Stuart van der Veen, Partner at Platform Investments. The Future Focused award recognises courageous and unconventional SAICA members who think in novel ways with the ability to reassess conventional business, thereby shaping the future. Most importantly, they have the skills and expertise required to bring about desired change in the world. Stuart van der Veen CA(SA) ticks all these boxes.
Thriving in Technology-driven Investments
After completing his traineeship at Deloitte in 2014, Stuart ventured into technology-driven investments, establishing Paper Plane Ventures. He was a Top 35-under-35 finalist in 2016. Since then, Stuart’s career has thrived, earning him a reputable standing both within South Africa’s industry and internationally.
Paper Plane Ventures initially operated as an advisory firm. With an eye for opportunity, the business swiftly evolved into a trailblazing investment firm.
‘In 2019, our asset growth led to a pivotal merger with Platform Investment Partners (PIP) in 2019, a prominent investment holding company specialising in the telecoms and technology sectors,’ explains Stuart.
‘As a PIP partner based in Los Angeles, I currently serve on the boards of Open Fiber USA and HyperFiber, both actively deploying fibre to homes across the United States. Navigating this path presented normal business challenges, notably in striking a balance between risk mitigation, positive impact, and exceptional returns.’
PIP does not adopt a venture capital approach to investment and prefers to invest for the long term. The firm works with exceptional founders to establish and grow robust businesses. PIP has a well-rounded and innovative telecom and technology-focused investment team with an excellent track record in capital deployment, mergers and acquisitions advisory, and capital raising.
The firm identifies business models within specific sectors that offer opportunities for fundamental change or necessitate high levels of innovation to effectively serve customers. They target businesses that either contribute to or benefit from the growing prevalence of broadband.
‘Receiving the Future Focused Difference Maker award, I believe, underscores our commitment to utilising our skills and resources to drive positive societal change,’ says Stuart. ‘Through PIP, we’ve played a crucial role in society, particularly through our partnerships with companies like Aerobotics, AgrigateOne, Nile Ag and Yellow Africa. The acknowledgment is humbling and propels me forward. It serves as a testament that our work carries value and impacts society positively, reaffirming that even small efforts can yield significant results.’
Stuart’s drive to make a difference stems from a conviction that those that can make positive change have a responsibility to do so.
‘With a projected global population of 9,8 billion by 2050, both unprecedented challenges and opportunities lie ahead. This underscores the importance of aligning with global megatrends and maintaining a balanced approach marked by adaptability, humility, and respect,’ he says.
‘My aspirations for the future centre on enabling ideas capable of unlocking human potential and improving lives on a global scale. On a personal level, I hope to grow continuously, both as an individual and professional, while mentoring the next generation of change-makers.’
Stuart expresses gratitude for the opportunities and collaborations that have shaped his career. He acknowledges that every milestone he has achieved has been a collective endeavours, and he considers himself fortunate to have worked alongside talented mentors, shareholders, partners, and entrepreneurs, to whom he owes a great deal.