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The Global Startup Movement - Startup Ecosystem Leaders, Global Entrepreneurship, and Emerging Market Innovation

Host Andrew Berkowitz interviews startup founders, ecosystem builders, investors, emerging market players, and economic development thought leaders about the startup ecosystems in their cities.
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The Global Startup Movement - Startup Ecosystem Leaders, Global Entrepreneurship, and Emerging Market Innovation
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Now displaying: 2017
Feb 28, 2017

Meet Nav Athwal, CEO and founder of San Francisco based startup RealtyShares. RealtyShares is an online marketplace for real estate investing that is transforming the real estate investment landscape. RealtyShares offers investors access to pre-vetted real estate investments and an ability to invest for as little as $5,000 from the convenience of their laptop or tablet. Nav has over a decade of experience in real estate as an attorney, broker, and investor. He lectures at UC Berkeley Law School and the Haas School of Business, and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business. He holds a JD from UC Berkeley Law School where he was class Valedictorian. Nav also writes about online investing, real estate, crowdfunding and fintech for Forbes, LinkedIn, Pulse and his work has also been featured by TechCrunch, Tech.co and Inman.

On this episode you'll learn:

Why does Nav think the Series B is usually the toughest round for companies to raise and what lessons did he learn going through that process?

Besides crowdfunding software, what other opportunities does Nav see in real estate for software companies?

How does Nav see machine learning fitting into RealtyShares platform and how does it give them a competitive advantage?

How was Nav able to solve the chicken and egg problems that every marketplace faces so quickly?

Feb 23, 2017

Say hello to Patrick Muhire, Co-founder of Rwanda based startup VugaPay. VugaPay is a Payment gateway system whose goal is to create a cross-boarder mobile money platform for the Unbanked individuals from emerging markets. This will enable mobile money users to 'transfer money' using any GSM phone locally or to other countries with mobile money services needless of queuing at banks or via Traditional wire-transfers. The product has been designed to meet the needs of this special customer segment.

On This Episode You'll Learn:

How big of a market is Rwanda for VugaPay?

Is Patrick still focusing on growth in Rwanda or has he already gotten to the point where he needs to start launching into other markets in Africa?

Before VugaPay Patrick started RwandaTV on which he had almost 100k users. How did that come into existence and is he still working on it?

How has Patrick been able to build a money transfer system that works across networks?

What are VugaPay’s best user acquisition channels?

What social media platforms are most popular in Rwanda?

Feb 21, 2017

Meet Toyin Umesiri, Senior Manager of Strategy and Governance at Walmart. Toyin has leveraged years of Global ERP implementation in driving strategy and designing IT governance frameworks at Walmart. She's collaborated with C level & market leadership to design multi-year roadmaps across multiple domains. Her main focus is on leveraging Walmart's scale and global talent footprint to drive a faster, better, cheaper model of large scale implementation. She's embedded in driving the strategy of Legacy to ERP transformation efforts, and facilitating partner relationships as it relates to designing the most effective Resource framework for global markets. Toyin was also responsible for guiding the implementation strategy for Global Vendor Sourcing to Payment areas: Source to Contract (S2C), Procure to Pay (P2P), Real Estate Facilities Maintenance (REFM), Indirect Procurement (IP) & Inventory. She works with cross functionally at the leadership level to gain alignment and ensure solution delivery is Best in Class.

 

On This Episode You'll Learn:

How can Africa best engage their Diaspora to further catalyst economic growth on the continent?

What major trade gaps currently exist between US and Africa, and how we can we best close them?

What advantages do you feel you have being an African immigrant in the US?

How would Toyin describe the Nigerian Culture?

Feb 16, 2017

Meet the CEO and Co-founder of BitPesa, Elizabeth Rossiello. Elizabeth has lived and worked in Kenya since 2009 and knows financial services from the Mara to the Board room. BitPesa is a Pan-African FinTech Start-up that offers fast, efficient, and low-cost B2B payments to and from African bank accounts and mobile money wallets. BitPesa has operations in six African companies in East, Central and West Africa and a license from the FCA in the UK. BitPesa was the first company in Africa to offer digital FX brokerage and is the largest market-maker in the sector for African currencies. With offices in Nairobi, Lagos, Dakar and London - they have local teams that understand the difficulties of making payments to and from the region. They work with brokers around the global, settling in real-time between Africa and Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia.

On This Episode You'll Learn:

What’s the cost of operating in Nairobi relative to Lagos or cape town?

How does BitPesa simplify B2B payments across the African Continent?

What does the seed funding landscape look like in Nairobi?

What’s the criteria for launching a new African country?

Feb 14, 2017

Meet E Aboyeji, co-founder of Flutterwave. E considers himself an impact entrepreneur who is passionate about building the future of Africa. Over the last seven years he has been a youth activist at the United Nations, President of a student owned media company and a serial entrepreneur who has started, grown and sold angel and venture backed companies in the impact entrepreneurship space. He also contributes significantly to several efforts to build sustainable impact enterprises by bringing together financial, social, political and human capital together to support other impact entrepreneurs as an Entrepreneur, Angel Investor and Advisor. In May 2016 E founded Flutterwave. Flutterwave is one simple API for processing payments across card, bank account and mobile money platforms in over thirty African countries. Flutterwave has processed over $20 million in transactions to date for clients that include Paystack, Page Microfinance Bank, and Access Bank. The founding team has several years of experience working at global technology companies like Google Wallet, Andela and PayPal as well as several African Commercial and Central Banks. Flutterwave is a US company, headquartered in San Francisco, California.

On This Episode You'll learn:

What was it like meeting Mark Zuckerberg and what in particular interested him about Andela?

What does E see as the best role for African governments to play in allocating public resources to further catalyze innovation?

When founding Flutterwave E mentioned how it was a solution for major challenges you witnessed building Andela. Walk us through your experience going through those problems.

Through E’s work with Flutterwave, what does he see as the future for blockchain and bitcoin to play in the African economy?

Feb 9, 2017

Meet Akin Sawyerr the founder and Managing Director of Feleman, an impact investment and advisory firm. Akin invests in and mentors young organizations, and uses his network to unlock value in marginalized communities. He started the company over 2 years ago to leverage the knowledge and experience he gained in the developed world to solve problems in emerging markets. He's also a Co-Founder of Market Atlas which provides a way to conduct market, investment, and country research in Frontier Markets. Prior to his entrepreneurial adventure, Akin spent over fifteen years in management consulting and corporate America. He's worked for two global consulting firms, and 4 fortune 500 companies. His career started working for the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C.

 

On This Episode You'll Learn:

What’s Akin’s definition of impact investing and on a macro level why has it recently increased over the past few years in Africa?

What are Akin’s thoughts on how mobile payments will play out across the African continent?

Where does Akin see the infrastructure of bitcoin and the blockchain as a whole fitting into Africa’s development?

A lot of the conversation when it comes to innovation is around fintech and companies like Interswitch Limited in Nigeria or MPesa in Kenya, where else does Akin see opportunity?

Feb 7, 2017

Meet Chris Folayan, co-founder and CEO of MallforAfrica. Chris has over 20 years of experience in C level roles in marketing, technology development, and acquisition roles in various USA based High-Tech companies, and startups. Prior to developing the MallforAfrica app and platform Chris was the Founder and CEO of OCFX Inc. a globally recognized, award winning Software and Web Design Agency serving clients such as SONY, LSI, Cisco, HP, EPSON, TYCO, US Government, Visa, BestBuy, CapitalOne Finance, EMC and many other companies. Chris managed global relations with clients in over 50 countries and multi-million dollar projects. He graduated from San Jose State University in the heart of the Silicon valley with a BA in Marketing.

On This Episode You'll Learn:

What were the problems Chris was solving that was preventing Western Brands from selling into Africa?

When considering expansions into other markets in Africa, what does Chris find to be the biggest challenges?

Chris has said that “The American or British marketing plans will not work in Africa. You need an African marketing plan.” What does he mean by that?

Where does Chris see the future of technology integrating with brick and mortar retail in Africa?

Feb 2, 2017

Meet Eric Osiakwan, entrepreneur and investor in Africa's tech scene. Eric has worked in 32 African countries establishing, businesses, ISPs, ISPAs, and IXPs. Some of these companies include Angel Africa, Angel Fair Africa , Ghana Cyber City, PenPlusBytes, African Elections Portal, FOSSFA, WABco, GISPA, AfrISPA, GNVC, Internet Research, InHand, and Ghana Connect. He also serves on the board of Farmerline, Forhey, Teranga Solutions, Siqueries, Amp.it, SameLogic, eCampus, Bisa App, SeeSayDo and Wanjo Foods, - some of which are his investments. He is a fellow of TED Global, Poptech, The University of Maryland and Stanford University. He is also an affiliate of Media Lab, MIT and visiting fellow at the Berkman Center, and Harvard University.

On this episode you'll learn:

What stage does Chris like to get involved in and what geographies does he focus on?

What is the level of collaboration between the KINGS country's and where does Eric see improvement?

What industry over the next 10 years does Eric see producing the first truly global African Technology company?

Where and when did Africa’s innovation boom start?

Jan 31, 2017

Julia Römer is theCTO and co-founder of Coolar. She initiated the Berlin based startup Coolar in 2014 and has since focused on developing the technology on which the Coolar cooling system is based. Previously she developed patents for components that enable comparable cooling systems for industrial applications. Coolar develops a new cooling system for household fridges and many other applications which is powered by solar thermal energy and operates independent from electricity. Coolar enables reliable cooling for people without access to stable electricity. The eco-friendly startup won the second prize at Darboven Idee – the most prestigious award for women with promising business concepts and pioneering business ideas. Coolar also won Chivas' "The Venture". According to jury chairman Frank Thelen, the jury decided in favor of Coolar because "it has truly innovative technology and has a strong social impact".

On this episode you'll learn:

When pitching VC’s how does Julia approach pitching the social good component of Coolar vs. the broader clean energy market opportunity?

What’s the current investment landscape for hardware in Germany compared to software?

Why has Germany developed such a robust Clean tech startup scene?

What’s the cost of operating in Berlin compared to surrounding European cities?

Jan 26, 2017

Kristel Kruustük founded Testlio in November 2012. Testlio is a community of verified mobile testers with a platform that integrates into your team’s development process. Testlio takes a quality versus quantity approach when it comes to both testers and prioritizing issues, resulting in faster development cycles and improved apps.

 

On this episode you'll learn:

What is Kristel's thoughts on the mantra of move fast and break things?

What’s the right balance of getting new features and iterations out into the market vs. ensuring quality of your code before shipping?

What are the most important skills founders should look for when hiring a QA tester?

What does Kristel attribute as the most important catalyst for Estonia’s development into a top European tech hub?

With companies such as Testlio, TransferWise, and Skype coming up through Estonia, why has Estonia turned into an innovation hub within Europe?

Jan 24, 2017

Mark Sears is the CEO and founder of cloud factory. After doing tech startups in Canada and the US for about 10 years, Mark has spent the last 4 years living in Nepal and using his unique blend of technology and business experience to develop CloudFactory towards creating work for 1 million people. He started his career as a software developer with Sun Microsystems before finding his groove in the world of startups. Moving into technology evangelism and product management roles he helped a 5 person startup grow to 130 employees across 4 international offices after raising $48 million in venture capital. Mark then raised angel investment, launched and managed his own startup company for 6 years before coming to Nepal and starting the CloudFactory adventure.

On this episode you'll learn:

What lessons did Mark learn and what will he do differently when approaching his Series B round?

How should businesses approach navigate the “on-demand economy” amongst the trend of crowdsourcing, outsourcing and the mass proliferation of freelancers?

How will the forces of AI and globalization impact businesses and workers?

How has Kathmandu’s startup scene developed over the years since Mark founded CloudFactory?

Jan 19, 2017

Basit Mustafa is the CEO and Founder of Voltaire. Voltaire is a startup that helps pick winning juries with actionable information delivered into the courtroom on-demand. Basit and his team went through Telluride's Venture Accelerator and is headquartered in Telluride, Colorado. On this episode you'll learn: Why is there a divergence between the advancement of tech and the lacking progression of the legal space? What advantages as an entrepreneur does Basit feel being in Telluride gives him? How does sales in the legal industry compare to when he ran a multi-million dollar sales operations for IBM? Being an ultra-marathoner and avid skier, what tips can Basit give from a health and wellness perspective to entrepreneurs in order to promote peak performance?

Jan 17, 2017

Jake Hare is the Founder & CEO of Launchpeer, an app development agency focused on growing startups in the Southeast. Since founding Launchpeer in 2014, Jake has grown his team to 15 people and has worked with dozens of startups, 74% of which went on to raise funding. Launchpeer will be launching their own accelerator this spring. On this episode you'll learn: What has Jake found to be the biggest challenge in scaling a client service model? How does Jake look to differentiate his accelerator program and what advice would he give to early stage entrepreneurs looking for the right program for their startup? What is the Charleston Digital Corridor? What does Jake find to be the most common obstacle early stage the entrepreneurs he works with face?

Jan 12, 2017

Almaz Negash is the founder of the African Diaspora Network, whose mission is to harness and engage the intellectual, financial, philanthropic and entrepreneurial capacity of Africans and friends of Africa in support of economic and social development across Africa. Since 2010, the African Diaspora Network (ADN) has energized collaboration among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, philanthropists and African diasporans to uplift its local community towards the benefit of Africa. ADN is dedicated to providing virtual and physical forums to accelerate access to resources that foster partnership, knowledge sharing, and advance investment opportunities. For the last two decades, Almaz has sought to improve the quality of life of communities through local and global partnerships and by advocating policy change and crafting new social programs to provide individuals with needed resources to elevate their status. On this episode you'll learn: What are some of the biggest challenge Africa faces in terms of economic development over the coming years? A lot of emerging markets are trying to engage their Diaspora’s to ignite growth in the developing information age. What has Almaz seen to be the best way to go about this? What areas does Almaz see as the biggest opportunities in African tech?

Jan 10, 2017

Praveen Velu is Cofounder of Mimetic.ai, an artificially intelligent personal assistant that schedules meetings. Mimetic is based out of Singapore and one of the city's fastest growing AI startups. Previously, Praveen was head of business and network development in Singapore for both Disney's Maker Studios and Yahoo! On this episode you'll learn: What developments in AI over the past years has sparked the recent growth in AI-focused funds and AI startups? Does the incumbency advantage of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their massive datasets concern Praveen? Praveen started working for Yahoo! in Singapore in 2011, how has the tech scene in Singapore evolved since then? How many years until a majority of interfaces are conversational as opposed to the traditional UI?

Jan 5, 2017

Mat Dellorso is Cofounder and Chief Strategy Officer for Wealthforge where he leads company strategy and growth and is a frequent industry speaker on how WealthForge is powering the future of private capital markets. On this episode you'll learn: How has the Fintech startup ecosystem in the US evolved compared to consumer facing Finch What was the biggest challenge in solving the chicken and egg problem in the early days? How the startup community in Richmond has evolved over the past few years? What are some of the largest regulatory challenges in the Fintech space?

Jan 3, 2017

iBillionaire was founded by Raul Moreno and Alejandro Estrada in 2013 as an app that tracks the investment strategies of the world’s top billionaires. The information on the holdings of Wall Street magnates like Carl Icahn and Warren Buffett was not only hard for the average investor to compile and understand, but also difficult to gain access. iBillionaire harnessed this information and introduced the iBillionaire Index (NYSE:BILLION), which curates the 30 U.S. equities in which a select pool of billionaires have allocated the most assets. On this episode you'll learn: How does he approach user acquisition strategy and is it different in Asia than in the US? What are the most common investment habits of the billionaires on the platform? What are the biggest challenges Argentina tech scene is facing? Raul's most important lesson learned during his time going through 500 Startups.

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