The Opportunities in Africa

This is the second of a series of blog posts where I’m sharing my learning from visiting Africa (specifically East Africa), to help my fellow Americans and like-minded Europeans. Part one was the visible energy and part two, opportunities. I’ve spoken and written about how big the opportunities are in Africa, but that was based mostly on seeing the city of Nairobi. My view of the...

The Energy of Africa

I spent half of September touring Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, not to see the wildlife, but to see first hand seven succeeding startups, all of which have attended one program or another from the Fledge accelerator network. The big learning is that I’ve been underestimating the potential opportunities. Underestimating for orders of magnitude. In this and the next few blog posts, I’ll...

A Whirlwind Tour of East Africa

I spent the first half of September in East Africa, visiting two of my fledglings in Tanzania, training 14 entrepreneurs in Nairobi, then headed off to Western Kenya and drove to and from Eastern Uganda to visit five more graduates of Fledge, my conscious company accelerator. To share a glimpse of what all that was like, below are a series of video tours of each of the companies: Plus three key...

Busy elsewhere

Last month I promised a daily habit of creation. What I’ve learned since then is that you have have any two of: international travel, jet lag, and blogging. But that doesn’t mean a pause to the habit. In fact, the jet lag is from 35 hours of flying from Seattle to Nairobi, with a stop in Dar es Salaam. Below are two videos from my stop in Tanzania. And in a week or two I’ll post...

Why Africa?

Why is so much of my work with entrepreneurs in Africa? Two main reasons:

There are fewer quality business accelerators in Africa than in other regions of the world, and thus Fledge receive more quality applicants from Africa
The opportunities in Africa are enormous. It’s the last place on Earth with 1 billion people growing from poverty to middle class.

The realities of startup life (in Ghana)

All startups are difficult… and they don’t get easier when your startup is in a foreign country… selling a service that no one there has seen before.  Few books due the startup journey justice.  Bright Lights, No City is one of the rare exceptions, telling the story of Burro in Ghana, a company founded by Whit Alexander, creator of Cranium, as told through the eyes and talented...

Where inequality leads?

From The Wealth of Nations to The Divide, I’ve spent months with my nose in a book looking for answers to income and wealth inequality.  Meanwhile, down on a trip to Lima in Peru, simply walking around answered one key question that keeps going unanswered by the writers, “Where does inequality lead us to?“ When that question comes up in my circle of friends, the conversation...

4 Million Years of Experience

Bouncing down an unpaved road in a far western Kenya (1 2 3 4 5 6), in the Rift Valley, I had a profound thought… There have been people living here for over four million years! That is an incredibly long history. An unfathomable depth of experience living off that land. In comparison, the Puget Sound region where I live wasn’t seen by human beings until about 6,000 years ago, when the last ice...

Native or Imported Entrepreneurs?

An ongoing discussion during the Investors Circle trip to Nairobi was about the tradeoffs between the companies founded by Africans and those founded by Americans, Europeans, and Indians. We met a few of both, and thus had a first-hand look to make (anecdotal) comparisons. Overall, the consensus was that natives like GreenChar and Totohealth had the advantage of deeply understanding their market...

SunCulture: drip-irrigation for Kenyan farmers

The last site visit for Investors Circle in Nairobi was SunCulture, seller of solar-powered pumps and drop-irrigation systems for small farms across Kenya. Speaking of culture, one learning on this trip about East Africa was the blended nature of the populace. Not only are there dozens of tribes within Kenya alone, but added to that are the 100+ year old history of Europeans and Indians living in...


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