Franfurt (Germany), July 2018.
German interest in African start-ups has been steadily increasing, a fact reflected in INSIDE Magazine‘s series “Startup Afrika. ” INSIDE, is the official magazine of the German Startup Association [Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e.V.]. The special thematic series focuses on the African start-up segment, and recently featured one of our own advisory boardmembers, Dr. Matthias von Bismark-Osten.
Titled: “Digitales Afrika: Startups verändern den Kontinent” [Digital Africa – Start-ups are changing the Continent] and written by Anna Holz, the article presents a short interview (in German) with our own advisory board member, Dr. Matthias von Bismark-Osten as a part of their Startup Africa series.
In the brief interview, Dr. von Bismark-Osten touched on a number of points that we find salient to any discussion of African start-ups. The first of these is the deep interconnectivity between the African and European continents. He therefore suggests seizing more shared opportunities, especially those which exist due to the differences in demographic growth. Like, Dr. von Bismark-Osten, we see huge potential for the development of the services sector, as well as others, from the continent’s rapid demographic growth. Sectors such as insurance will become more and more important with the growth of the population, as will the demand for technological solutions that will help companies service this rapidly expanding customer base. Next, we share his view on what makes African entrepreneurs exceptional: namely developing customer-focused solutions with limited resources. Citing examples such as M-Pesa, M-Kopa, and our own ARED, the success of these companies comes from an intimate understanding the needs of their customers and developing solutions that address them. Finally, Dr. von Bismark-Osten shares our optimism for digitalization in Africa. Citing the opportunities that digitization creates for promoting civic engagement and employment improvement opportunities, digitalization will be in the core of any company trying to grow in Africa and we are positioning our portfolio accordingly. Correctly stating that much of the job creation in Africa is happening in cities, several companies are working on digital solutions for rural businesses, such as Farmcrowdy and AgroCenta.