Digital Banker Africa Spring 2021

Page 42

Investing in Africa’s local and global tech potential W

ith the rate of

Taking a broad view into the near

technology adoption

future; it seems unlikely that the

continuing to accelerate,

and Africa steadily producing a wave of technology giants, with

Ian Lessem Managing Partner HAVAÍC

Nigeria’s Flutterwave becoming

greatest contributions to and innovations in biotech or space travel will emerge from Africa (although I would be thrilled to be

Africa’s most recent tech Unicorn,

at the prospects coming out of the

proven wrong here). However, when

now truly is an incredible time to

VC space in African markets which

it comes to finding commercial

support and invest in local, African

are truly world class opportunities

and innovative solutions to local

Venture Capital (VC).

with local and global potential.

challenges with global relevance, African founders are really paving

As the managing partner of an

At HAVAÍC, we focus on local

the way, and proving not only that

African focused VC investment

African technology-based

they can scale, but that they can

manager, where we look to invest

investments. A common question

also scale quickly, both locally

in opportunities that significantly

that comes our way is, “How can a

and abroad.

outperform the traditional

Cape Town start-up compete with

investment market, I am constantly

a start-up in Palo Alto, Singapore,

As a VC investor we place great

comparing the VC opportunities

London or Tel Aviv? Given the

emphasis on supporting and

that come past my desk with

resources that those businesses

investing in startups with

other investments which include a

have at their disposal, surely

commercial and globally relevant

myriad of asset classes and sectors

African startups can’t compete?”

solutions, where the founders and

available both locally and abroad.

To which I reply, “They compete

their technology have a ‘right to

Doing this day in and day out, I can

out of necessity; as necessity is the

play’, and their business provides

honestly say just how excited I am

mother of invention.”

real-world solutions that can scale