Type

Firm

Published

August 2022

Reading time

2 minutes

Research in Cape Town

Announcing Activant Cape Town

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We’re excited to announce the opening of Activant Cape Town, an office dedicated to conducting deep research to further our thesis-driven approach.

Type

Firm

Published

August 2022

Reading time

2 minutes

Why open an office just for research, you might ask?

For that, let’s back up.

Since our inception in 2015, Activant has been a thesis-driven firm focused on commerce infrastructure.

But what does “thesis-driven” really mean? For us, a thesis is a view about where the world is moving, what it will look like in 5-10 years, and what technology will be required – or produce – that shift. It is supported by a base of facts that form the foundation from which to make high-conviction investments.

Activant originated from the belief that the digitization of commerce was the greatest opportunity of the coming decades, and that we need to build a firm to invest behind it. Beginning in 2015 with e-commerce, we have come to view the value chain as consisting of: “make, move, sell, and consume.”

We use the thesis approach to invest up and down this value chain. Remaining grounded in a thesis helps us make high-conviction investments in founders who share our vision of where the world is going and are building the companies to pull the world into that future.

We develop a thesis organically and iteratively over the course of months or even years in five primary ways, in no particular order:

  1. Take a top-down approach, wherein we analyze macro data as well as build detailed market maps of our sectors; for this we use Aristotle, our proprietary software platform.
  2. Conversations with users and buyers within key verticals to understand their problems and pain points.
  3. Operational support at our portfolio companies. Whether it takes the form of board governance, strategic counseling, talent, working with the teams we partner with is enlightening.
  4. Our ecosystem of founders, executives, and other investors
  5. Yet the most powerful source is simply meeting founders; nothing is as catalyzing as spending time with people actually building the future.

Cape Town

Today, we see this approach as more important than ever to help us find signal in an increasingly noisy world. We wanted to double down on this work and build a dedicated team for thesis research.

We decided to open an office in Cape Town because we found amazing people there - starting with Robert Lamprecht, who brings 25 years of investing experience to lead the team. He's supported by JJ Brink and Jono Vickery. We're excited to continue to expand the team and go deeper than ever in our core sectors.

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