HumanIPO reported on Monday MTN was the cornerstone contributor of US$75 million to Amadeus Capital Partners, which focuses on revenue making technology businesses.
Speaking to HumanIPO in an exclusive interview Anne Glover, Amadeus chief executive officer (CEO), and Jason Pinto, an investment manager at the firm, said it was MTN that approached them concerning investing in the fund and the timing had worked out perfectly.
The markets on the continent they are targeting are Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt.
Pinto said: “For us it was really about finding the right partner. We wanted to find someone with a large and growing network on the continent. It was a happy coincidence when MTN came to us.”
Glover said while they would benefit from the knowledge MTN has, which operates networks in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East, the global company was also looking for ways to deploy more technology products over their networks.
Glover however, was at pains to emphasise MTN’s involvement in the fund would not give them preferential treatment when it comes to carrier partnerships with any of Amadeus’ portfolio companies and they would have very limited input into acquisition decisions, like any other investor in the fund.
She said: “They are a limited partner and as a limited partner they don’t have any role in decision making, but they are a tremendous resource.”
Regarding the kind of companies Amadeus invests in, the pair said they focus on late stage ventures which must be making revenue around US$5 million in revenue.
Investments will often be in the single million area and normally come with a board seat.
The fund however is more focused on exploiting the continent’s growth by using their portfolio companies to target consumers and potential business partners, rather than necessarily investing directly in African ventures.
Glover added: “Our mandate is to find companies that sell into these markets (Africa and other emerging markets), not necessarily companies from these markets.”