Naspers opens new San Francisco office

2016-05-11 13:11 - Gareth van Zyl, Fin24
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Johannesburg - Global media and internet company Naspers [JSE:NPN] has opened an office in San Francisco, the US city renowned for housing top internet giants such as Facebook and Google.

Naspers’ opening of its San Francisco office comes as the company has “sharpened the focus” of its ‘Naspers Ventures’ division, the company’s head of investor relations Meloy Horn told Fin24.

Cape Town headquartered Naspers already has investments and operations in more than 130 countries which includes its 34% stake in Chinese internet giant Tencent.

“Today we are announcing the opening of our Naspers Ventures office in San Francisco, where we see an opportunity to invest in US technology/internet companies with the potential to succeed in the US and internationally,” Horn told Fin24 via email.

“We believe we can utilise our deep knowledge of consumer internet and international markets to identify companies with business models that can scale internationally.

“We think, given our experience, that we can help these companies ‘go global’ faster,” said Horn.

Horn said that while the team in San Francisco is “fairly small” and consists of mostly existing Naspers people, the Ventures division plans to tap the company’s broader global network.

Investment in Brainly

Already, Naspers Ventures has led a $15m investment round in social learning network Brainly, according to US tech news website TechCrunch.

Brainly was founded in Poland but it is now headquartered in San Francisco, according to TechCrunch. Brainly has 60 million students in 35 countries and encourages its users to share and explore knowledge in a collaborative community.

Horn said Naspers is always looking for new internet opportunities to invest in, but that these must meet certain criteria.

“They have to be a very high potential market overall and they have to have the ability to scale quickly,” Horn told Fin24.

“In addition we look for the potential for success across a broad range of geographies. Companies with the right business models within the massive EduTech market are a direct hit on all three, so we see it as a perfect fit,” said Horn.

US dollar reporting

The move by Naspers to focus more on the US market comes after the company last month said it would switch to the dollar in its financial reporting.

Naspers, in a statement, said it’s made the change to dollar reporting as more than 70% of its revenue - measured on an economic interest basis - is sourced from outside South Africa.

*Fin24 is part of Media24 which is owned by Naspers.

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