Nelson Gahadza Senior Business Reporter
AvantiS Technologies, a Zimbabwean start-up technology firm, is set to become the fifth company to list its shares on the Victoria Fall Stock Exchange (VFEX) and has so far made significant progress in fulfilling the pre-listing requirements.
VFEX is a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), launched in 2020 as part of efforts to attract global capital and restore foreign investor confidence in Zimbabwe’s capital markets and help companies raise capital in foreign currency.
Avantis Technologies will become the fifth listing on VFEX after Seed Co International, Padenga Holdings, Caledonia Mining Corporation and Bindura Nickel Corporation.
Chief executive officer and founder of Avantis Technologies Mr Ari Goldstein told the Herald Business and Finance that the company was targeting to list in the second half of the year.
“We are looking to raise at least US$5 million from the VFEX, the bulk of which will be deployed towards increasing manufacturing capacity and upgrading our computers to be competitive,” he said.
He said the company was now waiting to get a sponsor. “We currently have three sponsors who are yet to come through and we are waiting to fulfil some few issues and statutory requirements that they want to be the sponsors of the project,” he said.
Avantis designs and manufactures computers locally. Mr Goldstein said the company had concluded a toll manufacturing agreement with TelOne as well as partners in Germany, Hong Kong and China.
“The other reason we are listing on VFEX is that we want to create the image of the company and show continuity of the company and build trust in the business,” he said.
He noted that the company’s initiative was in line with the National development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which is the country’s five year national development plan.
“In line with NDS1, ICT is very important in national development, so as Avantis Technologies, we want to fill that gap. We will have capacity to manufacture for the export market and be able to generate the much needed foreign currency in the economy,” said Mr Goldstein.
He said the company had set up distribution centres in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa, with a view to build a strong African presence taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Mr Goldstein said the company’s computers were affordable, very sophisticated and met international computer standards.
He said focus is on increasing distribution centres in order to increase volumes. “We need to be selling about 315 000 laptops annually in the short to medium term.
“We currently have an order of 1 978 computers needed in Kenya, 2 000 units are needed in Uganda and 1 500 are needed in South Africa.
“We also have a strong distribution channel in the region including in East Africa, but for now we are focused on Southern Africa,” he said.
He added that the company created and makes use of infrastructure that the government has put in place, and harnesses the ICT policy that the government is pushing.
“We design the computers on our own and we have some few components that we get from our partners,” said Mr Goldstein.
VFEX earlier this year said it was targeting at least five new listings this year.
The foreign currency trading platform offers a raft of incentives including tax exemptions on capital gains and the ability to repatriate funds from a country where foreign exchange is in short supply to attract global capital.