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.
He says Campan will provide mentoring and financial and other resources to the start-ups, all intended to improve their chances of success. "Campan is a vehicle through which I can live out my passion for enabling new companies that use technology as an engine to make substantial positive differences," he says. The companies in which he has invested are Gather Online, a website aimed at improving users’ experience of online content; BrandHubb, which wants to revolutionise how consumers interact with the brands they love; Fourex, which aims to make forex trading fast, easy and efficient; and UK-based Free2Cycle, which hopes to transform the cycling commuter business model. Its other investments are IT security firm Ubusha Technologies and Wrapistry, which claims to provide the "ultimate gifting experience".
Dawson says: "We are entering an age where technology, data and business are wholly intertwined, leading to huge changes in efficiency and customer service." It is this gap that he hopes to capitalise on. And Dawson has invested his own money into Campan. "The initial investment is my own. I am taking the initial risk on this," he says. In future, Campan will raise funds.