Don't Start a Fund? Kinyungu's New Take on Chasing Outliers
Play • 56 min

Welcome to Track 1, the inaugural episode of The Trajectory Africa, a podcast series exploring the trajectory, or pathway, of venture capital and startup formation in Africa. With the unique African landscape—market characteristics, business environment, goals, and culture—as a starting point, The Trajectory Africa aims to pinpoint a destination for African tech, and the signposts that signal direction of travel. It’s inspired by the concept of a mixtape, in which each episode, or “track” will feature a conversation with a “guest artist”. There is also a soundtrack for inspiration provided by (DJ) Saphir Esmail via his Spotify playlist (link below).

My guest artist is Tony Chen. Tony is a Partner at Verdant Frontiers and Co-Founder of Kinyungu Ventures. Tony has enjoyed 24+ years creating new businesses, launching five companies with multiple exits. He co-founded Redica Systems (formerly Govzilla), a SaaS business he led as CEO for 8 years until 2017. Tony and his family lived in rural Kenya for three years, where he built a portfolio of 15 Kenyan companies. Tony is also on the Investment Committee for Triphammer Ventures. Tony earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How and why Tony’s journey as an Africa-focused investor began in Kenya 
  • Why research was a key element of Kinyungu’s fund launch process 
  • What Tony learned from the research, and how his investing approach has changed
  • How Kinyungu Ventures has changed, and plans for the future

Tony’s Recommended Track & Featured Resources:

  • My Shot. Lin Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Davide Diggs, Okierete Onaodowan, Leslie Odom, Jr., original Broadway cast of Hamilton. Hamilton.

DJ Saphir’s Spotify Playlist:

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