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GFA Attract Series (VC Edition): Interview with Jonathan Berman (Africa Innovation Partners)

In this episode of GFA-Attract (VC Edition) we discuss with Jonathan Berman, Managing Partner at African Innovation Partners (AIP), a venture capital/asset management company with $500m in assets under management. AIP invests in early stage technology companies focused on emerging markets and is a member of the US Council on Foreign Affairs.

In this interview, you will learn about:

    * How Jonathan, an American, found himself in remote parts of Equatorial Guinea
    * How Nigeria changed Jonathan’s view on Africa
    * Why African stories aren’t told in the global community
    * Importance of developing a counter-narrative about Africa, contrary to the “happy depressed people” story
    * Jonathan’s book, Success in Africa: CEO Insights from a continent on the rise
    * How Jonathan got into venture capital
    * AIP’s investments in value creation through digital transformation.
    * How African business executives are probably some of the best in managing uncertainty
    * Why Jonathan thinks Mitchell Elegbe of Interswitch is probably Africa’s most successful software CEO

Profile: Jonathan Berman

    * His thoughts on “familiar founders” ie investments into Africa going to white founders or African returnees
    * Importance of considering Africa, not as one country but a differentiated whole
    * Importance of market research in providing transparency in Africa
    * How an understanding of deals, deal sizes, valuations and competitive landscape are important to venture capital firms and how this can help atrract more investment into Africa
    * Why AIP likes to invest in companies that have cross-boundary activity
    * AIP’s investment in MIGO Money
    * Jonathan’s view of Mo Ibrahim as a successful African story
    * Average size of investments from AIP
    * Advice to entrepreneurs in Africa

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“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

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