Lucid Ventures, a venture capital company launched earlier this year, has announced its first investment by acquiring a 20% stake in Jamie Oliver’s signature restaurant chain ‘Jamie’s Italian’ in South Africa.
Jordin Borer, Analyst at Lucid Ventures, said: “This comes on the back of two successful food ventures namely, Salsa Mexican Grill (which has subsequently been sold to Famous Brands) and Salud in which we have chosen to partner with the very same people who share our Jamie’s venture.”
“Unfortunately we cannot disclose the amount [invested], however the quantum is significant and raises the benchmark for South African domiciled restaurants. We have no doubt that this will manifest itself in the quality of the restaurant design and the experience that comes with it,” he told Africa Global Funds.
Jamie’s Italian operates 65 restaurants in 17 countries around the world.
The first South African restaurant will open in Melrose Arch in November, with plans to open a further four restaurants over the next few years.
“Jamie is arguably the world’s best loved celebrity chef. He has become a household name in South Africa and his love, passion and verve for food is very much aligned to our own values. The opportunity to translate that, into an affordable, accessible and traditional Italian restaurant really appealed to us. We also have plans to extend the brand nationally and we look forward to sharing the Jamie’s ethos with the South African market,” said Borer.
Lucid Ventures was launched earlier this year by kulula.com founder Gidon Novick and has been in operation for nine months.
Lucid is an FSB approved fund where its investor base benefits from a section 12J SARS income tax incentive.
“We have a very small pool of investors. They comprise mainly of high net worth individuals who want to gain exposure to the attractive private equity asset class. The founding members hold the majority of our fund and we also have a significant South African financial services institution onboard,” commented Borer.
The inventive was put in place to encourage investment in qualifying new ventures and high growth SME’s in the country.
Investors get a full deduction of their investment against taxable income.
Lucid has an initial capital base of R80m and an investor group comprising experienced and successful South African entrepreneurs.
Borer said: “We are humbled by the brilliant entrepreneurs and businesses that we are being exposed to. In addition to this, our investors will be entitled to an annual section 12J tax deduction for further contributions into our fund. Our preliminary gauge of investor appetite is very comforting and this warrants us to raise further capital.”
The initial focus of the fund is on businesses in the fast growing casual dining and hospitality sectors.
“Our involvement in investee companies extends beyond financial capital. Our unique value add is the human and intellectual capital that the fund and its investors offer. We partner with entrepreneurs to enable them to grow their businesses and we make significant contributions to the value chain,” said Borer.
Borer said that on this basis, the company initially targets eight investments.
“We are actively engaged with a number of potential investee companies and we continue to navigate the landscape in search of more opportunities,” he added.