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News > Private Equity > Fundraising

Ethos launches AI Fund and makes first investments

Anna Lyudvig
Nov. 6, 2018, 8:57 p.m.
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Ethos has announced the first close and first two investments by its maiden AI fund, the first of its kind fund in South Africa focused on artificial intelligence technology.

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Ethos has announced the first close and first two investments by its maiden AI fund, the first of its kind fund in South Africa focused on artificial intelligence technology.

The Fund is targeting R1bn and already has R600m from first close investors, including Ethos Capital and Standard Bank.  

The Fund has been established in partnership with Nic Kohler and Roger Grobler, both former insurance industry CEOs.  

Stuart MacKenzie, Ethos CEO, said: “As part of Ethos’ ongoing evolution into alternative assets, we are delighted to launch the AI Fund, in partnership with Nic and Roger. This Fund will co-invest alongside other Ethos-managed Funds, originate proprietary investments, and is expected to generate differentiated value for our investors by helping our portfolio companies to navigate and benefit from artificial intelligence.”

The Ethos AI Fund is unique in the region and puts us at the leading edge of an exciting secular growth theme. Artificial Intelligence technology is developing rapidly and is of deep strategic interest to us given its potential to drive the economic fortunes of nations. The Ethos AI Fund I will play a pivotal role in creating strong Artificial Intelligence capabilities within our portfolio companies, enabling them to make better, data-driven decisions, adapt accordingly and thrive,” added MacKenzie.

Roger Grobler, Ethos AI Fund partner, said the Fund’s aim is to identify and invest in businesses, which will benefit disproportionately from artificial intelligence – specifically algorithmic decision making.  

“These algorithms typically help companies make high-frequency decisions in multiple places along the value chain.  As these decisions are not ideally suited to human capabilities – typically due to computational complexity and volume of data utilised – the use of algorithms releases intellectual capacity, allowing people to focus on other rewarding areas of work, such as creativity, relationships, strategy or communication,” he said.

Commenting on the Fund’s first investments, Nic Kohler, Ethos AI Fund partner said: “With R600m in first-close commitments, we have already successfully concluded two investments: Channel VAS in the fintech sector and Vertice, an Ethos-established medtech group.” 

“Channel VAS already deploys industry leading algorithmic decision making, and we will assist them to diversify and expand their product offering. Vertice seeks to disrupt the Medtech value chain by leveraging AI to enable smarter decision making,” he said.
 
The Channel VAS and Vertice investments have been made alongside Ethos Fund VII and Ethos Fund VI.
 
Ethos has successfully concluded 11 investments in the past year and over 100 since 1984, has over 30 Investment and value add professionals operating on the ground in Sub-Saharan Africa making it the most established fund manager in the region. 
 
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