Frankfurt (Germany), September 2019. This will be the first in a series of posts introducing the members of the GreenTec Capital Company Building team, featuring one of our new team members Emmanuel Bocquet. Emmanuel comes to us with deep experience in Francophone West Africa, where he has been based for a large part of his career. We sat down with Emmanuel to get to know him better.
What is your sector specialty? What do you see for the future of this sector in Africa?
My expertise was built around e-commerce, and more generally digital business. I have worked extensively in or for digital companies, large and small, in Africa and Europe.
The digital economy in Africa is confronted to 3 main risks:
- The GAFAM and BATX have little barriers to enter the market.
- Some countries with no access to submarine internet cables have a very scarce and expensive Internet access
- The digital economy is a knowledge-based economy. And in the global education race, many African countries are still lagging behind.
But this digital economy is also an incredible opportunity as it is possible to build a successful company with little investment and infrastructure with global reach. It bears its own solutions in itself: e-education, peer networks… some states have understood the challenge and gone from discourse to acts: Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal…
What is your experience with entrepreneurship in Africa?
I worked myself as an entrepreneur and a co-entrepreneur several years in Senegal, staring back in 2004, and again these last years before joining GreenTec. I am well aware of the difficulty of recruiting qualified and reliable employees, dealing with the administrations, having your voice heard in the commercial turmoil, managing your working capital and paying your bills, and so on…
Can you share an anecdote or success story that shows how you work?
My philosophy is business hacking. If you want high growth, you cannot rely on classic recipes. For example, back in 2014 I was launching Cdiscount in Senegal, and I had instructions from the group of a few ways to start selling: press, radio, incentives, emailing… But we imagined tens of new channels, tested them all and focused on the more successful. We discovered new ways to sell in Africa the group had never imagined that represented 80% of the global sales
What brought you to GreenTec?
Impact. I have been trying to help develop the digital economy in Western Africa on my own through consulting, trainings, business classes, trade shows, mentoring… If you want to go fast, go alone; If you want to go far, go together. I have gone fast, I now want to go far
What solutions are you excited about for Africa? What do you look for in a start-up?
Two success factors stand out for me: the business imagination of the founders, and the commitment to their project. I see too many “startups” copying 25-year-old models (like Amazon’s) and waiting for potential investors before investing their own time and energy to generate revenues.
What kind of start-ups do you feel best suited to work with? And, what do you bring to working with them?
I am well suited to working with e-commerce or digital business start-ups, but I would not want to put a restriction on the businesses that I could help. Additionally, I believe I could also help education and edutech companies, culture or arts start-ups, and based on my personal interest, science driven enterprises, in both the hard and human sciences. I want to help dedicated founders and entrepreneurs improve and grow their businesses in Africa.
Among the expertise that I would bring to any start-up I worked with would be the following: Management experience, Information Systems architecture, Software factory management, web/mobile UX expertise, Large network (especially in Senegal), Expertise in digital marketing campaigns
What is an interest of yours that you haven’t shared in your company bio? What should GreenTec investees know about you?
I read a lot about the science, technology, and politics. I am very concerned about the state of the world, and the future of humanity, for me or my children’s and grandchildren. I have this strange cognitive dissonance with part of my brain in California, hearing about trans-humanism and collapsology, and part of my brain in rural Africa, witnessing thousand-year-old practices and culture. I cannot imagine the gap widening much more without our collective soul getting lost in between…
GreenTec is very pleased to have Emmanuel as a part of our company building team. His extensive experience in Africa, particularly Francophone West Africa, combined with his extensive technology background, and business acumen will be invaluable assets to any company he works with.