Posts Tagged ‘venture capital’

Social Expectations Perspective: Jumia – African Company or Not

This is the hottest topic right now with valid arguments on both sides of the equation, so here is my unsolicited opinion.

What we can agree on is Jumia calling itself African is to look exotic, different to be able to raise its valuation hence more money to the shareholders. Arguments that this is a good thing, raises the visibility and opportunity for African based startups (this is like a client giving you a bad deal promising more work – never happens), opens more FDI money (never to happen) are all hope that it works out, with the proponents being the same to say bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.

Now that we have gotten that out that out of the way, what makes a company “African”. To answer this question, one needs to look around at the social structure which drives the expectations. Let me use an analogy here, many of us Africans who live in the urban areas have connections to our “villages” or ancestral birthplaces, and there is an expectation to send help back to support what happens there. Infact when many an influential person has died, and the murmur at the burial is what squalor they are buried in for the afterlife forgetting where they came from.

The expectation is that as you grow in the world, you do not forget where you came from and bring the “village community” along so that they too benefit from your success, which benefits others in the “village community”

So back to Jumia, which is an example of a rich person who comes to a community, builds a sprawling mansion, does not live in it, then goes ahead to sell themselves as a pillar of the community, yet all the support they give to the community is low wage menial unproductive labor.

Is the aim of the business to “only” make boatloads of cash or to profitably solve an problem/challenge while having a positive impact on society?

Over to you folks  looking forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions too

UPDATE: These expectations are also being raised by the EU/USA over the large multinationals like Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft etc which incorporate in tax havens, leverage loopholes and pay no “taxes” in countries where they sell services and make revenues.



Application Solution – Outsource, Incubate Potential Providers, Fund Startup or App Challenge

This is a question where I have no knowledge but would appeal to organizations of all sizes, and in all sectors.

You have identified a need for software based solution for a project, however at the stage that you are, the details of the solution implementation are not known at the time, and you do not have sufficient internal resources to develop the solution. However you have a window of time to refine the potential solution, but only have one shot to get it right.

The options that I see are:

  1. Outsource – to a potential long term partner to develop and implement the solution. Of course this has an inherent risk in that costs may spiral out of control, you do not have much insight into the development process, and well you depend on all their processes
  2. Hold an App Challenge – these have become very common, however in this case you would define some requirements for and leave the problem solution to the competitors – I am yet to see this done
  3. Hold a Start-up Weekend – I am not sure how this is different from an app challenge but I would like to be educated
  4. Fund Start-up – question is how do you select the start-up, from app challenge or start-up weekend? How is this much better than outsourcing to an established company with prebuilt processes.
  5. Incubate potential start ups – Is this is an extension of the Fund start-up option, where by instead of owning the start-up outright you provide a space where start-ups can innovate and grow around your problems

Please comment and let me know what pros and cons for each of the options are.

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