Barati Mahloele, venture capital fund director for Tiger Brands, is one of our Top 50 Rising Stars in corporate venturing for 2024.

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Barati Mahloele joined South African packaged food and beverage producer Tiger Brands at the start of 2022 to run its corporate venture capital fund following two years as vice-president of investments for private equity fund manager Zebu Investment Partners. She says CVC has an important part to play in the country’s tech scene. 

“We have some amazing venture capital funds and they’ve got a role to play, but we have so many listed corporates with money that could further develop the venture ecosystem. 

“It’s about putting that capital to use in driving innovation,” she adds. “It can only have a positive effect on the greater venture ecosystem, which is really exciting. If I look at South Africa, our venture ecosystem is perhaps not as developed as other markets, like the US or some markets in Europe.” 

Mahloele may have come to Tiger Brands from the investment world, but her background lies in consumer goods. She developed a passion for the food value chain during almost eight years at Unilever that took in stints in Australia and Europe. She’s now looking to help combine innovation and technology to help African customers access more affordable and nutritious foods.  

“That’s quite important,” Mahloele says. “Because one of the things that keeps us up at night is that a lot of the innovation we’re seeing is not necessarily affordable for the mass market or a majority of our consumers.” 

A seasoned ultramarathon runner who has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Mahloele is also active with startups, taking board seats and passing on that global mindset to help them grow. And she sees her position as the best place to do so. 

“I would ideally like to stay within the corporate venture space,” she says. “It definitely has a lot of potential, particularly on the African continent. It’s about continuing to invest in this space, enabling technologies.”