DiscoverThe Flip
The Flip
Claim Ownership

The Flip

Author: Justin Norman

Subscribed: 866Played: 3,070


The Flip is an editorial-style podcast exploring contextually relevant insights from entrepreneurs and investors changing the status quo in Africa. The name The Flip comes from the opportunity to flip the script – question some of the pervasive narratives on entrepreneurship, challenge the ubiquity of Silicon Valley thought leadership, and champion the entrepreneurs building a future inspired by Africa. Produced and hosted by Johannesburg-based entrepreneur and American expat Justin Norman. Sayo Folawiyo is the executive producer and b-mic.
33 Episodes
In this episode, we talk about cryptocurrency with the Co-Founder and CEO of Bundle, and the Founding Partner of Microtraction, Yele Bademosi. Beyond trading and price volatility, what is it about crypto that excites Yele and so many others on the continent?Throughout the series of episodes, we're exploring the entrepreneurs in start-ups digitizing informal and fragmented industries on the continent. And despite the technological underpinnings of cryptocurrency as a whole, many of the buying and selling processes and use cases of crypto today are still quite informal and fragmented. In this episode, we hear from Yele about the work Bundle is doing to build products and use cases that make crypto more accessible, affordable and help bring it into the mainstream.For those less familiar with crypto terminology, we have also published a crypto glossary to define many of the terms used in this episode. Check it out here: - First question, on consumer education in largely cash-based economies. 10:36 - The macro dynamics - such as devaluation of the Nigerian Naira - that help make the case for crypto adoption.14:41 - Bundle's origin story and the goals for the business.20:22 - An exploration of use cases for crypto beyond trading and speculation. 26:47 - A conversation on DeFi, or decentralized finance. 32:42 - On a grand scale, what kind of impact can crypto - and Bundle - have in Africa? This episode is part of our conversational series sponsored by MFS Africa. MFS Africa's competition is with cash, and throughout this series, we'll feature other startups and entrepreneurs who are digitizing, better organizing, and aggregating analog and fragmented industries.Follow The Flip on social media @theflipafrica. 
In this episode, we talk about savings and credit cooperative societies, or SACCOs, and the outsize role these member-owned community banks  play in African and emerging markets. While millions of Africans belong to SACCOs, it's an industry that Kwara's Cynthia Wandia calls "as analog as it gets". Kwara is a Kenyan startup building software to digitize SACCOs, and in this episode, we talk to Cynthia about the role SACCOs play in these markets, the product and design principles employed to ensure proper utilization of the platform, Kwara's impact for members, the company's origin story, and more. 4:23 - First question, what are SACCOs, and why are these types of member-owned community institutions so prevalent in markets like Kenya?10:20 - An introduction to Kwara and its products.16:54 - What product and design considerations went into building Kwara to ensure high utilization of the platform?21:06 - On Kwara's SACCO onboarding processes. 27:42 - We explore Cynthia's background and Kwara's origin story. 36:34 - Looking ahead, how does Kwara look at product and geographic expansion, and the opportunity to be an embedded finance platform?This episode is part of our conversational series sponsored by MFS Africa. MFS Africa's competition is with cash, and throughout this series, we'll feature other startups and entrepreneurs who are digitizing, better organizing, and aggregating analog and fragmented industries.Follow The Flip on social media @theflipafrica.
In this episode, we continue our exploration of the entrepreneurs digitizing informal and analog markets, with Nomanini's Vahid Monadjem. Nomanini is a fintech platform for informal retail merchants in cash-heavy economies, and Vahid, the company's Founder and CEO, believes the best "way to move beyond cash is for us to be really interoperable with it." In this episode, we talk about specialization and interoperability, B2B partnerships, lessons from the last-mile, and much more.3:41 - First question, what is the market environment in which Nomanini is operating?7:42 - We dive deep into Nomanini's products.15:25 - A discussion on cash and interoperability.23:45 - On Nomanini's B2B partnerships and how to work with corporates.30:12 - What's Nomanini's origin story, and what lessons have they learned from their ten-year journey?36:05 - What does the future of fintech and informal retail in Africa look like?This episode is part of our conversational series sponsored by MFS Africa. MFS Africa's competition is with cash, and throughout this series, we'll feature other startups and entrepreneurs who are digitizing, better organizing, and aggregating analog and fragmented industries.Follow The Flip on social media @theflipafrica.
In this episode, we open the black box of last-mile retail distribution with MarketForce 360's Tesh Mbaabu. 90 percent of trade in Africa is informal, and MarketForce's software-as-a-service platform to better manage their field sales agents and distribution. We'll talk about product, the considerations in building products you use at the last mile and the needs of the multinational FMCG companies and financial service providers at the other end of the value chain. We talk about his recent experience participating in Y Combinator's accelerator program, what other companies he hopes to see built in the retail and logistics space, and more.4:00 - First question, what problems do multinational FMCG companies have with regards to distributing products in African markets?5:31 - We dive into MarketForce 360's product.13:06 - Product and design lessons from the last-mile.14:41 - On consumer insights from the last-mile.16:17- On competition, strategy, and MarketForce's asset-light approach to servicing distributors and manufacturers.21:12 - We discuss Tesh's recent experience participating in Y Combinator's accelerator.23:40 - YC has Request for Startups; what is MarketForce's Request for Startups?This episode is part of our conversational series sponsored by MFS Africa. MFS Africa's competition is with cash, and throughout this series, we'll feature other startups and entrepreneurs who are digitizing, better organizing, and aggregating analog and fragmented industries.Follow The Flip on social media @theflipafrica.
In this episode, we explore digital savings with PiggyVest's Odunayo Eweniyi. PiggyVest's competition is the wooden box that Nigerians were using to save cash. We'll talk about how the company designed the product to compel mass-market consumers to save digitally; how their use of social media and word of mouth built trust and engendered a savings culture, how Odun think about new products, like crypto and insurance, as well as geographic expansion, and more.4:19 - First question, what is PiggyVest's core competency, and how has the founders' past experiences helped them build the product and the company?8:27 - We discuss key features of the savings platform, like a 90-day savings period.11:37 - How did PiggyVest build trust amongst its users?15:30 - On product and geographic expansion.24:08 - Odun shares her thoughts on competition and the un-bundling (and re-bundling) of financial services by the fintech ecosystem.This episode is part of our conversational series sponsored by MFS Africa. MFS Africa's competition is with cash, and throughout this series, we'll feature other startups and entrepreneurs who are digitizing, better organizing, and aggregating analog and fragmented industries.Follow The Flip on social media @theflipafrica.
In this episode, we speak to Jihan Abass, the Founder and CEO of Lami, an insurance-as-a-service startup based in Nairobi, Kenya. Lami's platform enables insurers, banks, and other partners to offer  digital and flexible insurance to African consumers. 4:12 – First question: formal insurance penetration in Africa is 3%. What's the problem and how is Lami trying to solve it?6:45 – What does flexible, digital, B2B2C insurance actually look like in practice?9:32 - Lami's origin story.10:48 - A discussion about Griffin Motor Insurance, Lami's B2C motor insurance app used to test and showcase their product to prospective partners and customers. 15:10 - How can - and will - embedded, digital insurance increase insurance penetration on the continent?This episode is part of our conversational series sponsored by  MFS Africa. MFS Africa’s competition is with cash, and throughout this series, we’ll feature other startups and entrepreneurs who are digitizing, better organizing, and aggregating analog and fragmented industries.Follow The Flip on social media @theflipafrica.
Our exploration of the entrepreneurs and startups digitizing analog and fragmented industries takes us to Nigeria, for a conversation with Helium Health's Co-founder and CEO Goke Olubusi. Helium's electronic medical records are providing the digital infrastructure for healthcare sectors across Africa, enabling a variety of stakeholders to make data-driven decisions.4:26 - First question: what does the state of healthcare look like, and how is Helium Health solving the industry's problems?9:16 - Helium's origin story. 11:48 - On the big picture solutions that are required to have the type of impact in healthcare the continent needs. 13:12 - A discussion on the benefits and opportunity of an open and operable approach.15:46 - Helium's geographic and product expansion strategies.19:42 - The impact of improving and opportunity to improve the efficiency of healthcare spending in Africa.  This episode is part of our conversational series sponsored by  MFS Africa. MFS Africa’s competition is with cash, and throughout this series, we’ll feature other startups and entrepreneurs who are digitizing, better organizing, and aggregating analog and fragmented industries.
On October 15, 2020, Paystack and Stripe announced the acquisition of the former by the latter, in a deal reported to be worth over $200 million. This marks Stripe's largest acquisition to date and is an incredibly meaningful exit for the African tech ecosystem. To unpack the deal, we spoke to Shola Akinlade, Paystack's Co-founder and CEO, and Matt Henderson, Stripe's Business Lead for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 3:43 - We start our story of the Stripe acquisition of Paystack in the Winter of 2016. Paystack becomes the first Nigerian startup to participate in Y Combinator, where Shola is introduced to Stripe Co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison. Stripe leads Paystack's Series A. 6:02 - As both companies - and their relationship with each other - grew, the idea of an acquisition arose naturally.8:10 - Why is Stripe interested in Paystack, and Africa as a region?10:38 - What does the future for Paystack look like now that it has joined Stripe?13:40 - We explore the growth opportunity for Paystack's merchants, as it expands its geographic coverage.15:55 - On Paystack's customer intimacy and product roadmap. 19:44 - As always, a reflective conversation between Justin Norman and Sayo Folawiyo on this episode’s topic.For more episodes, visit us at or follow us on twitter @theflipafrica. 
The very nature of a high-growth startup means that the company is always growing and hiring at a rapid rate. And for African startups, in particular, the talent question is even more acute, given the general challenges of sourcing for select roles, as well as the difficulty in competing for talent with other startups, multinationals, and companies elsewhere in the world. In this episode, we unpack the talent and recruiting situation for venture-backed startups and growth-stage companies - how do we source for newer types of roles, like product and growth? Do we hire for aptitude and train up? Do we go to where there is more talent? How does remote work - particularly during COVID-19 - play a role here?2:50 - We discuss the current recruiting landscape with Toun Tunde-Anjous, Founder of The People Practice. 4:38 - Charles Sekwalor, CEO of Movemeback, shares his views on the talent question, and the opportunities with startups and growth-stage companies on the continent. 8:17 - We explore startup recruitment strategy with Ijeoma Oyeyinka, Helium Health's Head of HR. 10:26 - Many startups, including Helium Health, use outside recruiters, as well. Toun's The People Practice is one such firm. 11:20 - We har from Ijeoma & Mansi Babyloni, Flutterwave's Global Head of People Strategy on the hiring competition, and the pitches they make to mission-driven talent.15:12 - Mansi & Toun on compensation and their experiences with African startups offering equity packages. 17:59 - On remote working dynamics and the opportunity to tap into a wider talent pool, particularly due to COVID-19.20:46 - A discussion on training & development of talent, and in particular less experienced talent, on the continent. 24:23 - We hear from Aaron Fu, on the Venture for Africa fellowship program, and their endeavor to de-risk an exploration into the African tech and startup ecosystem.28:13 - As always, a reflective conversation between Justin Norman and Sayo Folawiyo on this episode's topic. 
In this episode, we explore and unpack the relationship between the tech ecosystem and the media. We'll seek answers to questions such as - what roles do media publications play in the ecosystem? How does this differ between international and local publications? What are the key considerations for the media in doing this work, particularly from a talent and business model perspective? What about companies creating their own content - what is their motivation and what can be learned? And, why is there seemingly a contentious relationship between African tech and the media?2:27 - We talk public relations utility and strategy, with Wimbart's Jessica Hope. 6:47 - What role does international tech media play in the ecosystem? We hear from TechCrunch contributing writer Jake Bright.12:05 - A discussion with Tomiwa Aladekomo, of Big Cabal Media, the parent company to TechCabal, on the publications' objectives and challenges. 17:03 - We explore how one publication, Stears Business, is tackling information scarcity, talent, and business model challenges in Nigeria, with Preston Ideh.23:05 - We speak with Paystack's Emmanuel Quartey on the company's editorial approach and hiring content to solve a problem. 28:23 - Is there a contentious relationship between African tech and the media? Are those in the ecosystem playing their part in sharing with requisite openness and transparency? 30:41 - A retrospective conversation between Sayo Folawiyo, Justin Norman, and this episode's co-producer Osarumen Osamuyi, on the environmental challenges of building sustainable media businesses and meeting the expectations of the tech ecosystem. 
This season we've talked about the relationship between African tech and other emerging markets across the Global South, as well as with China. In this episode, we talk about the ecosystem's relationship Japan - and in particular, the interest Japanese investors and corporates have in innovations from the continent. 1:33 - Satoshi Shinada and Rio Yamawaki on the macro situation in Japan, and why Japanese investors are interested in African tech. Satoshi and Rio are GPs at Kepple Africa Ventures, one of the most active VCs on the continent. 5:58 - The primary reason why Japanese corporates are interested in investing on the continent is to form strategic partnerships and bring African innovation back with them. 9:43 - We explore a case study - the investment in Kenyan startup PayGo Energy by Saisan, a Japanese multinational gas company. We hear from PayGo's Co-founder and CEO Nick Quintong.14:48 - A reflective conversation between Sayo Folawiyo and Justin Norman, on the value of Kepple, not only in connecting the dots, but in seeing and knowing which dots to connect between Japan and the continent, and on the opportunity for technology export. 
In this episode, we explore the evolution of mobile financial services and the opportunity to deepen financial inclusion in African markets. This opportunity exists for mobile network operators, as well fintechs like PalmPay, backed by hardware manufacturer Transsion, whose smartphone brands - Tecno, Itel, and Infinix - account for over 50% of smartphone devices on the continent.1:55 - We explore the evolution from USSD-led Mobile Money 1.0 to smartphone-led Mobile Money 2.0, with Hover's Wiza Jalakasi.5:11 - Chris Williamson, the Head of M-Pesa at Vodacom Group, describes the future of M-Pesa and mobile financial services, and the role M-Pesa wishes to play to broaden the use cases and lay the rails for others in the ecosystem to build on top of.10:27 - We also hear from Ramatoulaye Adama Diallo, the CEO of Orange Money Senegal, on Orange's approach to increasing the utilization of mobile financial services, and their role in the development of the tech ecosystem.14:24 - While telcos have an outsize advantage from a distribution and customer perspective, so too does Transsion. We speak to PalmPay's Sofia Zab on how the fintech is leveraging their strategic investment from Transsion to integrate financial services into the hardware, and on the work they are doing to build out the digital use cases for its users. 20:16 - Where are there opportunities for startups to partner with MNOs or manufacturers, and how do they go about developing said partnerships? We hear from two emerging market fintech veterans - Adia Sowho and Hayden Simmons. 26:05 - As always, a reflective discussion between Sayo Folawiyo and Justin Norman - this week, on the differences between and opportunities for telco-led versus hardware-led mobile financial services.
This week, we explore a hypothesis - that the lessons and models from Chinese tech companies have merit in African markets, given certain similarities between China’s development and the current conditions on the continent. 2:06 - DFS Lab's Stephen Deng on the experience of Chinese entrepreneurs and investors, and the lessons from leapfrogs in China that may have merit in Africa.5:37 - We hear from Laura Li, VP of Investments of Future Hub, an early-stage investor and accelerator backed by Transsion, the number one cell phone manufacturer on the continenet, and parent company to Tecno, Itel and Infinix.7:43 - A discussion with Vincent Li, the CEO of Future Hub, and Laura on the opportunities they see on the continent, in ecommerce, logistics, social media, and more. 14:50 - Another Transsion-backed company, PalmPay, is also leveraging Transsion's distribution and insights from China to grow in Nigeria and beyond. We hear from Sofia Zab, PalmPay's Global Head of Commercial & Marketing.20:27 - As always, a reflective conversation between Justin Norman and Sayo Folawiyo, on social commerce and superapps. 24:37 - Part two with Justin and Sayo, on mobile money-enabled business models.
Last episode, we went on a hypothetical startup journey from idea to exit. In this episode, we go on a real one.In June of 2020, MFS Africa announced the acquisition of Beyonic. Together, the combined company of 95 employees now enables mobile money interoperability between markets and mobile network operators, and offers a suite of tools for SMEs, in 30-plus African markets. We go inside the acquisition - how it came together, why it makes sense, and what it means -  both for the two companies and their stakeholders and for the ecosystem as a whole. 2:27 - Introducing some of the main players in the deal - Dare Okoudjou, the Founder & CEO of MFS Africa, Luke Kyohere, Founder of Beyonic, Carina Rumberger, CEO of Beyonic and Rachel Balsham, Deputy CEO of MFS Africa.3:43 - We go back to 2009, when Dare left MTN to start MFS Africa. What was it like running the business in those early days building the foundation and infrastructure for mobile money usage across the continent? 7:55 - Luke takes us back to the beginning of Beyonic, where he saw an opportunity to build out tools for SMEs using mobile money.11:22 - In 2018, after a sizeable fundraise, MFS Africa set out to scale. Two of their strategies included a) exploring tools for SMEs, and b) making minority investments in other complementary fintech startups across the continent. As these two strategies converged, Dare and Luke re-connected to talk fundraise. 16:11 - The discussions minority investment quickly became a majority investment and then a full acquisition. Dare, Rachel, Luke and Carina recount their respective thoughts on strategy, and how and why a full acquisition became the deal they pursued together. 19:39 - We get into the weeds a bit on tactics - what was the sell-in process like to each respective company's employees, shareholders and customers? 26:09 - On integration - of the teams and of the products. 30:07 - What does this deal - fintech consolidation, an African fintech acquiring another African fintech - mean not only for the newly combined company but for the African tech ecosystem as a whole? 
This episode, we go on a hypothetical startup fundraising journey, from idea to exit. 2:04 - At the earliest stage, angel and venture investing is quite subjective, says Zachariah George, angel investor and Managing Director of LaunchAfrica. 3:46 - Because of the subjectivity, metrics and valuations don't matter as much at this stage. We hear from Chidinma Iwueke, Partner at pre-seed fund Microtraction, on their standard deal terms.4:56 - A discussion with Andreata Muforo on how TLcom Capital approaches seed and Series A stage valuations.8:56 - We hear from Cikü Mugambi of the IFC's Disruptive Technologies and Venture Capital team, how they leverage comparables of other emerging market startups in their portfolio to value prospective investments in Africa. 11:12 - Andreata and Cikü share their views on the exit paths for their portfolio companies. 13:17 - After venture capital comes private equity, and a discussion with Helios Investment Partners' Fope Adelowo.19:37 - We hear from Victor Basta on what mergers and acquisition opportunities for tech-enabled companies, and discuss how founders and CEOs need to prepare for an exit. 27:08 - As always, a reflective conversation between Justin Norman and Sayo Folawiyo.
We dedicate this episode to Fahim Saleh, the Founder and CEO of Gokada, who was killed in New York City on July 13th. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and the entire Gokada team.This year, Nigerian fintech companies Paga and Migo are expanding to Latin America, to Mexico and Brazil, respectively. Another Nigerian startup, Gokada, was launched by an entrepreneur who built a successful ride-hailing company in Bangladesh, where there was a similar set of market conditions. In this episode, we explore the similarities - and the opportunities - between emerging markets across the Global South. 3:57 - Why is Paga expanding to Mexico? And why is Migo expanding to Brazil? We hear from Paga's CEO Tayo Oviosu, and Migo's former VP of Growth, Adia Sowho. 7:42 - Fahim Saleh launched Gokada after successfully founding a ride-hailing company in Bangladesh. What was it about Nigeria, and his experience in Bangladesh, that compelled him to move to Nigeria to build Gokada?12:39 - Investors like Cikü Mugambi with IFC's venture capital team, in evaluating deals are increasingly looking to markets in Latin America and South Asia for comparables and insights. 14:32 - Sayo Folawiyo and Justin Norman sit down to reflect on this topic, and discuss the notion of market size and under penetration of financial services as the core driver of opportunity for startups in Africa, Latin America and South Asia alike.
We've had prior discussions on Africa's market size (S1E5) and on Africa-focused investors' pursuit of scale (S1E7). Both topics ultimately lead to the same place for startups: geographic expansion. What are the considerations and implications? 2:05 - Keith Davies, former CFO of Zoona, shares cautions startups to be careful because expansion introduces a lot of the complexity for the business.4:35 - Operational considerations of expansion, with Wiza Jalakasi, Head of Business Development at Hover Developer Services.5:31 - It's crucial to pitch to investors an expansion and growth strategy that you can actually execute on, says Paga Group CEO Tayo Oviosu.9:29 - A discussion with M&A advisory firm Magister Advisor's Victor Basta, on expansion, fundraising and exits. 13:52 - What does pan-African really mean? with The Subtext's Osarumen Osamuyi.15:29 - And if there are few truly pan-African startups, perhaps there are better markets to expand to outside of Africa.18:07 - A reflective conversation on this topic between Justin Norman and The Flip's b-mic and Executive Producer, Sayo Folawiyo.
In this episode, we explore high-touch venture investing models - in particular, venture development and talent investing, as well as peer-selected investment. 2:16 - an introduction to accelerator programs and their objectives, with Catalyst Fund's Aaron Fu.3:47 - a discussion with Adedana Ashebir on Village Capital's peer-selected investment model.6:16 - Founders Factory Africa's Lwazi Wali and Sam Sturm on venture building and the merits of a human capital intensive investment model.10:20 - GreenTec Capital Partners takes their venture building model one step further. We hear from Erick Yong on GreenTec's Results for Equity model.16:07 - Then, Catalyst Fund takes their venture building model yet another step further. As Maelis Carraro explains, their program offers venture building as a grant and does not take any equity in the startups in their portfolio. 22:55 - While the aforementioned programs support existing startups, Antler's startup generator investment model brings individuals into a cohort to co-found startups with other participants in the program. We hear from Selam Kebede on the merits of this model for African markets.27:59 - The Flip's founder, Justin Norman and executive producer, Sayo Folawiyo, discuss their takeaways episode, and Sayo shares his experience, from a founder's perspective, as a participant in startup programs.
Introducing The Flip Season Two - the podcast exploring contextually relevant insights from entrepreneurs changing the status quo in Africa. This season, we explore venture building, geographic expansion, valuations and exits, mobile money, emerging markets, China, and much more. Produced and hosted by Justin Norman. Sayo Folawiyo is the executive producer and b-mic.
They say never waste a good crisis. And while COVID-19 has had a horrible, crippling effect on individuals and economies alike, if there's one positive to the pandemic, perhaps it's that it's compelling and facilitating partnerships to serve the greater good; to bring people together to solve problems that have already existed, but that now have been brought even further to the fore. In this episode, we talk to entrepreneurs who have solved and are solving problems through crisis-induced collaboration.1:52 - We take a look back at a prior crisis-induced collaboration with Ory Okolloh, a Co-founder of Ushahidi, a digital and data mapping platform built in response to post-election violence in Kenya in 2008. 6:23 - Today, the Kenyan tech ecosystem is collaborating on a COVID-19-induced initiative, Safe Hands Kenya. We hear from Peter Njonjo, Co-founder and CEO of Twiga Foods, which is repurposing its existing technology and logistics infrastructure to get essential good in the hands of at-risk Kenyans. 9:06 - Safe Hands Kenya is a community-wide collaboration of both partners and competitors. Sokowatch Kenya CEO Angela Nzioki shares her perspective on the partnership approach, and both Angela and Peter discuss the impact for their respective businesses. 13:01 - Is this period an opportunity to take things even one step further, asks Ory Okolloh.  14:42 - My b-mic, Sayo Folawiyo, and I share our thoughts on this episode and the insights from Ory, Peter and Angela. 
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store