Newtown Partners – South African Investment Company
Newtown Partners is a South African venture capital firm that invests primarily in the technology industry, focusing emerging early-stage startups that concentrate on blockchain technology.
Overview of Newtown Partners
Newtown Partners was founded by South African entrepreneurs Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen on the set of the Dragon’s Den South Africa reality show in 2014. The two entrepreneurs both have well-established track records in the tech industry. Lingham and Claasen have successfully started, developed, and sold several tech startups throughout their careers prior to Newtown Partners.
Newtown Partners operates from its headquarters in Century City, Cape Town in South Africa. The company also has Silicon Valley offices in Mountain View, California. The company has made a range of investments in South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom as well.
Since it was launched, Newtown Partners has invested in identity management, augmented reality, financial services, cybersecurity, media, and eSports companies. Some of the company’s most notable investments are:
• OVEX – In 2019, Newtown Partners became the lead investor in OVEX, a cryptocurrency exchange company based in Cape Town, South Africa.
• Augmentors – Augmentors was founded in 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. Newtown Partners was the lead investor in the seed investment round in 2018 in which USD 1 million was raised to create an augmented reality game.
• Wala – A London-based fintech company that was launched in 2015 and built a community-driven personal financial management tool. Newtown Partners was the lead investor in the venture investment round in 2017.
• SweepSouth – This Sandown, South Africa-based e-commerce home service company connects domestic cleaners with clients by means of a digital booking platform. Newtown Partners was an investor during the seed investment round in 2016 when USD 600,000 was raised. SweepSouth is the first startup from South Africa accepted by 500 Startups’ seed program in San Francisco.
Newtown Partners also made a significant investment in Bloomable. Previously known as SA Florist, Bloomable was ranked by Fast Company Magazine as one of the top 25 most innovative companies in South Africa.
Newtown Partners in the News
Ventureburn reported in January 2019 that Newtown Partners would be shifting focus to offshore investment because of the many economic and political challenges faced by the South African marketplace. Managing partner Llew Claasen said that the company would be looking at investment options in Europe and Asia from its offices in the United States. Despite a shift towards foreign shores, Newtown Partners is also reported to continue large-scale investment in South African SMEs. In February 2019, News24 featured an article reporting that Newtown Partners would be working with LionPride Investment Holdings to make a section 12J investment fund of ZAR 500 million available in the near future. The goal of this fund is to give South Africans the opportunity to make an impact on international technology markets.