In a recent interview with The Kenyan Wall Street, Kauffman Fellows CEO Jeff Harbach shared insights on hosting the organization’s inaugural VC Summit in Africa, the impact of Kauffman Fellows on the venture capital (VC) ecosystem, takeaways for first-time VCs in Kenya, and considerations for prospective VCs interested in investing in Africa.
Kauffman Fellows, a global network of VCs spanning 50 countries and six continents, organizes educational programs to help VC professionals understand their roles within their firms. Harbach emphasized the importance of nurturing diverse, self-driven entrepreneurs to address global challenges. Kauffman Fellows acts as a support layer for these entrepreneurs rather than a hindrance, fostering a community that cares about VC investors and accelerates their careers.
The recent VC Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, marked a significant milestone for Kauffman Fellows as its first summit into Africa. Harbach highlighted Nairobi as an ideal location to host the summit due to its vibrant ecosystem. The goal was to expose investors to various VC ecosystems worldwide and encourage discussions about capital formation. Nairobi, Lagos, and Cape Town were considered, with Nairobi standing out for its immense potential.
At the summit, over 75% of attendees experienced Africa for the first time, transitioning from oblivious to aware, interested, and committed. Harbach advised VCs looking to invest in Africa to adopt a global mindset, collaborate with local investors, and engage with entrepreneurs actively. This approach, he believes, is key to successful venture capital investments on the continent.