Silicon Valley Investors on Africa: Conversation on Early Stage VC, Impact Investing, and Corporate
African Diaspora Network Impact & Innovation Speaker Series
A special thank you to: Mr. Deji Akomolafe & VMware for Sponsoring the Forum, Marsha Wulff of LoftyInc for curating and moderating the forum and our partners at the Frugal Innovation Hub, Santa Clara University
On Saturday, July 28, African Diaspora Network hosted its second 2018 Africa Impact & Innovation Series in partnership with VMware and Frugal Innovation Hub. Held at Santa Clara University’s Frugal Innovation Hub, the event drew participants from the technology, academia, and public sectors interested to learn more about investment landscape of Africa. Highlights include the following takeaways:
“Incredible things can come out of Africa,” says Deji Akomolafe of VMware. Akomolafe shared VMware’s current work in teaching virtualization and offering cloud computing courses as a way of delivering training and developing the workforce in Africa.
Allie Amoroso, Oracle Startup Ecosystem, spoke to the importance of skills development in driving growth for impact companies in Kenya, with an emphasis on education, particularly among women and children
Stanley Onyimba, Google, addressed the challenges that startups on the ground face in getting the expertise and resources that they need, and the burgeoning work of Google to support startups throughout their life cycle.
Emeka Afigbo spoke on how he created strategic partnerships that led Mark Zuckerberg to develop Facebook in Nigeria. Afigbo highlighted the need for connection, enablers, and knowledge of the local context for successful businesses to thrive.
Duncan Goldie-Scot of Musoni Kenya, Ltd., responded to questions of why people want to invest in Africa, stating that Africa is geographically 3x the side of the U.S. population, but only attracts 1% of funding in the U.S. Yet, the paper returns you get from investing in Africa are much greater than what you would get in Silicon Valley.
The afternoon session concluded with a Q&A; audience members followed up with questions about technology education, security innovation, and skills development programs in Africa. Wulff provided a final background and context on the impact of venture capital in Africa, highlighting the potential of VC investments to generate robust growth in revenue and jobs.
The closing reception became a highlight of the evening, as participants and panelists met one-on-one and held small group conversations over wine and hors d’oeuvres.
In their own words:
❝When I came to last weekend’s event, I was frightened by the fact of being an outsider. I’m not African nor am I someone with a link to the continent. Despite that and much to my delight, when I arrived, I was welcomed to a nurturing, humble, and caring community. I felt I was with friends, and I had a great time. Not to mention the great learning and networking opportunity it was. I can’t think of anything else than to congratulate you for what you and your peers have achieved.❞
- Participant Juan Pablo Jaramillo