INTERVIEW: Claudia Makadristo, regional manager for Africa at funding platform Seedstars (pictured), stressed the importance for start-ups on the continent to create their own identity, as she urged operators to invest in the region and open doors for entrepreneurs.
Seedstars, which promotes and invests in technology start-ups in emerging markets, operates in 30 countries in Africa, as well as Latin America and Asia.
Speaking about the challenges of investing in Africa specifically, Makadristo cautioned on the importance of understanding there was not one single ecosystem in the region, with a mix of developed nations including Kenya and South Africa along with smaller countries which still “have to put in some blocks to get to where they need to go”.
“The work is never done and designing this ecosystem is very complex, so it might take a while before we get to a stage of a London, Silicon Valley or Tel Aviv,” she said.
She, however, added it was important for entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors to remember it is important to “come up with solutions that work for us as Africans. We can’t copy and paste what is happening in Silicon Valley because it’s not necessarily relevant for us in the African continent”.
Makadristo added that, despite the risks involved, she was seeing more investors “take a leap of faith” and put money in Africa’s young entrepreneurs.
Rising smartphone penetration and mobile money uptake also offered opportunities for operators to enter different ecosystems and “add value”, she said.
In the interview, Makadristo also discussed the hot areas of development and explained what investors look for when considering making an investment. Click here to watch.