On February 16, 2013, I spoke on a panel titled 'Venture Capital in Sub-Saharan Africa.' as part of the 15th anniversary celebration of the Harvard Business School's Africa Business Conference. The conference theme was 'Redefining Africa: The Emergence of a New African Story.' The conference was amazing and invigorating. I'll share more detailed thoughts on what I learned in a separate blog post.
During the panel, I shared a view that I have expressed in different fora, albeit casually. Here's a little more background on it. It is our view that the biggest source of risk in startups in emerging markets is operational. Execution (with high-quotient integrity) is everything. Adversity, achievement & accomplishment are also very important quotients and when conjoined with high EQ, likely increase the value of the first three.
We believe that the single most important mitigant of this risk is women in founding, senior management or key operational roles. The insights gained from our advisory and mentorship activity over the years in support of ASTIA and the Pipeline Fellowship buttress our belief.
Our seed and early-stage venture capital investments in technology startups addressing underserved emerging markets such as Africa will serve as role models for. this antifragile approach to risk mitigation.
We hope our fellow travelers consider adopting this approach. The ecosystem can only benefit from our joint leadership in fostering this.