Naspers has injected 34 million Rand into insuretech company Ctrl. This is the first insuretech investment for Naspers Foundry. Founded in 2017, Ctrl connects consumers, brokers, and insurers in one platform. Joining CNBC Africa to shed more light on this investment is Fabian Whate, the head of Naspers foundry. Full interview transcript follows.
Fabian Whate Yeah, so firstly, thanks so much bV for having me on the show. Much appreciated something a lot of the you know, like a lot of the the tech sector in South Africa, Ctrl is a mostly a b2b focused business. And so they don’t, you know, there’s there’s not a big sort of consumer-facing presence, which is, which would explain why they’ve never come up with your potentially why they’ve never come up on your radar.
Fifi Peters Because I was looking at the description of what you had bought, and the statement that you issued, and the picture that came to mind about this business was a hippo.co.za So would that be the most accurate description of what you bought here, or the most closest competitor?
Fabian Whate Yeah, so I think there’s there’s definitely a few players in the market who are doing things that that look somewhat similar, and not to take anything away from, from those indirect competitors, we do see Ctrl as, as as quite a unique animal. So I’ll give you a bit of a bit of a flavor of what it is controlled as. So Ctrl, as you mentioned, this is an insurer tech business. And they basically are a marketplace that connects insurers. On the one side. On the other side, you’ve got consumers, and and in the middle, you’ve got traditional insurance brokers, as well as large consumer facing businesses who are looking to cross sell insurance. So I think it’s it’s, yeah, it’s somewhat different to hippo.
Fifi Peters And then can you give us a sense of how this company has performed since it first opened? its doors physical or virtual? But what kind of growth? Have we seen over the years? What is the existing client or customer base presently?
Fabian Whate Yeah, so we, I mean, it’s hard for me to share exact data given the company’s private and that information is not publicly available. But what I can say is, is that the company’s customer base, and this comprises, as I said, mostly large sort of enterprises, as well as smaller traditional brokers, that customer base has grown multiples over the last couple of years.
Fifi Peters Alright, being shown the numbers, so the numbers that you have given is the 34 million Rand that you’re injecting into the business. Perhaps I was incorrect and calling this an acquisition. What exactly is this? And how does the ownership structure change with this injection?
Fabian Whate Yeah. So Naspers Foundry is a minority equity investor, right? So we don’t have as you rightly pointed out, we don’t do acquisitions, but rather, we invest in businesses, and we’ve back phenomenal founders to continue to run and expand those businesses. And that’s exactly what we’ve done in the case of Ctrl. We’ve injected 34 million Rand into the business and and for that 34 million Rand we will become a a minority, equity holder shareholder within that business, along with other shareholders, which includes the founders, which continue to own the bulk of the business. And then our co shareholder is is Santam in this business. So yeah, and with that 34 million Rand, the core focus is on growing the business and particularly expanding the team in the areas of tech in the areas of customer service, further marketing spend, and also the businesses looking to expand from serving not only consumers, but also commercial SME customers. So those are some of the uses of of the proceeds of the transaction.
Fifi Peters Okay, interesting. So just in terms of the future and what it does look like with yourselves and some time as you mentioned, as as a partner, so this gross Can you perhaps give us a little more details as to how it will be? achieved and what you’re hoping to achieve over what timeframe?