Michael Jordaan makes big push into AI

Former FNB chief executive and prolific tech investor Michael Jordaan has announced two new ventures, both focusing on artificial intelligence.

The two new ventures are AI Asset Management, which will use algorithms to invest in NASDAQ, and AI Capital, which will make private equity investments in users of AI tools.

According to AI Asset Management’s web page, the group will focus on institutional investors and uses mathematical and statistical methods to guide and automate investment decisions.

Jordaan said the group is already investing in NASDAQ stocks to build up a performance track record. AI Capital, meanwhile, is a Private Equity Fund focused on institutional investors.

The company was founded by Jordaan, Nic Kohler, Willem Roos, and Roger Grobler, who have been working together in various forms for decades and investing together for the last eight years as founding investors in telecoms group Rain, and many others.

According to the AI Capital web page, the fund will invest in businesses “that benefit disproportionately from the deployment and use of data-driven decision-making”.

“AI Capital Partners’ portfolio of investments are all businesses that have tilted the playing field in their favour using technology that enables new business models in large industries – good examples are Rain and Tyme Bank,” it said.

Through AI Capital Partners, the AI Capital Fund VCC and its sub-funds have been incorporated in Singapore as an investment fund for institutional investors. The group intends to raise $200 million from institutions, Jordaan said.

Jordaan is a well-established investor in the South African tech space, having made significant investments in groups like Rain, Bank Zero, crypto exchange VALR and other tech companies via his private investment firm, Montegray Capital.

He is also credited with leading many of the innovations and technological advances at FNB during his time as CEO, which made the bank a market leader in the digital and online space in South Africa.

Artificial Intelligence has fast become one of the most prominent buzzwords in tech, with AI-driven chatbots like ChatGPT and its Google and Microsoft competitors grabbing headlines in the first few months of the year.

The technology has also courted some controversy with creatives, with AI-image manipulators, AI-processed voice mimicry and various other AI-driven technologies emerging that create visuals, text and sounds from user prompts.

While this has sparked fears of these kinds of technologies rapidly encroaching and disrupting jobs and human productivity, AI proponents have defended them as being advanced tools that could enhance productivity and human outputs.

According to Jordaan, there’s no stopping the advance.

“Artificial Intelligence will become ubiquitous, indispensable and powerful across our modern world,” he said.

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