We are super excited to start the new year with a new season of our live podcast series, Invest In The Future. We learn from prolific investors and founders who have invested in and built some of Africa and the world’s most impactful technology companies.
In the first episode, our General Partner, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Venture Partner, Caleb Zipperstein talk to General Partner at Aleph, Michael Eisenberg to draw lessons the African ecosystem can learn from the Start-Up Nation (Israel Tech Ecosystem).
Aleph is an early-stage venture capital fund with $850M under management. Aleph partners with great Israeli entrepreneurs to build large, meaningful companies and impactful global brands. Since its founding in 2013, Aleph has invested in over 50 companies (not all announced), including Lemonade (NYSE: LMND), Frank (acquired JPM), Melio, Healthy.io, JoyTunes, Fabric, Honeybook and Bringg.
Listen to the entire conversation with Michael Eisenberg below.
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Here’s what we learnt from Eisenberg:
Investing in value-based startups
1. For many, value-based investing won’t be a strange term. A 2019 survey proves that investors are now more likely to invest in companies that impact the world positively.
2. According to Eisenberg, the notion of “Value Creates Value” can be seen evidently today.
3.The key thing is for people to understand that Venture Capital is not as rigid as we sometimes make it seem, and all hands should be on deck for us to see the change we aspire, collectively.
4.“I believe that we can grow the pie, and the way to grow the pie is by bringing more people into prosperous jobs, prosperous parts of the economy,” he says.
5.Eisenberg believes that people are primarily hopeful about the future; they are ever making plans and decisions to make the future better.
6.With the invention of technology, people are now further empowered to earn a decent living to improve the future.
7.Interestingly, Eisenberg isn’t of the school of thought that people should come together to build. Instead, he considers it better to “build something then we can come together”.
8.To further illustrate this point, he leans on how technology, a universal language, has brought together teams in different countries to impact the world positively.
9.“There’s a value to work itself and to working together,” he says.
10.“And we aren’t just looking to give money to people, or anything like that, but there is a value to work. And so in the values to create value notion, working together on projects that move humanity forward, technology and expanding the pie creates value,”
Working with the African tech industry
1.With the incredible growth in the African tech industry, we should highlight the urgency for the continent to collaborate more with other tech industries.
2.This strategic collaboration is said to drive job creation and foster economic growth across the board.
3.Last year, Zipperstein announced his appointment as a venture partner with Future Africa. He shares that he is primarily in the Venture Capital industry because it is a “People Powered Business.”
4.“E & Michael, seeing you together, for me, is also kind of a full circle like embodiment and validation of that thesis that not just Israelis that can help solve some of Africa’s greatest problems and African leadership can help Israel be a light unto the nation,” says Zipperstein.
5.His thesis: “If we work together, we can solve some of the world’s biggest problems, and we can be an incredible force by working together,” he adds.
6.According to Eisenberg, for Africa to keep hitting milestones in the industry, the continent has to invest more in its youth.
7.How will this work? Eisenberg mentions three practical ways:
- First, find ways to build communities of trust.
- Second, create a safe environment for people to take risks.
- Third, make bets on ecosystems (biotech, fintech, crypto etc.).
8.“We need to will billions of people on the planet into the 21st century. We need to will foundational tenets of principles, faith-based principles in particular because they take care of people, into the 21st century” Eisenberg says.
The future of Israeli-African tech collaboration
1.According to Eisenberg, years after the genesis of the Israeli tech ecosystem, it is only now that the ecosystem is getting companies of “meaningful scale.” that is the scale of global companies.
2.He believes the reason for this is “Ecosystems need a couple of turns to work. You sell your companies early. You have enough talent or management talent set-up,”
3.Here’s how he frames the future opportunities of Israeli-African Tech Collaboration
- Financial inclusion.
- Talent distribution and partnerships.
- Build infrastructures for both ecosystems to strive.
- Develop a different thought process around cryptocurrencies.
4.However, before we are able to build more meaningful partnerships and relationships, Zipperstein acknowledges that both ecosystems need to open up more.
Listen to the entire conversation with Michael below.
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