Strive Masiyiwa, who runs firms including Africa’s largest fiber-optic cable network, plans to raise as much as US$500 million to expand his digital infrastructure and services businesses.
The tycoon’s Cassava Technologies will tap investors including venture capital firm C5 Capital Management for the financing plan, says Hardy Pemhiwa, chief executive officer at Cassava.
The company has signed a deal to raise US$50 million from C5 Capital. Masiyiwa, who sits on the Netflix board, wants to tap the tech-savvy and young population in the world’s second-largest continent by expanding his businesses from providing cybersecurity to payment services in a region that lacks digital infrastructure. Demand for higher-speed internet and data storage is increasing in Africa as millions of people get connected, mostly using their mobile phones.
Cassava wants to “really ensure that Africa has got a technology company of continental scale that can stand up among, you know, the giants,” Pemhiwa said. That’s “something that Africa has never had,” he said.
Masiyiwa announced in November that certain assets including Econet’s fiber-broadband networks and data centers would be folded into a separate entity to form Cassava.
The firm already generates almost US$1 billion of revenue a year, said Pemhiwa. Cassava plans to use the funds to expand businesses such as the one that manages Econet’s 110,000 kilometers of fiber, cloud computing and nine data centers with another 10 coming over the next three years, said Pemhiwa.
ALSO READ | How Strive Masiyiwa is plotting to corner Africa’s next gold rush: data centres