Grotech rebrands as Kalon Venture Partners


Section 12J Venture Capital company, Grotech has rebranded as Kalon Venture Partners.  

For the last 18 months, the business did extensive screening of hundreds of companies and three new deals are imminent, with a number of other high growth disruptive digital technology companies in the investment pipeline.

The first of the three deals is a global leader in influencer marketing software, and the first of its kind built in Africa, to provide and supply a transactional exchange for sponsored content. Influencer marketing is rated as the fastest growing online customer acquisition channel beating paid and organic search as well as email marketing. The company is well positioned to grow internationally and has shown significant traction both locally and offshore.

The second company is a digital marketplace that enables anyone to purchase and lease solar panels to commercial scale solar energy projects in emerging economies. The solution utilises an intelligently integrated digital currency payment system and automated blockchain smart contracts that enables transparent and secure lease rental payment streams to globally distributed solar panel owners. The company is domiciled in Delaware, USA, and Kalon will be co-investing with a Silicon Valley based venture capital company with extensive cryptocurrency experience. The company plans to take advantage of an initial coin offering linked to the blockchain to raise further operational funds.

The third investment is SA’s leading cashback coupon app that gives shoppers cash back on their favourite products, wherever they shop, just by snapping a photo of their till slip. In the last 18 months more than 150 000 ‘happy snappers’ have earned over R3.5 million in cashback savings simply by taking a till slip selfie. The company focuses on FMCG brands and retailers and is a marketing and promotion tool to engage today’s mobile savvy shoppers. Kalon is co-investing with one of the largest retail technology and activation companies in Africa. It has a presence on five continents in more than 50 countries and provides services to over 500 000 retailers. The strategy is to launch the product into many countries across the globe.

The Kalon board decided to rebrand to better reflect the vision of being the pre-eminent digital technology venture capital company in Africa by investing in and growing entrepreneurs who solve African and global problems. The revised Kalon mission is to create as much non-financial as financial value, by investing smart capital, supported by smart interventions resulting in enhanced returns for both investors and entrepreneurs.

The eight board members have a track record of building and exiting technology companies, extensive experience in venture capital and a diversity of business building skills. They provide a hands-on approach with all aspects of Kalon investments and dealing with entrepreneurs.

The board comprises tech leaders such as Clive Butkow, former COO of Accenture South Africa and previous lead in its technology business; Gil Oved, a Dragon in the launch series of Dragons Den, a shark on Shark Tank and co-founder of The Creative Counsel, South Africa’s largest advertising agency and Nic Liebmann who co-founded Caleo Capital, a private equity and wealth management group.

Through Section 12J Venture Capital Companies, such as Kalon Venture Partners, the South African government aims to stimulate the economy and promote investment in small and medium-sized businesses, whilst providing tax benefits to investors. The tax relief is linked to an individual’s marginal tax rate which is capped at 45% for individuals and trusts and 28% for companies, which mitigates the investment risk and significantly enhances the potential return. Kalon Venture Partners is targeting returns of more than 30% per annum and a minimum of five times the money invested over five to seven-years.