Strive Masiyiwa’s Liquid Intelligent Technologies has bought an Egyptian cloud computing company for an undisclosed sum as the Zimbabwean billionaire sets his sights on a market of more than 100 million people and expands his presence in the Middle East.
Cysiv MEA is a technology company formerly known as SecureMisr and headquartered in Cairo. It specialises in enterprise cloud and cybersecurity services to some of Egypt’s leading companies, in particular the financial services sector.
Masiyiwa has been growing his cloud business, cybersecurity services and other digital technologies over the past two years in addition to existing telecom capability. Liquid Telecom was recently rebranded as Liquid Intelligent Technologies as the company enters a market dominated by the likes of Telkom subsidiary BCX, Dimension Data, EOH and Altron.
Cysiv MEA will be rebranded as Liquid C2 to align it with the rest of the group’s cloud and cybersecurity investments.
The company said the acquisition enables it to bring some of the best global cloud and cybersecurity products to the Egyptian market. “Liquid is a recognised integrator on behalf of some of the biggest technology companies in the world,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
One such relationship is with US tech giant Microsoft, which in September 2021 teamed up with Liquid to upgrade its videoconferencing platform, adding features that enables its calling service to dial a landline or mobile phone in an intensifying battle with Zoom and WhatsApp.
In the same year Liquid acquired QBS a Europe-based technology firm, as part of its cloud investment drive. QBS has official cloud solution provider status for Microsoft Dynamics in Africa, supporting more than 800 partners in 25 countries at the time.
“Liquid recognises the critical role Cysiv MEA has been playing in the cloud and cybersecurity industry in Egypt and the region,” said Liquid C2 CEO David Behr.
“Our main task group is to support them in bringing more cybersecurity tools for our customers as they face an increasingly hostile global environment from cybercriminals and nation-state sponsored attackers. This will ensure that their business is protected while also meeting the demands for global compliance requirements.”
Masiyiwa has been pursuing his latest strategy with gusto, doubling down on a future beyond the traditional telecom business. In 2021, his Econet group launched Cassava Technologies, which houses growth units such as fintech, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data centres, renewable energy, fibre and a super app. Liquid is now a unit of Cassava.
The strategy has been bolstered by a $50m (R921m) investment from C5 Capital, a UK-based specialist venture capital firm that invests in cybersecurity, space and energy security.
A year earlier, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) partnered with Liquid to expand its data centre capacity and roll out fibreoptic cable on the continent. The IFC said its equity and debt investments in Liquid total about $250m to date.
Liquid has been driving much of the group’s expansion in Africa, and plans to make Egypt the hub for its ambitions in the Middle East and North Africa.