Black Women-Owned South African Fund Managers
We have our roots in business rescue and private equity. We are passionate about making a difference in the world through the allocation of capital with impact. We invest in SMEs using our ‘Gender Lens’ which assesses what the future of gender in that SME could be, and by implementing our gender development programme guided by the management team. Our portfolio companies don't have to be women-owned to qualify for investment - just positively predisposed to us helping them get there.
Founded in 2017, FyreFem’s mission is to be a careful custodian of private equity capital while making sure that all capital allocated by us helps to change the world, starting in Africa. We aim for healthy SME’s in our portfolios, healthy returns, healthy societies, and healthy economic systems. We value transparent and fair dealings and have a great deal of respect for diversity. SDG 5 and 8 guide our investments.
Fix and Build
We focus on SME’s throughout their lifecycles, from incubated venture capital funds, to portfolio companies in growth phases, all the way through to working with distressed assets to nurse them back to health with capital injections (only where capital can remedy the distress). We like to see productive SMEs, assets and productive people. We value growth but equally enjoy repurposing, if value is restored.
OUR FIRST FUND
FIREBIRD REVITALISATION FUND
Women-led fund which combines the best of private equity and business rescue
Helping SME's in South Africa through distress and into economy-stimulating growth
(This fund pre-dates our name change to FyreFem in 2019)
Fix and Build
We will start with good businesses which can be fixed and take these up the curve to health. We will then work with them to build them into market leaders through growth and acquisition strategies and follow on capital investments.
FIX PHASE could involve formal business rescue but will involve the use of debt and mezzanine instruments, mostly, to protect investment and price risk.
BUILD PHASE will use combination of debt and equity depending on build strategy ie growth or acquisition
We will focus on those sectors that can re-start after COVID-19. High Covid-19 exposure businesses will be chosen only where capital can remedy the distress. We will only work with businesses which we can work with within the private equity models, after rescuing them using our in-house business rescue skills. We will build sector leaders with a preference for food and manufacturing sectors.
Bespoke software to manage applications and post-investment
Proven Business Rescue Software handles applications and guides SMEs post investment. The software helps with pipeline funnel management through application process. After investment, the system keeps a watchful eye on covenant management and key performance metrics. This allows us to distance monitor after investment and software installation.
Every deal, even the distressed deals, will be examined through a gender lens and a programme implemented to impact change at C-Suite, Board and Shareholding level. We bring women into portfolio company ownership, C-Suite and the boardroom during the period of our investment in a structured 5-year programme with our “FyreFly Development Programme”. We ask our portfolio companies to sign up to the FyreFly Development Programme at term sheet phase so that we can work during our investment period to make sure we leave women-owned SMEs in our wake.
OUR GENDER FOCUS
Our name comes from our desire and commitment to contribute to towards the development and transformation of the private equity industry and to be more representative of women. In our unique position we seek to meaningfully transform not only our own work environment but that of our portfolio companies through specialised post-investment strategies. FyreFem will work closely with its Portfolio Companies to ensure transformation of women staff takes place at every level i.e. Board, Management and Staff. We seek to empower women through our “FyreFly Development Programme”.
HOW WE MAKE SUPER RETURNS
We find the right deal.
We access our multiple origination channels to find businesses that require capital and are aligned to our philosophy.
Our strong and well established networks include private equity and impact funds, business rescue practitioners, audit firms, corporate finance advisors and law firms.
We are hands on
We work together with our portfolio companies to build value.
We help our businesses up-skill relative to the Financial Regulatory environment, BEE, SD Goals & Governance Codes.
We also understand financial engineering and the Companies Act. We know how to access incentives and grants and certainly are plugged in to the market for deal opportunities for our portfolio companies.
Gender diversity improves performance
The IFC's 2019 report notes that gender diverse fund managers have an increased IRR of 20% over the mean emerging market IRR of 6.4% for Sub Saharan Africa (5% for multi-market) or 7.8% for growth equity.
We want to ensure that our decisions are made by gender diverse teams and that our portfolio companies benefit from this. The same report finds valuation enhancements from gender diverse teams at this level also.
Our staff is made up of individuals from different backgrounds who use their experience in the financial, legal, business rescue worlds to help businesses and restore companies to good health and growth. Check out the people who make FyreFem such a great Investment Management Firm. Get in touch with us if you’re interested in joining our team.
Chairwoman of FyreFem Fund Managers
As a founding director Nhlanhla is invaluable to provide the FyreFem board with strategic guidance and deal sourcing. Her background as economic advisory in the Presidency and her current board positions at Capitec, Pioneer Foods, Ansys, Aurecon and many others, provides the team with invaluable expertise. Nonhlanhla has won the SABC Lebone Businesswoman of the Year Award and several other awards for business leadership and social entrepreneurship. She has a BA from the University of Fort Hare and an MA in City and Regional Planning from the University of Cape Town. In addition, she has completed modules in Management at the Washington State University, a Fellowship in Urban Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Certificate in Finance at the Wharton School of Business (USA), a Senior Executive Leadership Programme at Harvard University and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Technology Management at Warwick University (UK).
Founding shareholder FyreFem Fund Managers
CEO of FyreFem Fund Managers
Cathy originates, assesses and structures all new transactions. A Business Rescue Practitioner and Private Equity player and SAVCA board member, Cathy has experience and skills also as merchant banker, corporate financier, and always asks the right questions when evaluating a great deal.
Cathy has worked at blue-chip companies in investment banking and corporate finance including Investec, Deloitte and EY. Cathy started associate company, Firebird Advisors where she is leveraging her corporate finance, merchant banking, private equity and business rescue skills. She has extensive BEE and transaction experience during her tenure as Chief Investment Officer of a boutique Private Equity firm. She is a board member of the South African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (“SAVCA”). She was voted 5th in the 10 Power Women Shaping Africa’s Private Equity Market by AfkInsider.com in the Fall 2015 Edition of Women in Private Equity Awards. She is a registered Senior Business Rescue Practitioner and has experience in working with distressed assets and turnarounds. Cathy has a passion for re-igniting growth and reviving troubled businesses.
OUR CLIENTS & PARTNERS
Incubator and VC Fund
Savant is a long-term strategic commercial partner to select South African hardware technology companies. Savant is in the business of de-risking excellent South African technology ventures from an early stage and helping them grow into sustainable South African businesses with global market appeal.
FyreFem provided financial compliance services and continues to provide investment commitee services to Savant.
Impact Fund focused on funding black automotive suppliers
In 2016 Volkswagen of South Africa provided R86 million of initial funding to anchor this fund. The fund has invested in majority black owned businesses in the automotive sector. The fund although in its infancy is the largest privately funded transformation fund in the automotive industry.
FyreFem provides financial compliance services to the VW B-BEE Trust.
Business rescue practitioners, turnaround consultants and business intelligence
Business Rescue Partners have a sterling record of success in taking businesses through business rescue and the turnaround process with smart systems. The team makes sure that only those businesses that can really be rescued are taken on.
FyreFem and Business Rescue Partners have worked together since 2016.