Company Builder Profile: Nils Hafa

Nils Hafa speaking at a Westerwelle Foundation event

We continue our company builder profile series with one of our most experienced company builders, Nils Hafa. Nils is one of GreenTec’s longest serving company builders who brings extensive experience in working with start-ups and impactful business in Europe and in Africa to the company building team.

What is your sector specialty? What do you see for the future of this sector in Africa?

I have developed a keen interest in the digitalization and renewable resources segments as I have seen and believe that they have great potential to help African businesses to solve local problems. These segments will become increasingly important to African economies and I firmly believe that start-ups working in them have a huge potential to create jobs, while improving their own business operations and reducing costs through innovation.

What is your experience with entrepreneurship in Africa?

I have worked extensively with start-ups in Europe, particularly from my previous role as the director of the Social Impact Lab. I have had very positive experiences with working with African companies since joining GreenTec Capital in 2017. I am always impressed with the ambition and dedication of African founders, and I am very pleased to see a growing number of young entrepreneurs making more opportunities for African youths.

Can you share an anecdote or success story that shows how you work?

I had the pleasure to conduct several workshops for start-up enablers in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya on the topic “Due Diligence requirements for start-up”. The feedback was very positive and underlined the essential need of building a strong knowledge base on the one hand and supporting local business angel networks on the other hand to improve the funding opportunities.

What brought you to GreenTec?

I first met GreenTec founders Thomas and Erick while they were in residence at the Social Impact Lab. From getting to know them and their activities at the lab I jumped at the opportunity to join the team.

What solutions are you excited about for Africa?

There are many exciting solutions being prototyped that have great potential to improve all manner of businesses in Africa, my interests are always focused on business successful in generating social and environmental impact. I am particularly drawn to models that achieve this while maintaining sustainable business models.

What do you look for in a start-up?

I generally look for the following components in an ideal start-up: committed team, scalable and profitable business idea, understandable product/service customers value and pay for, impact. I see my role as a venture builder in helping the start-ups I work with to develop strong qualities in each of these sectors if they do not have them.

What kind of start-ups are you looking forward to supporting/are you best equipped to work with? and what (concretely) would you do to support them.

I’m happy to support start-ups within different segments with a focus on digitalization and resources. Support ranges from CFO, business development to acquiring partner and marketing strategies. Working with a lean approach, supporting them in iterating circles to improve their product/service is a core feature of my work and understanding how to develop start-ups.

What is an interest of yours that you haven’t shared in your company bio? What should GreenTec investees know about you?

I try to start with an open mind and collect first as much information as I can get to understand as best as possible. Given that I tend to ask a thousand questions which helps me to evaluate better. I am also an avid sportsman who enjoys triathlon sports, yachting, and camping.

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