Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Knife Capital fold as a Venture Partner which is put to good use across the portfolio as and when needed. Mike also serves as Chairman of the Board of KNF I portfolio company Quicket.

EXTERNAL  BOARD & IC MEMBERS

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Thiru Pather

Investment Principal at SA SME Fund.
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Conrad Amm

Director of Skybound Capital Group.
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Abraham van der Merwe

Successful South African serial tech entrepreneur.
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Nchaupe Khaole

Chief Investment Officer at the Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC).
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Gerbrand Bothma

CEO of SME Group Plc.
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Valter Adão

CEO and Digital Leader for Cadena Growth Partners, a digital and innovation advisory firm and former Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Deloitte Africa.
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Richard Dewing

CEO of Cibecs.
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Chris Seabrooke

A director of over 25 stock exchange-listed companies and currently serves as CEO of Sabvest.
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Peter Gain

Chairman of Draper Gain Investments Ltd and a director of various privately held investment companies around the world.
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Francois Malan

Applied geophysicist at the Institute of Mine Seismology.

INVESTMENT & COLLABORATION PARTNERS

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Partner

Skybound Capital is a fund management business, providing investment products for family offices, private clients, financial advisors and Institutions. Skybound is an investor in KNF Ventures.
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Partner

The SA SME Fund is a Fund of Funds created to help companies grow and create jobs in South Africa. SA SME is an investor in KNF Ventures, Grindstone and Knife Fund III.
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Partner

A member of the World Bank Group, IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. The IFC is an LP in Knife Fund III.
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Partner

The Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) is a 100% Black-owned Investment Company established in 1995 by the Mineworkers Investment Trust (MIT). MIC is the anchor LP in Knife Fund III.
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Partner

Knife Capital is closely affiliated with Draper Gain Investments, a single family office based in London.
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Partner

Standard Bank Group is a major South African bank and financial services group. It is Africa’s biggest lender by assets. Standard Bank is an LP in Knife Fund III.
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Partner

Knife Capital is a member of SAVCA and Andrea Böhmert is a SAVCA Board Member.
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Partner

Knife Capital has a close relationship with Stanford Business School and has a longstanding annual intern programme which takes on MBA students every SA summer.
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Partner

Thinkroom Consulting is a management consultancy firm, headquartered in Olifantsfontein, South Africa. Knife Capital is closely affiliated with Thinkroom, co-owning and managing Grindstone and Grindstone Ventures.
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Partner

SiMODiSA aims to be the golden thread that connects SA’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Keet is on the ExCo.
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Partner

Andrea Böhmert is on the Board of Wesgro – the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.
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Partner

Knife Capital has a close relationship with Harvard Business School/Harvard Kennedy School and has a longstanding annual intern programme which takes on MBA students every SA summer.