SOUTH African Start Up business Magnevane scooped the Global Unicorn top honours recently for the business with the highest investment potential.
South African executive and business owner Gareth Rees was part of the team which claimed victory against several start-ups with enormous investment potential from various parts of the world.
The competition which helps profile top companies to Venture Capitalists and investors saw last year’s winner raise $22m off the back of the awards.
“We are chuffed that years of hard work and perseverance are now paying off.
There is a clear need for energy efficient products to be prioritised not only in South Africa but around the world, as power sources become increasingly depleted and environmental pressures mount,” Rees said.
Magnevane has commercialised intellectual property that has the potential to disrupt the pneumatics sector (compressed air technology), which is a R1.3 Trillian global market using over 10% of all industrial electricity.
The company’s unique selling proposition is an increase of more than 40% efficiency, higher start-up torque, longer maintenance cycles and more consistent performance than any pneumatic motor on sale today.
In South Africa, Magnevane is working with leading gold and platinum mines to transform their pneumatic network efficiency through the introduction of equipment that is more efficient and can operate at lower pressure.
Johannesburg is Magnevane’s African hub and the Magnevane team there, led by Magnevane Africa CEO Rees, is exploring opportunities to license Magnevane technology to local partners covering manufacturing, distribution and equipment servicing with a particular focus on BEEE partners as they develop and grow their businesses and look for competitive advantage in the industrial sector.
“Magnevane is a global story with South African beginnings in the town of Nelspruit, where inventors Stephen Nicholson and Mike Spencer first came up with the idea of using super magnets in compressed air motors to create a tight seal between the sliding vane and motor housing,” Rees explained.
The results from their first experiments far exceeded their expectations, as they had created a motor that was, already at this early stage of development, more efficient than the best motors in the world.
“Karim Premji, a Canadian investor, was inspired by the impact that the Magnevane technology could have on the world and provided the seed funding to register provisional patents, develop working prototypes and to secure Deloitte as a global commercialisation partner.
“Later in 2017 Jiva Remtula, a Portuguese investor and now Magnevane’s global CEO, provided for the series A funding allowing the acquisition of precision manufacturing facilities in Trofa Portugal, as well as the development and patenting of the first range of Magnevane products,” Rees said.
“In this way, Magnevane was born as a global organisation, made possible only because of the talent, resources and vision of three parties from different corners of the globe.
Magnevane now stands poised for global expansion across mining, oil and gas, paper and pulp and the chemicals sectors as they build out their product suite, executive team and network of specialised partners.
Rees said in the context of South African start-ups, the growing success of Magnevane and this win was indicative that start-ups can get exposure internationally if they have an innovative and powerful platform or product.