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FB Roundup: Volkswagen’s Porsche IPO, Buffett’s alternative energy group, Swedish billionaires’ African tech VC fund

In this week’s FB Roundup, Volkswagen is looking to float its Porsche brand in a potential IPO; Family offices are investing in a Buffett-led alternative energy group; and a Swedish billionaire fund backs new African tech VC investment.
Volkswagen looking to float Porsche brand in potential IPO

Volkswagen looking to float Porsche brand in potential IPO

Car manufacturer Volkswagen is in “Advanced discussions” to float its Porsche brand in what could result in one of the largest initial public offerings (IPOs) in Germany for years.

VW, the world’s second-largest carmaker by volume released a statement saying that it was in talks with its majority shareholder, Porsche SE - the German holding company owned by the founding family of Ferdinand Porsche.

“For this purpose, Volkswagen AG and Porsche SE negotiated a framework agreement which should form the basis for further steps in the preparation of a potential IPO,” VW said.

Porsche (which has an estimated valued of €200 billion) was first taken into Volkswagen (which has a current market value estimated at €110 billion) in 2012 in a reverse takeover after the sports car icon failed to outright buy VW – paradoxically making Porsche both owned by and an owner of Volkswagen Group.

Porsche SE, which holds 53.3 percent of the ordinary shares of Volkswagen with voting rights for the Porsche and Piëch family, sees itself as a long-term anchor investor of VW.

The value release from the mooted IPO will likely be used by VW to fund its own electrification efforts, having already a committed to spending €52bn on emissions-free models.

Porsche SE confirmed that it would buy ordinary shares in Porsche AG as part of the potential IPO.


Family offices investing in Buffett-led alternative energy group

Numerous family businesses and family offices are banking on i(x) Net Zero, an alternative investment group founded by Warren Buffett’s grandson Howard Warren Buffett.

The US-based company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange sub-market AIM, was founded in 2015 by Buffett with American entrepreneur Trevor Neilson and Swedish businessman Pär Lindström.

Having raised £10.7 million investment capital from the likes of the Canadian Power Corporation financier Desmarais family; ex-head of BlackRock Alternative Advisors Chuck Clarvit and his Clarvit Capital; philanthropist Aileen Getty; Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia; and many more, i(x) Net Zero is able to move forward with its mission to help companies on the road to a net zero carbon footprint.

“It was all about these families having a seat at the table,” said Steve Oyer, CEO of i(x) Net Zero. “The amount of capital they have put into the holding company is dwarfed by the amount of capital they have actually put into the underlying companies.

“That these families bring us deal flow means they have acted as a guiding force for how we have evolved.

“We have about 40 significant families with a real global reach who became our shareholders. And that really propelled us into the next phase of the business,” said Oyer.

The AIM listing was not seen as an exit event for i(x) Net Zero shareholders “But a democratisation event that we talked about from the beginning of the company.”

“From the outset, the founders always believed there was an opportunity to allow for every scale of investor to have access to institutional-quality returns with scalable impact, with the alignment of interest embedded in a permanently capitalised holding company that is now publicly traded,” said Oyer.

“You’ll see us continue to grow our companies, integrate opportunities and be selective about expansion. Institutions want to take larger stakes in the opportunities that we’re building, because they believe in the same type of long-term scenarios that we see in areas like energy transition.”


Swedish billionaire fund backs new African tech VC investment

The Norrsken Foundation, a fund set up in 2016 to assist next-gen tech entrepreneurs by Swedish billionaire Niklas Adalberth, is expanding its mainly European focus to Africa.

Adalberth, the co-founder of leading European payments company Klarna Bank (which is valued at around $46 billion), along with family office investment group Ramsbury Invest, the Swedish government’s venture capital firm Saminvest and others have announced a new $200 million Norrsken22 fund aimed at up-and-coming African tech entrepreneurs.

“Africa has the youngest continent in the world,” said The Norrsken Foundation’s managing partner Natalie Kolbe ”60% of the population is under the age of 25. Technology is enabling us to leapfrog a lot of legacy industries and that presents huge investment opportunities.”

Investors in the Norrsken22 fund include such successful entrepreneurs as Atomico’s Niklas Zennström; iZettle AB’s Jacob de Geer; Delivery Hero’s Niklas Ostberg; Mojang’s Carl Manneh and many more.

The Norrsken22 fund is a ten-year series B and C venture capital fund with managers aiming to invest in fintech, medtech and edtech.

“Most high-net-worth individuals and family offices who provide capital are looking for something different,” said Kolbe. “They understand the technology trajectory, they understand that Africa has potential and they are willing to put some of their capital at risk to realise that potential.”

The Norrsken Africa team predominately operate in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana, Africa’s main tech hubs: “70% of the capital that goes into the tech space goes into these markets. The other big market is Egypt, which we are looking at,” Kolbe said. “There’s so much activity happening in this space. It’s like drinking from a firehose. It’s at times overwhelming but it’s a good problem to have. Our job is to pick the best of the best and ensure that we’re directing our resources well.”

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