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South Africa

Due Diligence: How Nisela Capital’s founder made the moves that mattered

How we made it in Africa’s Due Diligence series asks top players in Africa’s private equity industry about how they are mastering the art and science of profitable dealmaking and fundraising. Doing the due diligence on those who do due diligence for a living.

Where did it all begin?

I started my career with Investec inside the Private Client and Investment Banking team. We serviced wealthy families with net asset values of R250m (US$21.4m) or more and managed both sides of their balance sheets. I then ended up working in a niche looking after some of the bigger, well-known black families, who were involved in a lot of the black empowerment transactions in the early to mid-2000s.

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Entrepreneur: Brett Dawson’s life after Dimension Data

With a track record as enviable as former Dimension Data CEO Brett Dawson’s, you’d think his investing in a gifting service would be an odd choice. But tech start-ups that are looking ahead to the "fourth industrial revolution" to disrupt the way we have always done things are exactly where Dawson sees growth. He has launched a venture capital firm of his own called Campan, which will target start-ups specialising in technology solutions. Dawson, who has spent a year quietly putting Campan together, has already made six investments.

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From the pits to the pinnacle: A lesson in endurance for entrepreneurs

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”

Hearing these words immediately conjures up images of many a dreamer, taking on the Big Apple in hopes of success. Most likely with a Frank Sinatra-mantra in their heads. But what if you could not make it there? Then what? Lee den Hond, owner and founder of Blue Platinum Events, speaks like she lives: vigorously and with fervour. She states with humble conviction that the success that she has achieved with her company in the last 18 years had its birth in what was probably the darkest moment of her professional career. At the age of 30, the South African entrepreneur did go to New York in the hope of making it big in the marketing department of Nike. She did not, however, succeed.

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Bernie de Le Cuona, a South African born entrepreneur building a luxury fabric brand that is taking the world by storm

In the highly discerning world of luxury interiors, global designers and homeowners are always trying to source the most beautiful fabrics and furnishings to create the ultimate living environments. The de Le Cuona luxury fabric brand has built a global reputation at the forefront of this industry, producing some of the finest fabrics on the planet. 

What does your company do?

de Le Cuona started 25 years ago with a fascination for fabric and a vision to break into a global luxury market. Today we are represented all over the world with showrooms in New York, in London’s Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour and a new flagship showroom about to open on the prestigious Pimlico Road. Our Head Office is in Royal Windsor.

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