Imperial, the JSE-listed logistics group, has partnered with early-stage venture capital firm Newtown Partners to launch a corporate venture capital fund focused on investing its start-ups in the logistics space.
The fund, which has an initial investment of US$20-million (R323-million at the time of writing), will “identify, invest in and nurture disruptive, innovative technology start-ups that present high-growth potential in the global supply chain and logistics technology stack”, the companies said in a statement.
Newtown Partners, which has offices in Cape Town and California, will support Imperial’s strategic investment in key areas set to disrupt its business in the next five to 10 years, said Newtown co-founder and general partner Vinny Lingham.
“This programme will contribute to the long-term success of the organisation by identifying and leveraging start-ups deploying emerging technologies and business models in key geographical and logistics service areas,” he said.
Newtown Partners will work closely with portfolio start-up companies that the fund invests in. The innovation fund is operationally separate from Imperial, ensuring portfolio start-ups are not “hamstrung by corporate red tape”.
“As is typical in corporate venture capital, the fund has the objective of generating attractive financial returns together with a strategic underpinning relevant to the core business of Imperial.”
‘Innovation is critical’
Newtown Partners was founded by Lingham and Llew Claasen, who serves as its managing partner.
“Imperial operates in an environment that is constantly exposed to disruptors and one where innovation is critical. Partnering with Newtown Partners on this innovation fund helps position us ahead of future competitors, enabling a strategic response to emerging technologies and business models,” said Imperial CEO Mohammed Akoojee. – © 2020 NewsCentral Media