Cape Town firm scores big in US

Lauren Cohen

Lauren Cohen

Bucking the trend of job losses in San Francisco's technology hub of Silicon Valley, a South African-founded web publishing company this week scored a R200million investment from the Rupert family's Reinet Fund.

East London-born Vinny Lingham started SynthaSite, a do-it-yourself website building company, in Cape Town almost three years ago. He relocated to the US a year ago and the company's 45 employees are now split almost evenly across the two offices.

"We are busy hiring while most companies around here are firing," said Lingham. "People are starting their own businesses and they need websites, which is great for us."

The Reinet Fund is a long-term capital growth fund, with Johann Rupert as executive chairman. Lingham said the capital would be used to grow SynthaSite from one million users to four or five million users. "We will also be adding more premium services and products which we will charge for," he said.

The basic website building product is offered free of charge to users.