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Africa’s public markets are in the noise

Before spinning Africa Eats out of Fledge last year, I spent a lot of time digging into the public stock markets of Africa, understanding what it means to be public on an exchange in an emerging market country. I’ve been buying and selling shares on public stock markets since the 1980s but only companies listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ. This week I can across this infographic, showing the...

Venture capital funding: U.S. vs. Africa

I came across “All the world’s a stage” over on Substack, with the following graph: Do note that the select countries in the box are a blow-up of the bottom left corner. $11 per capita in Kenya, the hottest startup funding market in all of Africa. That made me wonder what the equivalent statistic is here in Seattle. A quick search found 2020 data from Statistica on venture...

The oft-repeated historic mistake of anti-vaccine ignorance

If only people looked back into history to learn from past mistakes, the masses would stop repeating so many past mistakes. Here in 2021, it’s the ideas that vaccines are worse than the disease and that vaccines take away one’s freedom. This long tweet stream tells the story better than I could (emphasis is mine, unrolled into text and images to make it easier to read): This is a good...

Creating a simple, compelling pitch deck

I wrote a whole book walking entrepreneurs through the process of creating a simple, compelling pitch deck. Apparently most entrepreneurs don’t like to read any more than investors. To provide an alternative, The Next Step: Podcast is running a series of episodes, one slide at a time. Below is the playlist for that series and below that, the slide deck I was referring to, along with as few...

A handful of stories from Africa Eats

There are so many incredible stories to share at Africa Eats, the investment holding company spun out of Fledge in 2020. Here is a sampling of the type of solutions we’ve invested in. Homegrown, for-profit solutions with measurable impacts lessening hunger and poverty across Africa. For more stories, listen to The Opportunity is Africa, a podcast brought to you by Africa Eats And a note to...

The Dance everyone needs but doesn’t want

Back in March 2020, when the first lockdowns hit, The Hammer and the Dance was published on Medium predicting the future of the pandemic. This is a great piece of analysis. Unfortunately, like my predictions written way back then, this author had an assumption that proved false. Specifically, that people would prioritize life. That people would behave so that the fewest number of people would die...

Irreplaceable

Some entrepreneurs stand out, clearly destined to turn their vision in reality. Some entrepreneurs succeed despite the myriad of unjust hurdles of world puts in front of them. Hurdles like being born a women. A black woman. In Africa. In one of the many countries no one outside that country cares about. Start off any entrepreneur in those circumstances and 99 out of 100 will end up no better off...

The Ownership Model Canvas

A decade ago The Business Model Canvas made assumptions about business models visible. Today The Ownership Model Canvas does the same for ownership and governance. Unsurprisingly it is Start.coop that brings this tool to the world. Start.coop is the world’s first business accelerator focused on scalable cooperative companies. They have from the start questioned the common ways of doing...

MIT’s study on social collapse: too soon to tell

Last week there was a flurry of articles citing MIT’s 1972 study on social collapse. The key graph from the study repeated by the articles is: What those lazy journalists didn’t tell you is that there were four scenarios predicted in the study In two, the model predicts a collapse in industrial production and food, a giant famine, and a drop in population. In the third model, some yet...

Neither Unicorns nor Zebra, but Elephants

Zebra’s may fix what Unicorns break, but that hasn’t stopped the investing world from their focus on hunting unicorns. Maybe a little in the impact investing space, but there the world of young companies is split into “startups” and “SMEs” with the latter still looked upon as potential unicorns and the latter often derided as unworthy of investment. Rather than...

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