Report: what happened at the VC4Africa Meetup in Nairobi?

By Joel Macharia on June 5, 2012

The second VC4Africa Nairobi meet up was held last Thursday, May 31. Despite the evening traffic, the rain and the June chill, entrepreneurs, financiers, business journalists and other business professionals from as far as Kigali congregated at the Hilton Hotel’s Jockey club to interact and talk business over some drinks and music played by the local house band. Organised and hosted by VC4Africa members @rassina@brutuz and @smusyoka, the meet-up was free of charge, had no set agenda, no speakers and it was an informal event.

“The fun part of most conferences is usually the networking over drinks that usually happens after the actual conference is done,” said Bertil van Vugt. “We decided to do away with the conference and get right to the fun part”

While for most people, this event was the first VC4A meet-up they had attended, they were very pleased with the turn out and with how the event had been organized. See the video for an impression:

“I think it’s very nice, and it’s a great collection people. There’s a lot of fun people and fun entrepreneurs” Nikolai Barnwell of 88 MPH said. Lino Carcoforo, co-founder of the Innovation for Africa Fund said that he had met quite some interesting people. “[Investments to be made] require longer conversations, but right now, I am enjoying my beer, and enjoying the meet-up”

Some of the entrepreneurs in attendance were Oscar Kimani, a serial entrepreneur whose “Business Mind” magazine’s first publication was launched at the World Economic Forum meeting in Addis Ababa recently and Kagume Chiuri, co-founder, Exygen, a renewable energy start-up that is using biogas to generate electricity. Exygen has raised about $25,000 in competition prize money and is looking to raise more to grow their business. Others included Leonard Magezi, who came all the way from Kampala, Mancini Migwi with Eco-chique a company making bags out of recycled plastic bags, Manka Angwafo with Hadithi among many others

The financiers’ side was represented by several organizations that fund companies at different levels, from pre-revenue seed stage investments where the typical amount invested is between US$20,000 and US$50,000 to growth stage private equity firms that would inject amounts in excess of US$5,000,000. Some of these companies included 88MPH, Innovation 4 Africa and the Savannah Fund. Also in attendance was Jasper Grosskuth, who, while not technically a venture capitalist, his experience as an advisor to VC4A and the Nailab is invaluable to any entrepreneurs looking for investment. Patricia Jumi from the Growth Hub was also present.

A couple of local bloggers, such as @Kachwanya @Mwirigi and @Wamathai also made a stop at the event.

All the attendees I had a chance to speak to agreed that VC4Africa is doing a great job creating a network between the entrepreneurs and financiers. It’s providing an opportunity for businesses in Africa to access much needed capital and at terms that enable them to grow, not punitive ones as has been the case. They also said that the meetings needed to increase, possible becoming a quarterly feature.

The event went on until about 11PM, aided greatly by the fact that the following day, June 1, was a public holiday and the start of a long weekend. All in all, it was a resounding success, and I am sure the attendees are looking forward to the next event

VC4Africa meet-ups can be organized by any of the community members. If you’d like to organise a meet-up, please visit vc4africa.biz/organize-meetup/

Not a member? Join VC4Africa