DiscoverThe Global Startup Movement - Startup Ecosystem Leaders, Global Entrepreneurship, and Emerging Market Innovation
The Global Startup Movement - Startup Ecosystem Leaders, Global Entrepreneurship, and Emerging Market Innovation
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The Global Startup Movement - Startup Ecosystem Leaders, Global Entrepreneurship, and Emerging Market Innovation

Author: Andrew Berkowitz

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We deliver independent emerging market focused technology, digital and innovation insights and analysis.

Featuring ideas produce podcasts, live events, and bespoke market insight content with a deep understanding of the complex dynamics of the stakeholders within startup ecosystems around the world.

The show is executive produced by presented by entrepreneur, Andrew Berkowitz.
102 Episodes
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In part 2 of our podcast mini-series we look at the investor perspective of the current state of the global seed and growth stage investing environment. Our 2 guests today include Sean O'Sullivan the Managing General Partner at SOSV, a global venture capital firm providing multi-stage investment and investing in 150 companies, and Tien Wong CEO at Opus 8, where he provides strategy and fundraising advice to technology companies and investors. Opus8 organizes tech networking events as well as fundraising missions for private equity and VC firms to meet overseas LPs. On this episode you'll learn: How Sean has adapted his global vc and accelerator programs and how to think about approaching the post COVID-19 era - [6:01] The difference between navigating market down turns as an entrepreneurs with a company of 15 vs as an executive with a company of 2300 employees - [13:26] How this is affecting startup valuations and deal flow in the United States - [16:05]
In part 1 of our 2 part mini-series we dive into 3 different sectors ranging from delivery startups to CRISPR-based diagnostics as well as 3 geographies including Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Argentina. Our 3 guests today include Syed Sair Ali, Cofounder and CEO at Lahore, Pakistan based Eat Mubarak, Jurgen Descamps, the General Manager for Securiport based in Sierra Leone, as well as Franco Goytia, cofounder at CASPR Biotech based in Buenos Aires, Argentia and Silicon Valley. On this episode you'll learn: How delivery startups in emerging economies are being affected by COVID-19 - [6:38] How Sierra Leone's experience with Ebola helped shape it's response to COVID-19 - [8:45] How has COVID-19 affected the Buenos Aires Startup Ecosystem - [20:05]
Abdulaziz B. Al Loughani is co-founder & Managing Partner at Faith Capital, a venture capital practice that is focused on the GCC. He is also co-founder & CEO of Floward, a full-fledged flowers & gifts e-commerce platform. Previously, Abdulaziz was the founding Executive Vice Chairman of the Kuwait National Fund for SMEs Development, a USD 7bn independent public institution responsible for developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Kuwait (2013-2017). Prior to this role, he was a co-founder and Managing Partner of Talabat.com until 2010, and has since then been investing in technology startups and has been involved in a number of local and regional entrepreneurial initiatives. Abdulaziz has also previously served as Director at Global Capital Management, the alternative investments arm of Global Investment House “Global”, where he has played a major role in managing key investments within the Private Equity Group of Global. Listen in to learn the following: How does the Kuwait government conduct investment promotion for their startup and business environment? [4:30] What’s the state of venture capital as an asset class in the Gulf region? [9:55] What’s the state of Commerce across the Gulf region? [13:00]
Omar Christidis is the founder of CEO of ArabNet, a digital media venture with the goal of spearheading the Arab Web and Mobile movement, and encouraging its expansion worldwide, was founded by Omar Christidis in 2010. Born in Lebanon, Omar holds a BA in Ethic, Politics, and Economics from Yale, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. After his studies, Omar worked as a consultant where he was exposed to exciting and innovative digital developments. After spending a year working for Sheffield Investment Co., Omar decided to return to Lebanon and join his family business, International Business Alliance Group, a corporate event-planning firm that he sought to revitalize. Under the IBAG umbrella, Omar launched the Web and Mobile Business Summit in 2010. It was the first of its kind in the region to focus on entrepreneurs and the digital economy. Its success drove Omar to develop ArabNet, which organized a regioin Road Show, boosting its brand. ArabNet is the first platform of its region that targets the startup scene by bringing together private corporations, government entities, investors and non-profit organizations, among others. Having played an essential role in driving the growth of multiple young companies, ArabNet enjoys a loyal network of fans. Its impact extends beyond the revenue and jobs it creates – ArabNet catalyzes the local entrepreneurial ecosystem through the thousands of entrepreneurs and hundres of companies that attend its event and read its articles.
Joy Ajlouny co-founded Fetchr in 2015 , a Silicon Valley-backed tech company that was created to tackle the Middle East’s “no address” issue, which has been long been a hindrance to growth in emerging markets. She facilitated $52 million in initial investments in Fetchr, as well as $41 million in a series B round in 2017. The company now successfully operates in five countries with a 3500-person staff, and was dubbed the number one startup in the Middle East by Forbes. Ahead of founding Fetchr, Ajlouny was the driving force and sole entity behind the e-commerce luxury fashion platform Bonfaire. Acquired by Moda Operandi––a fashion e-commerce giant owned by LVMH and Condé Nast––in 2013, just two years after its launch, this was only the start of what would develop into a long-lasting relationship between Ajlouny and the fashion industry. Ajlouny works as a consultant for fashion startups, and Venture Capitalists.
Christopher M. Schroeder is a Washington D.C. and New York City based entrepreneur and venture investor. He co-founded HealthCentral.com, one of the nation's largest social and content platforms in health and wellness, backed by Sequoia Capital, Polaris Ventures, The Carlyle Group, Allen & Company and IAC Corporation. The company was sold to the health media publisher, Remedy Health, in January 2012 where Schroeder remained a board advisor.  Schroeder was invited to speak and mentor at the Celebration of Entrepreneurship in Dubai in 2010, one of the first major gathering of tech startups in the Middle East, and it began his journey that became Startup Rising. In thirteen subsequent trips to the region, interviewing over 150 entrepreneurs, investors and global tech leaders, he has written extensively about startups and technology in emerging growth markets for The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, AllThingsD, TechCrunch, Pando Daily, Harvard Business Review, Business Insider among other publications. He speaks regularly around the globe, and sits on the board of advisors of The American University of Cairo School of Business, the Jordanian incubator Oasis500, the Middle East online entrepreneur information platform and network wamda.com. He was named one of LinkedIn top 50 Influencers.
Mr. Ahmed El Alfi is the Founder and Chairman of Sawari Ventures a Cairo-based venture capital firm. Established in 2010, the goal of Sawari is to help transform Egyptian and MENA region economies through the creation of high impact businesses. In 2011, Sawari created Flat6Labs, its own startup accelerator. Flat6Labs immerses startup entrepreneurs into real-world challenges of creating and managing sustainable enterprises. Before Sawari Ahmed was a veteran investor and venture capitalist from California with over 25 years of experience in top executive and management positions. Investment track record over the last 17 years includes the execution of numerous successful transactions in technology, Internet, healthcare and financial services at various stages of development. Has executed many rewarding exits, including several IPOs on the NASDAQ. 2006, CEO, EFG-Hermes Private Equity; then founded Sawari Ventures.
Erick Pinos is Americas Ecosystem Lead at Ontology, a high-performance public blockchain and distributed collaboration platform. In addition to his role at Ontology, Erick is President of the Blockchain Education Network (BEN) and a graduate of MIT, where he was President of the MIT Bitcoin Club and a researcher at the MIT Digital Currency Initiative. Ranked 30th on CoinMarketCap and listed amongst the top blockchain projects in China, Ontology’s unique infrastructure supports robust cross-chain collaboration and Layer 2 scalability, offering businesses the flexibility to design a blockchain that suits their needs.
Amir Hegazi is a lifelong entrepreneur, with over 20 years of startup, tech, e-commerce, and digital media experience. He is the Managing Partner of intoMENA Group, a consulting firm that helps international companies do business into the MENA region. Amir was previously the Director of Marketplace at Souq.com, the region's largest e-commerce platform (recently acquired by Amazon.com). He helped build Souq. com's marketplace from the ground up to account for a sizable portion of overall sales volume. He is also one of the early pioneers of digital media in the region, having launched the largest online TV network in the Arab world at such companies as JumpTV and Talfazat. He is the Author of Amazon.com bestseller Startup Arabia, which was recognized as one of the top global startup books of 2019. Amir is Egyptian-American. He grew up in California and has been living and working in MENA since 2005.
Host Andrew Berkowitz shares his thoughts that changes need to be made in how we approach building startup and innovation industries in frontier markets. Some ideas to move us forward include Focus capacity building efforts on selling in-demand skills on global freelancing sites Invest in programs to empower Diasporans in US, UK, and Europe to build companies Provide a sandbox framework for digital currency startups to set up shop in your country For full blog post visit - https://thegsm.co/?p=1953
Koichi Saito is the Founder and General Partner of KK Fund, leveraging his experience in the internet sector, finance expertise and investment experience at PE and VC fund. He previously worked at IMJ Investment Partners as Director and responsible for IMJ's startup investments across Southeast Asia such as iMoney, Bukalapak and Zipmatch. Prior to IMJ, Koichi worked at Private Equity Fund founded by George Soros, and was engaged in several corporate and hotel acquisitions. Koichi holds a MBA degree from IE business school in Spain.
Marek Zmysłowski is a Polish-born entrepreneur and executive, focused on online businesses in Frontier and Emerging Markets. He co-founded Jumia Travel - Africa's Biggest Hotel Booking Portal listed on NYSE as part of Jumia Group and HotelOnline.co - a Travel Technology Company. In 2014, he was chosen as one of the Ten Most Important People in Tech by IT News Africa Magazine. He is a Lead Mentor at Google's Launchpad and World Bank's XL Africa Program. Check out his new book, Chasing Black Unicorns: How building the Amazon of Africa put me on Interpol's Most Wanted list, on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Black-Unicorns-building-Interpols/dp/0578562472 (https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Black-Unicorns-building-Interpols/dp/0578562472)
CK Japheth is building The Innovation Village; Uganda’s launchpad for leading Innovators and entrepreneurs co-creating the future through the smart application of technology to unravel challenges and create unique solutions. He works with mission-oriented entrepreneurs to capture new value from digital—creating products, experiences, and businesses. Formerly he was Head of Talent at Uganda's largest utility, his mandate was to put the best Talent behind the company's Corporate strategy.  Kai Isand is an advisory board member at Garage48 one of the longest running startup organisations in Estonia as well as a Program Lead at Accelerate Estonia, a startup minded agile innovation project initiated by Estonia's Ministry of Economic Affairs and powered by Tehnopol Startup Incubator and Startup Estonia. Jussi Tapio is the main organizer of Hack the Crisis Finland. He's a super business-minded executive with a lot of international experience. However he is not the traditional salary man but a pain-in-the-ass straight shooter. Extensive 360° corporate background has not made him a cynic but an expert in the harsh realities of change management.
Alexandre (Alex) Lazarow has spent his career working at the intersection of investing, innovation, and economic development in the private, public, and social sectors. He is a venture capitalist with Cathay Innovation, a global firm that invests across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Previously, Alex worked with Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm that has invested over a billion dollars in hundreds of startups around the world. He has served as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company, a financial regulator with the Bank of Canada, and an M&A investment banker with the Royal Bank of Canada.   Alex is an adjunct professor specializing in impact investment and entrepreneurship at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He is a Kauffman Fellow, CFA Charterholder, and a Stephen M. Kellen Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.Comm from the University of Manitoba. Preorder his new book: Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley here -> https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1633697584/
Chris Maurice is the CEO and co-founder of Yellow Card Financial. Chris started his freelance writing and SEO consulting career in high school, writing for more than 200 publications (including the former EOG.com and MovieTVTechGeeks.com) and optimizing over 140 websites on Google (including Prezi.com). In college, Chris began sourcing shoes and clothing from Pakistan, giving him his first experience with international markets, partnerships, and currency exchange. He then started consulting for others looking for manufacturing connections in the Middle East, helping over 470 companies and brands start their own clothing line. While studying finance at Auburn University, Chris and his co-founder Justin Poiroux started selling Bitcoin for cash with the mission of giving people access to financial resources in a scalable, efficient manner. They made many mistakes and founded Yellow Card on the back of everything they learned.
Andile Masuku is a Zimbabwean broadcaster and entrepreneur based in Johannesburg, South Africa. As the executive producer of African Tech Roundup, much of his time is spent covering Africa’s emerging tech and innovation ecosystem. Andile speaks widely and advises high net worth individuals and leading brands and businesses around the world on media strategy, market-entry plays and investment pipeline development focused on Sub-Saharan Africa. He has a finger on the pulse of the ecosystem’s most pertinent issues and aspirations and has a penchant for extracting and delivering candid insight and analysis. Thanks to his active media role, Andile enjoys unprecedented live global network access to leading Africa-focused ecosystem players (founders, investors, policy-makers, C-suite executive and innovation hub runners) and he is well-positioned to assist industry stakeholders to gauge the nature and strength of the often indistinct interpersonal and inter-organisational relationships at play within the ecosystem. He's a sought-after producer, media consultant, speaker, event director and voice-over artist— servicing dozens of Africa’s biggest brands and agencies on a freelance basis every year. I also advise high net worth individuals and leading brands and businesses around the world on media strategy, market-entry plays and investment pipeline development focused on Sub-Saharan Africa.
Andile Masuku is a Zimbabwean broadcaster and entrepreneur based in Johannesburg, South Africa. As the executive producer of African Tech Roundup, much of his time is spent covering Africa’s emerging tech and innovation ecosystem. Andile speaks widely and advises high net worth individuals and leading brands and businesses around the world on media strategy, market-entry plays and investment pipeline development focused on Sub-Saharan Africa. He has a finger on the pulse of the ecosystem’s most pertinent issues and aspirations and has a penchant for extracting and delivering candid insight and analysis. Thanks to his active media role, Andile enjoys unprecedented live global network access to leading Africa-focused ecosystem players (founders, investors, policy-makers, C-suite executive and innovation hub runners) and he is well-positioned to assist industry stakeholders to gauge the nature and strength of the often indistinct interpersonal and inter-organisational relationships at play within the ecosystem. He's a sought-after producer, media consultant, speaker, event director and voice-over artist— servicing dozens of Africa’s biggest brands and agencies on a freelance basis every year. I also advise high net worth individuals and leading brands and businesses around the world on media strategy, market-entry plays and investment pipeline development focused on Sub-Saharan Africa.
On this episode we dive into our top 5 episode that we've ever done with leaders in the Asia-Pacific startup ecosystems. Featured guests include William Bao Bean, Sajith Pai, Justin Hall, Rivers Corbett, Alicia Garabedian and Simon Cant.
Samia Melhem is a Lead Policy Officer in the World Bank's Transport and ICT Global Practice. She chairs the Digital Development Community of Practice and leads Global ICT's Transformation practice, as well as its Knowledge, Learning and Solutions functions. Her current operational responsibilities include lending and technical assistance for the ICT sector. In her 20 years of experience in development at the World Bank Group, Samia has worked on ICT4D in several sectors: telecommunications and broadband policy, ICT for public sector transformation, improving health and education services, and innovation and private sector development. Samia held several positions as regional coordinator in different regions such as Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Senior Operations Officer at InfoDev, and Strategy and Policy Officer in ECA, Africa and IMT.
Eric Olander is the co-founder of the China Africa Project (CAP), an independent, non-partisan media initiative dedicated to exploring every facet of China’s engagement in Africa. Eric is also the co-host of the weekly China in Africa podcast that is now among the top-10% most downloaded shows worldwide. Eric is a fluent Mandarin-speaker and a longtime China-watcher with more than 25 years of journalism experience at many of the world’s leading media companies including CNN, the BBC, and FRANCE24 among others. He received his undergraduate degree in East African History from the University of California at Berkeley and holds a master’s degree in Chinese Public Affairs from the University of Hong Kong.
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