Athena Capital

Partners in growth and innovation


Athena Capital is an established private equity company that has the experience to deliver positive returns for innovation-led businesses. We partner with proven entrepreneurs and a vast network of specialists to provide the operational, strategic and financial support that can accelerate growth and maximise returns.

We create value and optimise businesses to create a sustainable future for our investors and partners. We do this by investing responsibly in companies operating in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), business services and inclusive tech-enabled financial services sectors.


Vida is South Africa’s largest independent chain of coffee shops and is a supplier of beverage products and services to the corporate market. Vida's stores are company owned and franchised and are based predominantly in South Africa with the head office in Cape Town, South Africa.

JUMO is the largest scale, lowest cost financial services platform for people, small businesses and mobile network operators in emerging markets.

ComboCap is a US technology company with global reach across the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries. ComboCap have developed the world’s first 2-in-1 capsules with a movable membrane.

Zibo Containers is the largest manufacturer of rigid PET thermoformed containers in Africa. PET containers are primarily used in food and the food service packaging industry. Consequently Zibo's products are focused on the produce, protein, bakery, cups and lids, deli and horticulture sectors.


Our team comprises dedicated investment professionals who are supported by internationally respected senior advisors and key sector experts.

Tom Boardman

Chairman / Board

Tom is a Board Member of investment company AB Kinnevik, Vodacom Limited, Woolworths Holdings, Royal Bafokeng Holdings, African Rainbow Minerals Ltd and is a non-executive director of Nedbank Group. Tom is director of the Peace Parks Foundation, Chairman of the David Rattray Foundation and a trustee on a number of other charitable foundations. Tom is Chairman of Athena Capital (Pty) Ltd and provides advice on investment recommendations made by Athena Capital in his role on Athena Capital’s investment committee. His varied business background and extensive local and international networks add immensely to our investment process and on-going strategic growth in the business.

Tom Priday

Senior Advisor / Board

Tom was Athena’s first Shareholder and Chairman in 2007. He has an extensive and enviable track record in the emerging markets specifically on the debt side. Tom was head of UBS emerging markets after which he co-founded DePfa Investment Bank, where he ran the London operations. Tom co-founded Finisterre Capital, an emerging market hedge fund now managing circa US$ 2,8 billion. Tom is actively involved in deal origination and expanding Athena Capital’s network in the UK and European markets.

Paul Heinamann

Senior Advisor / Board

Paul is currently chairman of MTN South Africa, Worldwide Coal Carolina (Pty) Ltd and Afric Oil (Pty) Ltd. He was the CEO of Price Forbes Insurance Brokers where he built the business into the 7th largest global Insurance Broker, introduced employee benefits and founded the first cell captive company in Africa, Guardrisk. Paul was instrumental in the listing of Alexander Forbes on the JSE, expanding the company internationally and subsequently dealing with the offer from private equity investors to buy out and de-list the Alexander Forbes Group. His role at Athena Capital involves the development, management and improvement of risk management processes, as well as the transaction sourcing and investment evaluation in the Financial Services sector.

Jonathan Heinamann

Managing Partner / Investment Team

Jonathan founded Athena Capital in 2003, leading its evolution into leading Sub-Saharan Investment Advisor with offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Mauritius and London. Jonathan has significant investment and board experience spanning the Infrastructure, Health, Financial Services and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sectors. Jonathan directs the business with a focus on building sustainable relationships and aligning Athena with management teams and clients. His previous experience includes several years in IBM’s financial services business in London, where he later founded an IT business before returning to South Africa. He played an instrumental part of the UK team that introduced the first online applications for credit cards and travel insurance. He continues to be interested in Venture Capital and disruptive technologies. Jonathan has a passion for entrepreneurial development in Sub Saharan Africa. He co-founded Eden Campus (the country’s first free rural entrepreneur university). Jonathan is responsible for deal origination, negotiation and execution and leads Athena Capital’s deal executive team. He completed an AMP at INSEAD in 2000.

Andrew McDavid

Partner / Investment Team

Andrew joined Athena Capital in 2010 from PwC in London, where he held the position of Senior Manager in the Financial Services M&A advisory team. He has extensive experience in cross-border transaction advisory and investment appraisal, having worked with a client portfolio that included global private equity houses and FTSE100 Corporates. Andrew’s role at Athena Capital includes deal origination, investment appraisal and due diligence, transaction structuring and on-going investment management.

Leon Noussis

Partner / Investment Team

After completing articles at KPMG , Leon spent three years at Credit Suisse in London and later held various executive positions at listed media business Sasani. He structured and participated in the management buyout and delisting of the group in 2005. The subsequent sale of the business to Sabido Investments led to a number of investments in the engineering industry, partnering with Ellerine Bros and Coronation Capital. In 2010 Leon joined Core Group, Apple Inc’s partner for Sub-Saharan Africa, as COO and was responsible for the daily activities of the group. He is a Chartered Accountant and completed the AMP at Harvard Business School. Leon joined Athena Capital in 2017 with responsibility for investment appraisal, deal negotiation, execution and portfolio management.

Ricardo Francisco

Investment Analyst

Ricardo is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. He joined Athena Capital in August 2019 after spending more than four years in PwC’s Deals team. He left PwC as a Senior Manager in the Mergers and Acquisition team in Cape Town where he spent close to three years advising both local and international clients in the agriculture, consumer, financial services and information technology sectors. Before joining PwC’s M&A team he spent 18 months in PwC’s Transaction Services team focusing on financial due diligence and valuation assignments. Ricardo’s role at Athena Capital includes deal origination, investment appraisal, due diligence , deal execution and on-going investment management.

Nhlanhla (Nox) Mlalazi

Investment Analyst

Nox is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and CFA charterholder. He joined Athena Capital in the first quarter of 2020 as a Junior Deal Executive, from a venture capital company. Nox was previously an equity analyst in the Resources team at Prudential Investment Managers, covering a range of precious metals and diversified miners. He completed his articles at PwC, with a range of JSE/LSE listed resource and industrial companies. Nox’s role at Athena Capital includes deal origination, investment appraisal, due diligence, deal execution and on-going investment management.


Cape Town
1st Floor, Fernwood House
The Oval
1 Oakdale Road
Phone: +27 (0) 21 657 3810