Frankfurt (Germany), March 2021.We are very happy to share that GreenTec Capital CEO and Co-Founder, Erick Yong, was recently interviewed on VOA (Voice of America) Africa’s Our Voices program by Tatenda Gumbo. The program’s theme was Africa’s Surging Mobile Money Market, and Ms. Gumbo began by stating “Africa is the largest market for mobile money” and proceeded to report on the recent acquisition of Nigeria’s Paystack for $200 M by US payments app Stripe.
The program featured Erick responding to a question on the significance of the Paystack deal for the African start-up ecosystem. “I think it is a confirmation that you can actually have an African founder offering solutions that can be scaled and become attractive to large US players,” said Mr. Yong, adding, “It is confirmation of the quality of the founder and the technology.”
Speaking of the African startup ecosystem in particular Erick stated. “The founders community was very proud and very excited about what it means. Specifically, it opens doors for other actors in the US to come and start engaging with African companies. Hopefully, we will have other exits happening.” Mr. Yong suggested Paystack deal might have a ripple effect. “….it will have an impact on the companies next to it. It will grow and create opportunities for others. It is also very inspirational for other companies.”
Ms. Gumbo also asked Mr. Yong about the impact of COVID19 on the African entrepreneurial ecosystem. “I think the pandemic has brought a consensus from governments. The pandemic has shown that technology can support large infrastructure, and can be used in education, finance, and by governments for other purposes,” said Mr. Yong who added, “I think the pandemic has accelerated the digitalization on the continent.”
Ms. Gumbo asked about the future of Africa in regard to mobile money and other technology advancements. Mr. Yong responded, “There is actually in Africa a transition where more and more new leaders are coming who understand technology and are more open to it.” He then spoke of his own firm. “We (at GreenTec) are concerned about capacity to scale for companies in Africa. We know in most cases that it comes from digitalization. This is an area where we have more and more investment.”
Ms. Gumbo ended the interview by asking Mr. Yong if there are any “home grown” African companies that viewers should be watching. He spoke of Flutterwave, “Africa’s first real unicorn,” and mentioned Gene54 which “…shows the quality and competence that exists on the continent.” The episode also included additional segments on women’s voices in Africa, Mobile Money usage during the pandemic, as well as Mobile Money expansion into Somalia and others. We are very pleased to be able to contribute to positive reporting on the opportunities in the African start-up ecosystem. You can view the Our Voices episode below on our page, or here on YouTube.