Businesses are developing all over Africa. Entrepreneurship is spreading at a rapid rate. Yet, building a business to leverage both its profit and its purpose requires expertise. Expertise that must be in place at the right time.
As a business grows, it becomes vulnerable, both internally as ecosystems adapt to larger scale operating requirements, and externally as potential investors appraise the company and its owners. Building a great company is about more than money.
Maizonn offers the support of a tight-knit team of multidisciplinary experts with a proven track record in assisting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa and internationally to achieve their vision (and an appreciation for good tea, coffee and wine). Experience gained in the establishment of their own successful business ventures, as well as a 4-year collaborative journey that gave birth to Maizonn, is shared with like-minded clients and investors. Highly rated intellectual capital and personal networks is what differentiates us.
The company identifies and invests in high-growth, capital-constrained opportunities that generate premium returns for shareholders.
LESSON LEARNED: PLANNING IS EVERYTHING.
In mid-2014, David Stoltz and Evan Matthee, co-founders of SM Squared, were delivering strategic CFO, Business Advisory and Merger & Acquisition support services to businesses looking to raise equity finance (whilst both drinking good coffee). Through a mutual client, David met business consultant Willem du Toit and, based on an immediate mutual respect, the two knowingly shook hands as they arranged to meet again (with the introduction of sushi and wine).
At the time, Willem du Toit and Jean Groenewald were finalising a partnership to establish a global investment holding company with a venture capital and private equity bias (and a lot of coffee). Greenwold Capital was born and, towards the end of 2014, Willem actively sought potential investment opportunities to launch their portfolio.
Willem recognized David’s rare skill set, proven track record in the venture capital space and proficiency at vetting businesses with high growth potential. He did this whilst minimising the inherent venture capital risks by utilising the strategic CFO and business advisory services offered by SM Squared. Another lunch (salad and sushi), another idea sharing session.
David introduced Willem to Supa Pesa, a mobile VAS services provider in Africa, which was in the final stages of acquisition by Via Media, a Blue Label Telecoms Group company. David was driving the negotiation of the commercial terms with the support of Supa Pesa’s legal advisor, Samantha Ramkissoon, who operated her own legal advisory firm (and drank Tea, a welcome change to the coffee and wine).
The Via Media acquisition of Supa Pesa was successfully concluded in March 2015, and a deal was structured with the Supa Pesa founder, Harm Fourie, who subsequently provided an exit for the minority shareholders to sell a portion of their stake in Supa Pesa to Greenwold Capital in June 2015.
The Greenwold Capital and Supa Pesa deal was the catalyst for a series of (Steak and Shiraz) bonding sessions in the Winelands to formulate strategy around the roll out of Supa Pesa across Africa, amongst other investment opportunities. And so the collaboration strengthened.
By the end of 2015, Willem and David had plans to form a support business for high growth companies in Africa, and Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists looking for viable investment opportunities. The result is MAIZONN – a powerful partnership of unique individuals combining their skills, networks and capital – which was registered in April 2016 (Champagne).
In 2016, the year saw Maizonn incorporate Maizonn SA, Maizonn Capital and Maizonn Transaction Partners, and several investments were made in high growth businesses (more Shiraz). An investment in a telecoms service provider, saw the introduction of further investors, the first (of many) being Andre Kriel, who contributed bridging finance to help David and Harm conclude their investment, which lead to Andre taking an equity stake in Maizonn.
And so the Maizonn story continues – Jean, Willem, Harm, Sam, Evan and David form a dynamic entrepreneurial team, drawn together by respect and trust – and an overriding passion for propelling businesses to achieve exponential growth (Champagne … Armand de Brignac Brut Gold).