By the end of 2018, my brother and I had a talk about what 2019 should bring.
I came up with the idea about investing in Africa.
The idea was born because we were looking for new ideas and different startups. When you work across Europa, you meet many ideas but in some way, they are similar. It is hard to find a unicorn. The entrepreneur environment in Europa is embossed by tech startups and I was looking for something different.
Obviously, I had no idea where and how to start. I had no connections and no clue, who I could contact.
Nevertheless, sometimes a coincidence helps you.
One day I got a message on LinkedIn, from someone from Kenya. He sent me a request. Normally I would not just accept a request from someone in Africa but in the current situation, I thought he might be helpful.
I wrote him an asked why we sent a request. His answer was surprising me. He wrote back, that he was looking for partners for develop the Kenyan startup eco system.
Right from the start Moses and me had great understanding of each other and a good personal relationship.
After a couple of week’s research, we found some interesting startup events, which we took as an accelerator to start our business in Kenya.
I went down to Nairobi for a week. Moses and I attended to a couple of startup events, which gave us the possibility to grow our business and network.
A week, which clearly changed my perspective on things in Africa.
I have never been to a place with so many startups and great ideas at once. We met so many ambitious people with amazing ideas, which made it hard to deal with all the potential investments we could have made. Of course, there were also ideas, which probably will die soon or later.
What I found impressive was the fact, that so many startups were trying to find a solution to daily based problems. Young people faced with a problem, which they wanted to solve by creating their own business.
The passion and dedication I met did that I fell in love with the startup environment.
Over the years, I met a lot of startups and entrepreneurs, who had a great passion for what they do.
The difference in Nairbo was the volume of young people, who wanted to have success with their startup. The dedication was much bigger, because they had nothing else. In most of the European countries, we have a big social system, which takes care of you if you fail. In Africa, there is only poverty as an alternative! That has a big effect on people and the way they look at the world. They just know, that no one will come and help them. Something we often take to lightly in Europa.
The knowledge of having no support and getting no help if you fail is a big motivation factor and something young entrepreneurs in Europe should experience.
During my week in Nairobi, Moses and Me got a chance to attend startup meetups, conferences, and individual startups in the place of their work. The visit turned out to be an eye-opener as we got to learn from startup mired of challenges that they face as they try to give their startup some life. The challenges they face a more than looking for funding.
This is something I with my network and experience can help them with.
I really look forward to continue my work in Nairobi and Kenya. I only can invite other investors to do the same.