CAPE TOWN, South Africa, 2nd May 2019 –The Cortex Group is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) focused holding company building value in the IR4.0 Economy on a local, regional and global scale. Already home to the successful Cortex Logic, an African Artificial Intelligence (AI) Software and Solutions company that helps businesses thrive in the Smart Technology Era, Cortex Ventures will be Africa’s one-stop-shop for AI focused start-ups and scale-ups looking for early or growth stage funding coupled to the opportunity to uniquely tap into the Cortex Group’s technical advisory, AI application development capabilities and co-working space.
Dr Jacques Ludik, recipient of the AI Leader of the Year 2019 award and Cortex Group CEO & Founder said, “The AI play is so large that we decided to create a Venture Capital company that would only focus on companies, innovators and entrepreneurs working with AI based technologies that leverage data science, machine learning or deep learning in their stack. The world of artificial intelligence is seeing an explosion of new companies requiring investment and we intend to fill that gap, especially those seeking early stage funding, which is traditionally seen as higher risk by more traditional VCs and investment entities such as Banks, Angel or Private Investors.
Fellow entrepreneur and 20-year tech veteran, Dr Nick Bradshaw,who will be heading up Cortex Ventures stated, “There has never been a better time to be a tech entrepreneur in the AI space. Many of the things you could only dream of doing in this space two to three years ago are now possible and access to free or cost-effective resources via open source, APIs and Cloud providers such as Microsoft, AWS, Google and IBM is making this happen. As a VC focusing on both early and growth stage businesses we are supplementing the traditional support a VC can offer with unique access to AI developers and data scientists, product advisory services and a FREE co-working space so that we can be close to the companies and partners we are working with, ultimately making them succeed”.
“Embracing AI in South Africa is critical as it brings immense opportunity and we anticipate it to be one of the most disruptive technologies in human history. Microsoft’s latest research into the adoption of AI in business shows that 37.8% of high-growth companies are actively implementing AI. It’s great to see new players like the Cortex Group and Cortex Ventures helping clients shift towards digital transformation and creating new opportunities for companies of tomorrow. As companies are relying more on AI, it is freeing up business leaders to focus on other activities. Realising the true benefit of AI is not simply about being fast adopters of innovative technology. Every company needs to think of itself as a digital company”, said Lillian Barnard, Managing Director at Microsoft South Africa.
James Milne, Head of Investment Promotion Wesgro and Zimkhita Buwa, Chief Operating Officer at Britehouse, who both sit on the Board of The Silicon Cape, South Africa stated, “Cortex Ventures will add significantly to the tech landscape in South Africa and more broadly Africa and we applaud what the team at the Cortex Group are doing to create inclusive, earlier stage funding opportunities in the Artificial Intelligence sector both locally and nationally”.
Ludik concluded, “Africa can really benefit from leveraging cutting-edge 4th Industrial Revolution technologies and we as a community need to identify the gaps to create an AI pipeline for growth. Investment funding plays a big role in making this happen and we see collaboration with other VCs, incubators, accelerators, academia, industry and government as key to job creation and economic growth. Cortex Ventures will play an important role in this helping shape a better future for all”.
Bradshaw concluded, “As a call to action, we invite AI focused start-ups and scale-ups to take part in our “Click-2-Pitch Challenge”. It’s a very simply application process that we use to invite candidate companies to submit and join our program for investment and advice. Its free to apply and all applications are reviewed by our investment team for the opportunity to pitch for investment. It does not matter if you are at pre-MVP, MVP, pre-revenue or post-revenue stage – we look at all proposals and advise accordingly. We are already screening deals and welcome all submissions from anywhere on the African continent”.
ABOUT CORTEX GROUP
The Cortex Group works across multiple business and industry domains to develop cutting edge intelligent systems and AI driven companies / platforms that leverage our unique mix of IP, access to funding, technology, people, partners and extensive community.The Cortex Group is made up of six brands each focusing on a different part of the AI Ecosystem namely; Asset Management, FinTech, Health, AI Products, AI focused VC Investments and a Portfolio of AI powered platform businesses that we have partnered with or invested in. The Cortex Ventures Click-2-Pitch Challenge is now open to any African based start-up or scale-up focusing on AI who is seeking seed or growth stage funding. Learn more at www.cortexgroup.ai
Amila Africa Launches Amila Insights
Amila Africa Founder, Lethabo Sithole
Amila Africa is thrilled to announce the launch of Amila Insights, a revolutionary division that is committed to providing advanced analytics, research and comprehensive solutions for businesses, governments, and international organisations looking to achieve success in African markets. The company offers a range of services, including syndicated market intelligence reports, customized research solutions, high-level market access events, content development, and value communication.
As a budding pan-African and women-led advisory firm specialising in policy, enterprise and infrastructure development within the trade, investment and energy sectors, Amila Africa brings unparalleled expertise to the forefront with the launch of Amila Insights.
“With a focus on demystifying development trends and delivering data-driven analyses of opportunities across Africa, Amila Insights serves as the strategic partner organisations need to thrive in the region” said Lethabo Sithole, Managing Director of Amila Africa. “Our suite of services is meticulously designed to empower clients with the tools and knowledge necessary to drive growth and achieve sustainable success.”
With a steadfast commitment to collaboration and partnership, Amila Insights collaborates closely with clients to develop tailored solutions aligned with their specific goals and priorities. “By leveraging its extensive network and deep understanding of local dynamics, Amila Insights assists clients in identifying new opportunities, enhancing competitiveness, and optimising business strategies,” said Noluthando Mthonti-Mlambo, Executive Director at Amila Insights.
Amila Insights strives to be more than just a provider of information and data to clients. It aims to challenge the existing narratives on Africa, African businesses, countries, and multilateral organizations and become a trusted source of inspiration and change.
For businesses, governments, and international organisations seeking to unlock the vast potential of African markets, Amila Insights represents a compelling opportunity to gain useful insights into the complex, evolving and growing African market. With a focus on excellence and a dedication to delivering tangible results, Amila Insights stands ready to be the trusted partner organisation to rely on to navigate the dynamic landscape of African business.
African Guarantee Fund partners FSD Africa to boost Green SME Financing
The African Guarantee Fund (AGF), a leader in promoting financing of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Africa and FSD Africa, a pioneering development agency committed to reshaping Africa’s long-term financial landscape, have today signed a strategic Cooperation Agreement aimed at propelling the growth of Green SMEs by providing critical financial support, technical assistance, and capacity building.
The Cooperation Agreement outlines a detailed framework collaboration between the organizations in boosting sustainable development in Africa. The main aspects of this partnership involve assisting in the development of financial products for institutions, offering partial credit guarantees for bonds and funds raised on behalf of SMEs, and conducting capacity-building events.
Furthermore, by providing financial support and fostering business growth, Green SMEs are expected to play a pivotal role in reducing CO2 emissions. This active contribution aligns with the overarching goal of preserving the environment and facilitates access to finance for business growth and empowering SMEs to generate and sustain employment opportunities, especially for youth and women.
Speaking during the agreement signing, Mark Napier, Chief Executive Officer of FSD Africa said: “This partnership represents an important milestone in our efforts to foster sustainable economic development in Africa. By leveraging the strengths of FSD Africa and the African Guarantee Fund, we will actively create a robust ecosystem that empowers Green SMEs. This collaborative effort aims at facilitating access to affordable long-term funds, thereby accelerating the transition towards a greener and more resilient economy.”
Jules Ngankam, AGF Group Chief Executive Officer said: “Fostering a green economic transformation in Africa is one of our key priorities. Through this partnership, AGF will provide financial institutions with bank fundraising guarantees to enable them access affordable funds aimed at facilitating loans to SMEs investing in low carbon and climate resilient businesses”.
Additionally, AGF will extend partial credit guarantees to lenders in a bid to enhance credit accessibility for Green SMEs, empowering them to flourish and make meaningful contributions to environmental conservation.
The two organisations will also provide technical assistance on green financing initiatives, which is critical in building the capacity of key stakeholders such as Governments, Financial Institutions, and Green SMEs.
Africa Finance Corporation Appoints Emeka Emuwa as Chairman of Board
Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the continent’s leading instrumental infrastructure solutions provider, today announces the appointment of Mr. Emeka Emuwa as Chairman of its Board of Directors. Mr. Emuwa brings a wealth of experience spread over three decades leading and transforming banking institutions across Africa. After completing a sterling 25-year career with Citibank where he left as the Country Officer and Managing Director of Citibank in Nigeria, he went on to serve as the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank of Nigeria.
In this role, he led the bank’s transformation and worked successfully with the new shareholders to transform and restore one of Nigeria’s oldest institutions back to its rightful position as a credible and strong provider of financial services. Mr. Emuwa’s extensive experience and unwavering dedication to the advancement of Africa make him a valuable asset to AFC at a time when the Corporation is rapidly expanding its operations across the continent and building partnerships through international collaborations.
He has been a part of AFC’s Board since 2015, previously serving as the Chairman of the Board Risk and Investment Committee, and as a member of the Board Nominations and Governance Committee. He is also the Chairman of Tangerine Financial (U.K.), the holding company for a financial services group providing insurance and pensions solutions across the continent. Mr Emuwa is thus well positioned to oversee and guide AFC on its future strategy and growth aspirations. The Corporation’s mission to accelerate development impact, foster industrialisation, and enhance value capture and retention across the continent through the provision of critical infrastructure, is crucial for African development and prosperity.
Speaking on the appointment, Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of AFC, said: “Mr. Emuwa’s considerable experience, insightful perspectives and immense dedication to Africa’s development seamlessly align with our mission. We are confident that under his continued guidance, AFC will continue to make significant strides in transforming the continent. He brings a deep understanding of Africa’s financial landscape within a global context, and has a clear vision for enabling AFC to further amplify its impact.”
Mr. Emuwa commented on his appointment, saying: “I am deeply honoured to be appointed Chairman of Africa Finance Corporation, an institution that has, over the past 16 years, evolved into the leading infrastructure investor in Africa, delivering transformational projects across pivotal sectors of the economy. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the board, management, and all stakeholders to advance AFC’s mission and strengthen its role as a driving force for economic growth and infrastructure development on the African continent.”