Ally Mwakaneno of Kenya Wall Street talks to TLcom Founder and Managing Partner Maurizio Caio on the characteristics of a great investment, why Africa’s young startup ecosystem needs more venture capital, and what is likely to be the next giant after fintech. Maurizio also tells the story behind TLcom and its investment in portfolio companies such as Autochek, Twiga, and uLesson.
- A great investment opportunity would be a company operating in an attractive market, with a team with a compelling ability to articulate and execute a strategy, and have an entrepreneur willing to embrace the VC model of giving up sole ownership and leadership to accept the role of someone else on the board.
- Africa faces the challenge of a lack of enough capital, especially for fast-growing companies that need huge funding at early stages. The ecosystem also young and fragile, facing the challenge to become like Silicon Valley. On the other hand, Africa has advantages like little technology risk than other ecosystems and large private equity funds that almost guarantee its with PE funds, unlike other ecosystems. Unlike other ecosystems, Africa has minimal legacy systems, allowing founders to design companies of the 21st century pegged on values like sustainability and equality, offering a sandbox for VCs of the future.
- Fintech is an African giant because it is the most immediate application of tech, moving money, contracts, and lending. It shows the potential of technology outside the tech sector, extending the application of technology to other walks of life. The next opportunity after fintech will be dictated by great entrepreneurs, challenging investors to be more entrepreneur centric than sector centric.