In 2008, Michael Oluwagbemi co-founded LoftyInc Allied Partners Limited, a business and project development firm that focuses on start-up and early stage ventures in Lagos, Nigeria. Michael's deep involvement with start-ups have seen him participating in seeding more than half a dozen start-ups in West Africa. He is also co-founder of the Wennovation Hub; a Lagos based accelerator, and chairman of the board for Afrilabs; a pan-African network of 40 technology innovation hubs across 20 African countries. On this episode you'll learn: What role does he believe the Nigerian government should play in promoting innovation. What are common challenges West African entrepreneur face when scaling their startup? In what industries are there big opportunities for entrepreneurs in West Africa? What is the current balance of opportunity vs. talent in Nigeria?
Olatorera Oniru is CEO and Founder of Dressmeoutlet.com, where she leads initiatives to realize a pinnacle in Africa’s history with innovation from natural resources and citizenry capabilities. Dressmeoutlet.com is Nigeria's foremost retailer for high-quality fashion products, health & beauty products and home-goods. Olatorera previously worked for two Fortune Top 5 companies: Bank of America Merrill Lynch and General Electric. On this episode you'll learn: How does DressMeOutlet look to differentiate itself in Africa as a leading fashion retailer? What needs to happen in Lagos to catalyze more entrepreneurship? What does the next 5 years look like for Olatorera and for DressMeOutlet?
Jacob Korenblum is the President & CEO of Souktel where he leads a growing team, building on his past experience as managing economic development and emergency relief projects for the US Agency for International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency. He is a frequent panelist on technology and development--with speaking engagements ranging from the GSMA Mobile World Congress to the World Bank Human Development Forum. On this episode you'll learn: What are the biggest challenges in building mobile solutions for the middle east? Does Jacob find consistency in implementation across developing markets or do solutions need to be hyper focused for each country? What’s going well in the Palestine startup scene?
Idriss is cofounder and CEO of Fetchr. Based out of Dubai, Fetchr solves the logistical problem of the lack of physical addresses in the middle east and developing markets. This past year Fetchr closed an $11m round lead by New Enterprise Associates.
On this episode you'll learn:
What made logistics in developing markets so hard? How does Fetchr solve this problem?
What are the biggest challenges in the ecommerce space in Dubai?
How does Idriss address Silicon Valley VC's concerned about the geopolitical climate risk in Fetchr's markets?
How far away is Dubai from becoming a self-sustaining startup ecosystem?
Ryan Broshar is the founder and managing director of Matchstick Ventures, a Minnesota-based venture capital firm, where he focuses on early-stage technology companies. He has also served as Managing Director for Techstar’s Minneapolis-based retail accelerator. In partnership with Target, the accelerator is a three-month intensive startup accelerator focused on bringing new technology, experiences, products, and solutions to retail. On this episode you’ll learn: What should startups be looking for in an early stage VC and how can a founder filter out the ones that are truly early stage? How does Ryan look to differentiate Matchstick in a sea of seed-funds? What are the most important traits Ryan looks for in early-stage teams? Ryan has said that partnerships are incredibly important for startups playing in the retail space, but why? What makes retail so different than other industries?
Amanda Slavin is CEO and Founder of CatalystCreativ an experience studio that helps brands engage millennials through inspirational on and offline experiences, strategy, consulting and implementation. Formed in 2012 in partnership with Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, CatalystCreativ helps individuals, brands, and movements come together to create a ripple of impact. Amanda has also founded Catalyst Week and Creativ Week, a monthly educational immersive experiences of carefully selected influencers that act as a lens into Las Vegas’ Downtown Project for people all over the world. On this episode you’ll learn: Amanda’s first encounter with Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh and what was his interest in investing in Las Vegas? Why are branding and experiences, as opposed to sales, so important to focus on when trying to reach a millennial consumer base? What are some of the most common mistakes brands make when targeting millennials and Gen X?
Jesse Johnson is the Director of the TVA. He co-founded and was CEO of Q Collection, a leading sustainable design company (now a part of Twill Textiles). He has been involved as a mentor and investor in several startup businesses and served on the board of two companies sold to a Fortune 50 company. He serves on the board of 1% For The Planet, Yale’s Center for Business and the Environment, Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment and several others. On this episode you'll learn: What is different about running a social impact fund, how does Jesse go about prioritizing social impact vs. returns for their LP’s? When starting the Telluride Venture Fund, How did Jesse approach the team building aspect? Realistically how big can a company get before they need to open a office outside of Telluride?
Peter is CEO and founder of Hyperscience, a startup leveraging AI to automate enterprise scale data analysis. Hyper science has raised capital from the likes of Slow Ventures, Firstmark capital, and SV angels. Peter’s previous company Instinctive was acquired by Soundcloud in 2012. On this episode we discuss Peter's biggest lesson learned going from Instinctiv’s founding to acquisition What does artificial intelligence encompass? How is it different than machine learning and deep learning? How will AI startups interact with corporation also investing in AI research?
Eduard Emiryan is a cofounder at Amber Lamps, one of Armenia's leading mobile development shops. Amber Lamps products include apps such as Runtime and Lucid Dreams. On this episode you'll learn: how the culture has shifted in Armenia towards entrepreneurship, if entrepreneurship is just a young person's game, and how much capital is available to young startups in Armenia.