He’s an innovator, a dedicated visionary, and a decorated and accomplished entrepreneur. Ntuthuko Shezi is the man behind Livestock Wealth, a platform that lets you invest in agricultural assets, with farmers tending to them on your behalf. This concept, the first of its kind, lets you own a part of a farm. With a few years in the running now, it’s proven quite a success. The company manages hundreds of millions of Rands in tangible assets, though they hope to control a portfolio worth billions in the next few years.
Bulls and Boardrooms
Shezi trained as an electro-mechanical engineer and has worked as a strategy consultant. He was born in rustic Ndwedwe, Kwa-Zulu Natal and as a businessman, he’s come a long way from printing T-shirts in high school. Having created the world’s first airport-based panel beating and spray-painting business, it’s no surprise he’s amassed as many accolades. From IT Personality of the Year, to Clinton Democracy Fellow and Nelson Mandela Washington Fellow, the man is a big deal.
Shezi’s brainchild stems from one challenge identified in some farmers and one obstacle facing some investors. The fact that people want to invest in agriculture but won’t get their hands dirty. The fact that there are farmers who have the expertise, knowledge and agricultural assets but they can’t eke out a living from that. Livestock Wealth helps the farmers secure capital to increase output, while investors get to profit from living assets increasing in value as they grow. It’s a win-win situation.
- You purchase the plant, garden, or cow from the farmer.
- The farmer cares for your investment courtesy of a R299 farming fee.
- The asset gains value as it matures.
- The farmer buys the asset from you once it’s fully developed.
- The farmer places the asset on the market at a higher price.
Both long-term and short-term investments are catered to. You have the option of buying a cow with six months left to go before maturing enough to hit the market. This gives you a 5-7% profit. You can also go for a pregnant cow and wait for a 10-14 per cent profit after twelve months. Maybe opt for the connected garden, a five-year investment with a 61% profit. You can also go the macadamia nut tree route, which is a six-year investment, earning you a profit of 95-105% profit.
Farming at the Touch of a Button
It’s a simple business model backed by sophisticated technology. Apart from operating on a web and mobile application, livestock is also tracked in real-time. With a tracking alarm system wired in the collar of the cow, you can rest assured your investment is safe and sound. You also get insurance as part of your package, so you don’t have to worry about those unforeseen circumstances that farmers are often faced with.
Livestock Wealth and the concept of crowd-farming undoubtedly owe their success to the ingenuity of founder and CEO Ntuthuko Shezi. With a dozen trademarks to his name, a couple of patents and nearly a hundred domains, he’s not someone to take lightly. The knowledge and experience he’s garnered in business strategy has allowed him to ensure there isn’t too much or too little supply or demand. This has been the secret to the sustainable growth the company has been enjoying.
It’s always refreshing to see traditional African values shape cutting-edge start-ups. Tradition says a man’s cows are his wealth. Plants have been the pillars of African legacies for centuries. It’s a special thing to be able to take part in an industry that has existed since the dawn of our civilization, all through information technology. It’s all because of Ntuthuko Shezi, and one can only wonder what this pioneer has in store for us next.