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The African Pre-seed Podcast
Founders Factory Africa
An insight-rich immersion in African tech ecosystem affairs for the discerning Africa-focused founder.
Dec 1, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep8: Investing within Francophone Africa’s tech ecosystem
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep8: Investing in Francophone Africa’s tech ecosystem 🎙️ In this month’s episode of the African Pre-seed Podcast, Lorraine Achar speaks to Benoit Delestre, Managing Partner at Saviu Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage startups in Francophone Africa. Yep, you read that right… Francophone Africa, a region with 34 countries and 470 million people. Yet, most conversations about Africa’s startup ecosystem focus on the ‘Big 4’: Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa, all of which are English-speaking countries. There’s not as much visibility for Francophone Africa’s tech ecosystem. Delestre shares how he thinks about the investment opportunity in Francophone Africa, the sectors he’s bullish on and how founders can think about expanding to the region. Delestre is definitely someone you should listen to. He founded and sold two fintech startups in Europe and was the former CEO of 4G Secure, a software publisher. Today, Delestre is big on fintech, logistics and healthcare. His thesis on fintech is straightforward; in Africa, banks are dedicated to meeting the needs of large corporate players, leaving the retail customer underserved. “Any payment or lending platforms serving the large population is key for me,” said Delestre. 🌍 He’s also big on logistics, pointing out that some of the continent’s biggest e-commerce players still struggle to break even, partly because of inefficient logistics. 💡 Beyond what sectors are hot and buzzy, Delestre answers the tough question of why Francophone Africa doesn’t get a ton of coverage. “There’s a big gap between Anglophone and Francophone regions. While one is very structured, the other is on the way,” he shared. “In terms of consumer markets, they are similar, but beyond that, there’s a gap.” Some gaps are the relative absence of startup studios, incubators, or exits. Yet, there’s a sense that the region is now on the rise. How should founders think about expansion in the region? Through sheer experience, Delestre advises founders to start from Abidjan, which is “the hub”, and then work their way to Togo and Benin, which are smaller but easier markets. He admits that it’s tempting to make a beeline from Abidjan to Dakar, but experience has shown him that such a move is often expensive and fraught with complexity. That’s enough spoilers. Here’s the episode in full! 🔥 What to look forward to in this episode: * Exciting verticals and opportunities in the Francophone region [08:03] * Market expansion within the Francophone region [10:13] * Francophone startups that are raising significant amounts of capital [11:58] * Challenges preventing startups from moving across the continent [13:29] * Oversimplifications and assumptions about the region [16:20] * Cultural differences and their effect on startup expansion strategies [17:58] * Founder archetypes within Francophone Africa [20:41] * Fundamental differences between the region's largest markets [23:11] * The most active investors in the Francophone tech ecosystem [25:50] * Market characteristics that make Côte d'Ivoire an attractive ecosystem to invest in [29:36] * Francophone markets that are readily adopting new technology and innovation [33:22] * The government's role in catalyzing the region's tech ecosystem [36:23] * Signals to look out for when investing in a startup within the region [38:33] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: Connect with Benoit Delestre on LinkedIn Connect with Loraine Achar-Ogada on LinkedIn Connect with Hope Dithlakanyane on Twitter and Linkedin Tell us... * What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? * What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast? Let us know via the hashtag #AfricanPreseedPodcast
Nov 20, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep7: Is Fintech the one true ecosystem vertical?
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep7: Is Fintech the one true ecosystem vertical? On the 2nd of November, the African Pre-seed podcast partnered with the Africa FinTech Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, to host the first-ever edition of APS Live, where our host, Hope Ditlhakanyane had three amazing guests on the couch in front of a live audience to discuss whether Fintech is indeed the one true vertical within the African tech ecosystem. Thanks to the Africa Fintech Summit and Lusaka Zambia for hosting us, and we cannot wait for 2024, where APS Live will be coming to a tech ecosystem hub near you. What to look forward to in this episode: * Why fintech attracts more capital than other verticals [04:46] * Fintech as an enabler or as an industry [05:58] * The growth of fintech across the continent [09:45] * Making sense of fintech valuations [11:45] * AI-embedded fintech [15:25] * 2024 projections and trend forecasting [23:01] * Government stakeholder involvement [32:52] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: Connect with Efayomi Carr on LinkedIn Connect with Miranda Perumal on LinkedIn Connect with Michael Kimani on LinkedIn Connect with Hope Dithlakanyane on Twitter and Linkedin Tell us... * What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? * What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast? Let us know via the hashtag: #AfricanPreseedPodcast
Oct 31, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep6: Passionate Dissent from Ada Ventures with Ebele Okobi
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep6: Passionate Dissent from Ada Ventures with Ebele Okobi In this exciting podcast episode, Ebele Okobi, Venture Partner at Ada Ventures, shares their journey into the tech ecosystem and their insights on leadership, diversity, and more. As someone with many hats, Ebele speaks about the decisions that founders make that can shape success, creating an atmosphere where ideas are challenged and where people believe in the company’s vision. Finally, they discuss exercises founders can adopt to get the best out of diversity and lessons they've learned from their time at Facebook. What to look forward to in this episode: * The defining moment that inspired Ebele's transition into the tech ecosystem [06:09] * Reflections on planting seeds [10:17] * Passionate dissent [13:39] * Leveraging authenticity as a team leader [19:59] * Leading teams to achieve goals [21:25] * Getting the best out of a diverse team [28:02] * Lessons from Facebook [33:30] * Growing your footprint within Africa [37:53] * Partnering with large tech corporations [41:26] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: Connect with Ebele Okobi on LinkedIn Connect with Hope Dithlakanyane on Twitter and Linkedin Tell us... * What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? * What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast? Let us know via the hashtag: #AfricanPreseedPodcast
Oct 17, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep5: Uganda Vibecheck + Lessons from Roke Telkom with Peter Muhumuza
This months #APSVibecheck Podcast episode features Peter Muhumuza, CTO of Ugandan telecommunications company, Roke Telkom. In Uganda, home-grown Roke Telkom is one of the first tier three carrier-neutral data center at the forefront of cloud computing revolution, helping businesses to leverage the full potential of telecommunications backed by cloud and data services to drive growth and success. Their cloud and data services have been designed to help businesses achieve their goals by providing them with the infrastructure and tools they need to succeed. Muhumuza has extensive experience within the telecommunications industry, working for the likes of Huawei, Orange Uganda, and MTN Uganda before joining Roke Telkom as its CTO in March 2021. The discussion took place at the Novacom Digital Transformation Strategy Summit Africa, held in Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa. 💡 Top 5 insights unpacked in the episode: * The challenge of accessing finance within the Ugandan telecommunications industry [01:45] * Roke Telkom's customer acquisition strategy and business model driven by a keen understanding of their market [06:01] * Peter's thoughts the Ugandan telecommunications ecosystem at large [10:08] * How regulators can better assist the African telecommunications industry [12:33] * Peter's breakdown of key competencies to acquire for a job role in the telecommunications industry [15:58] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: * Connect with Peter Muhumuza on Linkedin. * Connect with Adam Wakefield on Linkedin. * Connect with Hope Dithlakanyane on Twitter and Linkedin. Tell us... * What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? * What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast? Let us know via the hashtag: #AfricanPreseedPodcast USEFUL RESOURCES: ARTICLE: Cloud computing is driving business efficiency, competitiveness in the digital era by Kenneth Kazibwe, NilePost. * *
Oct 2, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep4: Algeria Fintech VibeCheck + Lessons from temtem One with Kamel Haddar
🇩🇿 This months #APSVibecheck Podcast episode features Kamel Haddar, CEO and Founder of temtem ONE, the 1st digital gift card solution for B2C and B2B in Algeria – a wide and curated offer of products and services for Diaspora and Businesses alongside a fintech offer of digital payment through QR codes and cashback programs. That's it for now. See you next month! — Olumuyiwa 💡 Top 5 insights unpacked in the episode: * Kamel's founder journey and insights that led building the Temtem One platform [0:13] * The balancing act of managing multiple startups and major commitments [01:56] * More about Kamel's involvement in the Algerian Talents and Leaders Association [03:23] * Lessons learned from working across different sectors in the startup world [04:08] * Building a successful "super app" for the sub-saharan market [05:01] * The importance of soft skills as a founder and leader [06:39] * Commonly misunderstood aspects of the Algerian tech ecosystem [07:37] * Most important skills founders should to hone in relation to AI and emerging markets [08:46] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: * Connect with Kamel Haddar on Linkedin. * Connect with Adam Wakefield on Linkedin. * Connect with Hope Dithlakanyane on Twitter and Linkedin. Tell us... * What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? * What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast? Let us know via the hashtag: #AfricanPreseedPodcast🔌 USEFUL RESOURCES: ARTICLE: Exclusive Q&A with temtem Founder and CEO Kamel Haddar following the close of their $4M Series A funding by Magnitt.
Aug 31, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep3: GITEX AFRICA Morocco Vibecheck
This month's special #APSVibecheck Podcast episode features live conversations from the GITEX AFRICA Morocco tech startup showcase, which shone a spotlight on the collective technological progress of Morocco, the Middle East and the Africa as a whole. We caught up with Co-founder and CEO of Impact Lab Africa, Salma Kabbaj, Africa Editor at Rest of World, David Adeleke, Reporter at Techcrunch, Tage Kene-Okafor, Founder of Autochek, Nizar Abdallaoui Maane, and Mayokun Fadeyibi and Etop Ikpe, CEO and COO of Autochek, to give us their thoughts on the lay of the land in Morocco. 💡 Top 5 insights unpacked in the episode: * The investment potential of Morocco's early-stage startup scene [2:37] * Understanding foreign participation in Africa's startup ecosystem [22:09] * Autochek's business model [31:08] * Unique aspects of the Moroccan market in relation to their sub-Saharan counterparts [31:16] * Oversimplifications and misconceptions about the Moroccan tech ecosystem [35:55] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: * Connect with Salma Kabbaj * Connect with Nizar Abdallaoui Maane * Connect with David Adeleke and Tage Kene-Okafor * Connect with Mayokun Fadeyibi and Etop Ikpe Tell us... * What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? * What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast? Let us know via the hashtag: #AfricanPreseedPodcast 🔌 USEFUL RESOURCES: ARTICLE: Autochek expands to North Africa after acquiring Morocco’s Kifal Auto By Techcrunch ARTICLE: Accelerating Africa's tech boom with GITEX AFRICA By GITEX AFRICA ARTICLE: From east to west, agritech is gaining ground in North Africa By Impact Lab Africa
Jul 31, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast S2 Ep2: Egypt Healthtech VibeCheck
This month's #APSVibecheck Podcast episode features Ahmed Kadous, the co-founder and CEO of Pharmacy Marts, a healthtech startup based in Egypt. While healthcare is a critical need across the continent, it can sometimes feel like healthtech doesn’t get much attention compared to fintech, e-commerce or energytech. This conversation with Kadous is filled with gems that may get you itching to get into the healthtech space. One of the things Kadous shares early in the conversation is that for healthtech startups, the focus is not only on solving the key problem that has been identified. Many times, there has been a need to actively work to change customer behaviour. For Pharmacy Marts, a B2B startup that wants to improve patient access to medication by fixing a dated supply chain, that means not only digitising the existing process but changing how the market thinks. 💡Kadous goes further to point out that anyone looking to establish a startup in Cairo needs to know that that kind of expansion requires unlearning a few things. For instance, he says that simply replicating a model that has worked elsewhere may not be the best strategy. According to him, “You need to be agile and adapt to customer needs. For example, the geography is huge so you need to build a supply chain zone to ensure same-day delivery. The customer behaviour is somehow different; in purchasing behaviour, they bulk order so you have to give them the option to bulk order to improve their user experience.” 🚀 With great insights into Egypt’s healthtech market, one of the most astounding things about Kadous is his breadth of experience. He has worked in some of Egypt’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and which influenced his understanding of the problem that needs to be solved. But he’s also clear that this experience taught him critical soft skills. Something to definitely look out for in this conversation is around the 6-minute mark, where he discusses some of the big misconceptions investors and founders have about Egypt’s healthtech scene. “One of the big misconceptions is that the market size is small. There is potential to have a huge share of this market,” Kadous said. 💡 Top 5 insights unpacked in the episode: * Ahmed's Pharmacy Marts startup journey [0:12] * Lessons Ahmed learned from his previous work experience [1:42] * How Pharmacy Marts solves its customer's most pressing challenges [3:18] * Pharmacy Marts' current positioning in Egypt's healthtech sector [4:35] * Common oversimplifications about Egypt's healthtech sector [6:30] * Managing co-founder relationships and decision-making at Pharmacy Marts [7:39] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: * Connect with Ahmed Kadous on Linkedin. * Connect with Adam Wakefield on Linkedin. Tell us... * What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? * What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast? Let us know via the hashtag: #AfricanPreseedPodcast 🔌 USEFUL RESOURCES: ARTICLE: Ahmed Kadous connects medical suppliers to pharmacies, through Pharmacy Marts by WeAreTech Africa.
Jun 30, 2023
African Preseed Podcast S2 Ep1: The Silicon Valley Mindset
In this first episode of season two of the African Preseed podcast, Maria Pienaar, an operating partner at Unicorn Growth Capital, offers a new perspective on thinking about failure, innovation, and the societal differences that can affect founders' thinking and offers practical steps for changing one's mindset. “Failure is not seen as a disaster but something to build upon.” - Maria Pienaar When you cover Africa’s tech ecosystem, you quickly become familiar with everyone’s visceral fear of bad news. Every time you publish an unflattering story about a startup, you steel yourself for pushback; from the company’s managers, and other leaders in the ecosystem. The prevailing belief is that these kinds of stories shape the narrative for the tech ecosystem and can be damaging. There’s a fear of any type of failure. At the six-minute mark, Maria says, “if you’re in a fear based culture, you’ll always stifle innovation and the innovative disruptors in the market.” She contrasts the societal fear of failure in the African ecosystem to Silicon Valley’s perspective where failure is a learning curve. “Failure is not deemed as a challenge; it is deemed as what have you learned from it and how do you improve things? In a way, it’s seen as a necessary step to get to the next successful step.” It’s critical for a company’s leadership to get comfortable with failing fast and to create a safe environment that encourages innovation. “If leadership keeps on dominating with that culture of fear, you’ll never see anything happen. If you make a mistake that’s fine, you need to figure out how to fix it.” Maria also speaks about the importance of having diverse opinions in a company and building all of this into a structure where everyone is pulling towards the same direction. 💡 Get out of the trap of thinking small Maria also talks about something that’s familiar: getting out of the trap of playing small. “The first thing we do is that we think too small. We don’t tie enough zeroes behind the numbers we’re talking about.” She also gives some personal anecdotes from her time early on at Vodacom. That’s enough spoilers, enjoy the conversation! What to look forward to in this episode: * Critical gaps that emerging founders often fail to address [2:57] * What is the "Silicon Valley Mindset" and how to apply within the context of the African tech ecosystem [4:11] * Embedding a change in mindset for the African entrepreneur [7:03] * The role of regulation in innovation [9:40] * Conducting market research to find product-market fit [13:57] * The best and worst pieces of advice received by Maria Pienaar [16:42] * What African founders should know about telecom companies [20:43] * The importance of network effects and network marketing [23:07] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: * Connect with Maria Pienaar on Linkedin. * Connect with Hope Dithlakanyane on Twitter and Linkedin. * Connect with Rajiv Daya on Linkedin. Tell us... * What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? * What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast? Let us know via the hashtag: #AfricanPreseedPodcast 🔌 USEFUL RESOURCES: * PODCAST: Growing Business In A Culturally Diverse Market By Silicon Valley Tech & AI With Gary Fowler.
Jun 20, 2023
African Pre-Seed #SpecialEpisode: Egypt Vibe Check + Lessons from VCs and Founders
In this special edition #APSVibecheck episode, the African Pre-seed podcast travels to Cairo, where we speak to five players in the Egyptian tech ecosystem about what is happening on the ground in Cairo and the broader tech environment. These players are Karima El Hakim, Country Director Egypt, Plug and Play Tech Centre; Diego Garcia, Investor Africa Ventures at Plug and Play Tech Centre; Mahmoud Sabbour, Founder at Baggr; Nour Ahmadein, Founder of Bluworks, and Mohanad Elhartany, Senior Investment Associate at Arzan Venture Capital. They share their views and insights on what's happening in the ecosystem and what is most relevant for founders in the land of the Nile. Top 5 insights to unpack in the episode: 1. Lessons from Karima El Hakim, Country Director Egypt, Plug and Play Tech Centre * Insights from working with governments as a VC [1:11] 2. Lessons from Diego Garcia, Africa Ventures, Plug, and Play Tech Centre * What is the meta environment that founders are dealing with in Egypt? [6:29] 3. Lessons from Mahmoud Abbour, Founder at Baggr * The factors influencing the provision of logistics infrastructure for e-commerce businesses in Egypt [14:01] 4. Lessons from Nour Ahmadein, Founder of Bluworks * Addressing endemic and systemic challenges for the blue-collar workforce in North Africa [16:57] 5. Lessons from Mohanad Elhartany, Senior Investment Associate, Arzan Venture Capital * The most significant challenges that founders have faced within the Egyptian tech ecosystem [23:40] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: * Connect with Karima El Hakim on Linkedin * Connect with Diego Garcia on Linkedin * Connect with Mahmoud Sabbour on Linkedin * Connect with Nour Ahmadein on Linkedin * Connect with Mohanad Elhartany on Linkedin Are you a Founder learning the ropes of the Egyptian Tech ecosystem? Please share what you're learning from some of your successes and setbacks on social via the #APSVibecheck #AfricanPreseedPodcast hashtags or email us via email@example.com 🔌 USEFUL RESOURCES: * Egypt Deep Dive Part I: Early successes and the rise of bottom-up tech entrepreneurship * Egypt Deep Dive Part II: An ecosystem awash in concern, resilience, and bottomless potential Click here to subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen.
Apr 28, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast Bonus Episode: Agritech VibeCheck + Lessons from Nneile Nkholise
Lesotho-born Medtech entrepreneur and CEO of Thola, Nneile Nkholise, joins us on this Agritech-themed #APSVibecheck instalment of the African Pre-seed Podcast. Thola is accelerating auditing and global export compliance certification for farmers and their products for climate sustainability and quality standards through a mass decentralised 'Certification-as-a-Service' software solution. One of the things that shines through in this conversation with Nkholise is grit and the importance of perspective. Those themes are timely given today’s global tech ecosystem and the market uncertainties we’re living through. Nkholise is not a first time founder, and throughout the conversation, it’s easy to tell that she’s used to making bold decisions. Her time as a researcher helped her see the opportunity to solve a need in women’s health. It led to her founding iMedTech and building out that business before deciding to shut it down. 🌍 Yet, her boldest decision is something we can all learn from. For her second business, Nkholise decided to move from South Africa to Silicon Valley–smack in the middle of the pandemic–because she believes that the market for Thola is bigger in the US. “It’s not always the case that one needs to start a business in their home market; a bigger opportunity for us was in Silicon Valley,” Nkholise shares. Remember our conversation in last week’s newsletter? One key takeaway from that newsletter is that pivots (and bold business decisions) should happen when we’ve learned something that fundamentally challenges our assumptions of the customer and the market. But this story is not all roses. There’s a useful conversation about coping with failures, which is something Nkholise had to do following her decision to shut down iMedTech. Shutting down the business was not an easy decision, and it also points to the fact that startup failures can be unique and complex. For iMedTech, it wasn’t typical problems like lack of funding or an inability to find product market fit. Instead, the company struggled with dealing with scale–it’s not everyday you hear about how finding product market fit comes with its own set of existential pressures. Nkholise is right on the money when she says, “When a company gets to PMF, the only way it dies is if the founder can’t handle scale. It’s one that’s never quite spoken of because many founders never even get to PMF.” As I said early in the conversation, this is a timely conversation! Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this conversation is how experience and perspective can shape our position over a period of time. It’s especially important when the conversation moves to African VCs and the idea that they tend to be more stringent before signing cheques. According to Nkholise, “These experiences of doing due diligence with African VCs shape willing founders. Having a VC that forces a founder to be a strategist mitigates failure in a market downturn.” Before I give too much away, listen to the podcast and be sure to let us know your biggest takeaway! — Olumuyiwa Top 5 insights to unpack in the episode: 1. Please describe your startup journey from South Africa to San Francisco. Why did you go to Silicon Valley? [0:18] 2. What did I learn from founding a startup that failed? [05:15] 3. What misconceptions do African founders have about Silicon Valley? [09:38] 4. What is the perception of the African VC ecosystem among the stakeholders you interact with within the Silicon Valley scene? [12:07] 5. How do you keep perspective amid the highs and lows of being a founder? How do you take care of your mental health? [17:10] CONNECT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: * Connect with Nneile Nkholise on Linkedin. Are you a Founder learning the ropes of the fintech industry? Please share what you're learning from some of your successes and setbacks on social via the #APSVibecheck #AfricanPreseedPodcast hashtags, or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org USEFUL RESOURCES: ARTICLE: Navigating the African tech startup ecosystem by Ventureburn. ARTICLE: The story of iMed Tech as told by Nneile Nkholise by IT News Africa. Click here to subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen.
Mar 31, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast #12: Measuring success in the African B2B e-commerce sector
In this e-commerce-themed episode, Co-Founder and CEO of Omnibiz Africa, Deepankar Rustagi, shares his insights about measuring success in the African e-commerce space and the business models that are best positioned to succeed within the broad online market. 🤔 B2B e-commerce asks that you throw away vanity metrics Hi there, Olumuyiwa here again. You may remember me from the previous edition of the APS newsletter. 😉 Last week, I was moderating a Twitter space conversation about the evolution of the African tech ecosystem in the last ten years. While recent observers may think that only fintech has been sexy for a minute, early players know that B2C e-commerce was where it was once at. Konga and Jumia slugged it out for African dominance in 2012, and South Africa’s Takealot—founded in 2012—has seen major success. But worsening macroeconomic conditions on the continent in the last decade means that most of the e-commerce action is focused on the B2B side of the market.…
Feb 28, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #11: Fintech VibeCheck + Lessons from Bernard Laurendeau
Ethiopian tech investor and CEO of Arifpay, Bernard Laurendeau, joins us on this fintech-themed #APSVibecheck instalment of the African Pre-seed Podcast. ArifPay is Ethiopias first universal mobile Point of Sales (mPOS), an electronic payment platform designed for use by merchants, banks, and consumers in Ethiopia that any business, merchant, or consumer can use to transfer money, make invoices, or pay taxes. Arifpay’s story feels familiar because some of the best startups are the result of founders wanting to solve a pain point they experienced. The conversation with Bernard comes at a time when Ethiopia is opening up its economy. The country granted its first private mobile licence in 2021 and one year later, granted a mobile money service licence to M-Pesa. In Ethiopia, M-Pesa will be looking to replicate the kind of success it has had in Kenya where it has become the runaway market leader. Yet that may not play out the same way because it is in a market where growth is happenin…
Feb 9, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #09: Women-led Entrepreneurship in Africa with Desiree Joule-Adam
Desiree is passionate about breaking boundaries and inspiring women founders to re-discover and write a new narrative for Africa. Her work is synonymous with advocating for innovation, emerging technologies, and start-up ecosystems that foster collaboration and sustainable relationships among women in the tech sector. In this episode, we look deeper into the state of women-led entrepreneurship in Africa with Desiree Joule-Adam, Director of External Affairs at the African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative. What to look forward to in this episode: * Why are you passionate about women-led entrepreneurship in Africa? What about your background and history influenced your career trajectory to reach this point? [3:40] * You’ve worked in various sectors, ranging from media and telco to education and industry. Which experiences have proven to be the most valuable to you in your work today? [8:04] * What are the typical challenges women entrepreneurs face when trying to build busine…
Jan 30, 2023
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #10: The role of media coverage for the African VC and startup ecosystem
Tomiwa Aladekomo leads the team at Big Cabal Media, which publishes the tech and youth publications, TechCabal and Zikoko. Big Cabal is building the next generation of African media brands and creating some of the continent's most interesting and exciting original content. What to look forward to in this episode: * What’s your favorite African tech success story of 2022? [4:10] * What ecosystem issue do you think should have got more coverage last year and why? [5:34] * Coming into 2022, the sense was, can Africa buck the VC funding downturn that was sweeping other markets… And indeed, it seems we have. Does that surprise you? [8:01] * Despite challenges in the tech this industry, what led you to found Big Cabal Media? What was the opportunity, and what interested you about it? [9:30] * Tell us about your media diet… What are you reading, what are you watching, and what are you listening to right now? [12:46] * What are your thoughts on how the relationship between…
Nov 30, 2022
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #08: Africa's Mobile & Internet Revolution with Russell Southwood
Russell is the author of a book recently published by the Manchester University Press titled Africa. 2.0: Inside a continent’s communications revolution. Russell’s book critically examines the impact these technologies have had on development practices and the role development actors have played in accelerating regulatory reform, fibre roll-out, and mobile money. What to look forward to in this episode: * What has been most surprising about growth or lack of growth in the African startup landscape/sector? [04:25] * What are some of the data points or anecdotes that founders could look into when trying to introduce innovation from a behavioral perspective regarding adoption? [08:10] * Do you think enough people are working on the enabling infrastructure, or do more people need to think about that and not the sexy user interface or app? Do you think the incumbents need to be more proactive in opening up distribution channels? [10:03] * The lines are often blurred between am…
Nov 3, 2022
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #07: Logistics Vibe Check + Lessons from Thumeza with Gugulethu Siso
Tech entrepreneur, Gugulethu Siso, joins us on this logistics-themed #APSVibecheck instalment of the African Pre-seed Podcast. Gugulethu has co-founded two startups, namely Ninety Nine Investments, a B2B trolley management startup in Namibia, and Thumeza, a supply chain fintech startup in South Africa. Thumeza provides data-powered financing to the African logistics sector, supporting clients in East and Southern Africa, such as the United Nations Development Programme, Lori Systems, and KTU Express. Upon Gugulethu's exit from Ninety Nine Investments in 2017, the startup had over 50 employees, netted VC investment for growth, and had an impressive client list ranging from Shoprite Checkers, Food Lovers Market and Woolworths. Thumeza, on the other hand, nearly went under, except for a clever pivot. Top 5 Insights unpacked in this episode: * What informed Gugulethu's decision to pivot into the logistics finance sector? * What are some of the oversimplifications made and assumed r…
Sep 30, 2022
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #06: Fintech Vibe Check + Lessons From Jumia with Duncan Muchangi
Tech entrepreneur, operator and investor Duncan Muchangi joins us for this fintech-themed #APSVibeCheck instalment of the African Pre-seed Podcast. Duncan has operated, invested in, and advised various leading tech platforms that have scaled globally. Quite notably, he was part of the team at Jumia that helped set the company up for its much-publicised New York Stock Exchange listing in 2019. He is currently Principal at Unicorn Growth Capital, a private investments platform investing at the intersection of TradFi & DeFi in high-growth Web3 companies. Top 5 insights unpacked in the episode: 1. What lessons has Duncan learnt from failing early startup attempts? 2. Highlights of being part of the early team at one of Africa’s most publicised unicorn stories. 3. Tips for going from operator to early-stage investor. 4. Why is Duncan bullish on African fintech and his investment thesis for backing startups in the space? 5. Is backing Web3 startups a crazy gamble or a smart, calcula…
Aug 30, 2022
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #5: How critical is cybersecurity for early-stage ventures? - with Ovamba Solutions & Cyber Alliance
Viola Llewellyn, Kendrall Felder and Larry Yon talk about cybersecurity risks and unpack what early-stage fintech Founders on the continent need to be doing to build safe and robust digital infrastructure. What to look forward to in this episode: * What does financial and cyber inclusion in Africa look like? [6:54] * How early should tech founders invest in cybersecurity? [11:09] * How much time should Founders spend on building their product versus securing it? [14:35] * How does regulation around fintech cybersecurity vary in African markets? [20:00] * What are some of the commercial incentives of attending to cybersecurity risks? [23:21] * Ahead of all existing cyber threats, what is the number one cybersecurity threat Founders should look to mitigate? [26:43] * What are some cybersecurity threats Viola, Kendrall and Larry have dealt with in their businesses? [34:30] * What do you have to say to the founder that thinks they simply can't afford to pay attention to c…
Jul 31, 2022
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #04: The Trajectory Africa Podcast Vibe Check with Tayo Akinyemi
African Pre-Seed #04 - Vibe Check with Tayo Akinyemi The Trajectory Africa explores the trajectory or pathway of venture capital and startup formation in Africa. It aims to identify a destination for African tech and the signposts that signal the direction of travel. The series came in the wake of Tayo co-publishing a report called Chasing Outliers, Why Context Matters for Early Stage Investing in Africa, distilling conversations she had with over 100 founders, investors and LPs about how VC works in Africa, given the numerous contextual differences in market size, market conditions, and consumer preferences— relative to, say, VC in Silicon Valley. Top Founder insights trending in this episode: * Be clear about the true size of your market, especially if you're building a B2C business. The share of disposable income you're trying to capture is probably being split across several alternative solutions. [0:25] * Know a secret about your chosen industry to tap unmet demand— kno…
Jul 1, 2022
African Pre-Seed Podcast Episode #03 Part 1: Can healthtech startups cover the gaps in Africa’s healthcare systems?
Joining co-hosts Hope and Rajiv for this pertinent two-part healthtech-themed edition of The African Pre-seed Podcast is the Co-founder and CEO of Nigerian HealthTech startup Reliance Health, Femi Kuti. Reliance Health's recent $40 million in Series B funding (the largest of its kind in Africa's healthtech scene) underscored a growing investor appetite for African startups addressing gaps in the continent's healthcare industry. In this insight-rich episode, Femi factors in on the extent to which HealthTech plays can move the needle on covering the gaps in Africa's healthcare systems and how founders in the sector should consider servicing key market drivers. What to look forward to in this podcast: * What are (the most problematic) oversimplifications typically made about African healthcare systems, i.e. a) by Founders keen to enter the space and b) by investors looking to back it? [3:15] * What are the most commonly misunderstood dynamics of running a successful healthtech star…
May 30, 2022
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #02: Lagos Vibe Check with Adegoke Oyeniyi
Adegoke Oyeniyi lets us in on what the streets of Lagos are saying about #Fluttergate and toxic workplaces in Nigeria, the rise of Web 3.0, and MTN’s mobile money moves. Also, do listen in to hear if Adegoke has plans to ‘japa’ (leave Nigeria for greener pastures) and whether he thinks there are any good reasons for Founders building in Nigeria to stay put. Adegoke has spent the last decade covering the African startup scene and is currently Co-Founder of Hankara Inc., a talent-placing startup connecting African content marketers to remote jobs with overseas technology companies. #APSVibeCheck topics trending in this episode: * What effects are toxic leaders having in Nigerian workplaces? [0:21] * Can we trust media coverage of the #Fluttergate scandal? [2:52] * Web 3.0 in Nigeria, Hit or Hype? [08:07] * Will MTN dominate mobile money in Nigeria like Safaricom (and M-Pesa) has done in East Africa? [08:08] * Why are so many Nigerians in the country’s tech scene tryi…
Mar 30, 2022
African Pre-seed Podcast Episode #01: Why is agritech so hard, though?
Welcome to the very first episode of the African Pre-seed Podcast! This show is for you if you are an Africa-focused founder or investor looking to learn more about Africa's tech ecosystem. To kick things off, we ask the question: "Why is agritech so hard, though?" Joining co-hosts Hope Ditlhakanyane and Rajiv Daya for this pertinent discussion is Kenyan agritech founder, Taita Ngetich, whose startup, Synnefa, is helping farmers raise productivity, increase yield and manage risk by providing farming software integrated with hardware (AI-powered IoT devices). Taita is a trained mechanical engineer (University of Nairobi) who's studying for an MBA part-time at Warwick Business School while serving as CEO at Synnefa. On this podcast, Taita shares live in-trench insights about his entrepreneurial experience and the agtech scene in Kenya, the rest of Africa and other parts of the world. He also factors in on how African agritech ventures might play a key role in growing economies on the c…