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The Grinders Table

The Grinders Table

Author: Uwem Uwemakpan

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The Grinders Table Podcast is your opportunity to sit at the table with entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders who are shaking things up in their industry.

Each week Uwem will interview these amazing thought-leaders to uncover how they've done it and learn something new in the process. Join me on the regular to hear how they dared to defy the odds and live their own success story... or epic failure!
61 Episodes
In this episode, I interview Lara Dendy Young, the co-founder of Conservio. Lara shares her background as a South African with a passion for nature conservation and wildlife. She discusses her experience in water polo and how it has shaped her work ethic and teamwork skills. Lara talks about the journey of founding Conservio with her business partner, Justin, during the challenging times of COVID-19. Throughout the conversation, Lara emphasizes the importance of impact and relevance in her work. She defines success as building a relevant platform for nature-based travel and making a meaningful impact in conservation. Lara also reflects on the balance between work and personal life, highlighting the significance of routines and maintaining a healthy mindset. Overall, Lara's journey and insights showcase her dedication to conservation and building a successful business while maintaining a balanced and fulfilling life. --- Send in a voice message:
In our latest podcast episode, we had an enriching conversation with Seni Sulyman. We explore Seni's journey from a hands-on operator who helps scale one of Africa's unicorns (Andela) to a visionary founder. He shares invaluable insights on problem-solving, crafting processes, and strategic execution - the backbone of any prosperous company. Seni emphasizes the power of empathy and adaptability in leadership. His stories serve as a masterclass in engaging and inspiring teams, highlighting the importance of resonant communication and turning challenges into opportunities. He also provides a rare look into the personal life of a public figure, discussing the balance between visibility and privacy and his deliberate choice to prioritize personal values and meaningful work over the attraction of fame. This episode is more than just a conversation. It's a catalyst for self-reflection on the motivations behind our quest for success, fulfilment, and impact. --- Send in a voice message:
We had Oyin Selebo, MD of Techstars Lagos on the Grinders Table in the episode. Oyin shares insights on succeeding in the startup ecosystem as a founder and investor, offering her unique perspective from experiences in wealth management, strategy consulting, and startup mentorship. Join us as we discuss the traits of successful startup leaders, the art of networking, the balance of power and fame, and the complexities of co-founder dynamics. This episode is a deep dive into Oyin's career and an exploration of broader themes critical to those looking to make a mark in the world. --- Send in a voice message:
This episode is a repost from Season 1 of our podcast. Clive Butkow shared his extensive journey from his early entrepreneurial ventures to his impressive tenure at Accenture, and his eventual founding of Kaylon Venture Partners after a brief retirement. This episode was not just a deep dive into the mechanics of venture capital but also a masterclass in leadership and entrepreneurial mindset. Clive's passion and expertise were truly inspiring, making this a must-listen for anyone interested in venture capital, entrepreneurship, or business leadership. --- Send in a voice message:
In today's episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kola Aina, a Nigerian entrepreneur turned Venture Capitalist, who shared his journey from starting a technology business to becoming a key player in the African investment landscape. Kola began his career in corporate finance before venturing into entrepreneurship with his company, Emerging Platforms, which focused on enterprise software for governments and corporations. He later transitioned into angel investing and now leads the Pan-African Early-Stage Fund Ventures Platform. We touched on the challenges Kola faced while raising funds for his first tech business and how these experiences shaped his approach to investing. We also discussed the evolution of the African tech ecosystem, noting the significant growth in venture capital and the need for more local participation and liquidity in local markets. It was an insightful conversation with Kola Aina, filled with valuable lessons on entrepreneurship, investment, and the art of maintaining balance in life. --- Send in a voice message:
Join Caroline van der Merwe, co-founder of Jem HR, in a candid conversation with Uwem on the Grinders Table Podcast. Caroline shares insights on her journey as an entrepreneur, the importance of values in leadership, and the power of having difficult conversations. Discover how Caroline navigates the challenges of startup life, the significance of building a strong support system, and self-discovery. --- Send in a voice message:
In the second part of my conversation with Oo Nwoye on The Grinders Table, we shift our focus to venture capital, innovation, and the global tech landscape. Oo shares his insights on how venture capital can effectively support startups, the importance of domain expertise in angel investing, and the risks of providing too much capital too early. We also discuss the evolution of startup funding and the ethical considerations for founders in managing investor relationships. --- Send in a voice message:
This week, I had the honour of hosting Oo Nwoye at The Grinders Table. Oo stands out as a key figure in Africa's startup ecosystem, providing advisory services to startups and serving as an exceptional source of deal flow for investors interested in the continent. He shared so much that I split the conversation into two episodes. We dive deep into his fascinating entrepreneurial journey in this first part of our conversation. We explore his personal background and the early career experiences that shaped his unique path. We'll discuss the significance of networking in the tech industry and uncover the importance of building genuine relationships for fundraising success. We'll also delve into the social media habits of founders, the challenges in maintaining an online persona, and how to navigate the complex landscape of social media work culture. Join us for this exciting exploration of entrepreneurial beginnings and the power of networking. --- Send in a voice message:
Today, we're celebrating International Women's Day by revisiting one of our favourite episodes. Joining me is the remarkable Kanini Matooni, a voice that resonates with empowerment and inspiration. In this episode, we dive into Kanini's journey, her challenges, and the triumphs that define the essence of womanhood. So, whether you're a long-time listener or joining us for the first time, sit back and let's honour the spirit of women everywhere with this special conversation. --- Send in a voice message:
In this episode of the Grinders Table podcast, we're excited to feature Massimiliano Spalazzi, the former CEO of Jumia Nigeria and Group Executive VP Marketplace at Jumia. Join us as Massi shares his remarkable journey of being one of the first employees at Jumia and playing a pivotal role in the company's inception in Nigeria in 2012. Massi opens up about the exhilarating experience of starting a company from the ground up, launching into different markets, managing various verticals, and ultimately achieving the milestone of becoming the first African tech internet company to list on the New York Stock Exchange. Listeners will get a behind-the-scenes look at the early days of Jumia, including the challenges and high-pressure environment that come with building a brand destined to scale across multiple markets. Massi reflects on working closely with the initial co-founders Tunde and Rafael in Lagos and the evolution of Jumia from its initial websites to the renowned brand it is today. Tune in for an insightful conversation filled with valuable stories and learnings from a key player in the growth of Africa's e-commerce ecosystem. --- Send in a voice message:
Join us on an inspiring journey as David Gonahasa, Founder of Tripessa, takes us from his early beginnings on the streets of Uganda to revolutionizing the tourism sector with RoundBob, and now Tripessa. His narrative is not just one of success, but of resilience, as he navigates the trials of pioneering internet ventures and leadership roles in a pan-African enterprise. David also shares invaluable insights on leadership, building teams, and attracting supporters for a new venture. Plus, we get a glimpse into the personal side of entrepreneurship, including the vital support of spouses and the importance of maintaining a moral compass. --- Send in a voice message:
In this episode of the Grinders Table podcast, I sit down with June Angelides MBE, a trailblazer and advocate for diversity in the startup ecosystem. June is the founding partner at Levare Ventures which backs early-stage startups across E-commerce, Fintech, Healthtech, Future of Work and B2B Saas across sub-saharan Africa. She has invested across Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Ghana. She also invests in European startups with Samos Investments. June shares her inspiring journey from growing up in Lagos to studying economics in London, and how she found her passion for supporting female founders and breaking down barriers in the tech industry. June's story is one of resilience and determination as she navigated different industries, from working in finance to founding a child-friendly coding school for moms. She opens up about the challenges she faced and the lessons she learned along the way, including the importance of authenticity, building meaningful relationships, and embracing failure. June also delves into the power of networking, the value of curiosity, and the importance of creating opportunities for others. This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to make a difference in the world. Timestamps: 00:00:00 Introduction 00:00:15 June's background and journey to the UK 00:02:02 Joining Silicon Valley Bank and learning the world of startups 00:03:16 Founding Moms-in-Tech and the challenges of building a business 00:05:57 Transitioning to Venture Capital 00:06:30 Investing in Africa and the exciting startup ecosystem 00:08:46 Overcoming challenges and staying motivated 00:11:28 Motivating others and building a strong network 00:14:46 The importance of authenticity and storytelling 00:18:18 Addressing the lack of capital for diverse founders 00:23:05 The role of female investors in allocating capital 00:26:12 Learning to swim and the power of networking --- Send in a voice message:
I am delighted to have Oswald Osaritin Guobadia as our guest on the Grinders Table Podcast today. He is a prominent figure in the Nigerian Tech Ecosystem who played a key role in passing The Nigerian Startup Act. Oswald's story is a powerful narrative of transformation, resilience, and the pursuit of value. His insights on career change, the importance of impact, and the power and money dynamics give us much to ponder. Subscribe, share with a friend and leave a comment. --- Send in a voice message:
For this episode, I had a wholesome conversation with Anil Atma, a savvy entrepreneur and advisor to various venture funds, startups and businesses in Nigeria, including a unicorn. We explore the fascinating world of tech and business, and what entrepreneurs need to focus on as they build. Whether you dream of launching your startup, scaling your existing company, or learning from the best practices of successful entrepreneurs, this episode will give you valuable insights and motivation for your journey. Listen, subscribe and share with a friend! --- Send in a voice message:
Join us on a captivating journey with Seyi Abolaji, who went from pursuing his football aspirations to becoming a leader in the Nigeria Food and Beverage industry with Wilsons Juice Co, aka, Wilson's Lemonade. In this episode, we dive deep into Seyi's pursuit of impact over comfort, his dedication to personal growth, and his dogged pursuit of impact. Seyi discusses the intricacies of making it in Nigeria's beverage industry, the importance of playing to your strengths, and how his personal mantra, "create better," along with his SKITS philosophy—Sacrifice, Creativity, Integrity, Teamwork—guides his entrepreneurial spirit. This episode is a treasure trove of wisdom not only for aspiring entrepreneurs but for anyone looking to forge a meaningful trajectory in their professional and personal lives. Subscribe and share with a friend! --- Send in a voice message:
On the first episode of this season, we dive into Joe Kinvi's inspiring story, a visionary whose roots in Togo have branched out to make a Pan-African impact in the business world. We trace Joe's remarkable journey from an accounting and finance student in Dublin to building one of Africa's top investment syndicates - Hoaq. His story is a masterclass in resilience, underscored by an unyielding passion to drive Africa's economic renaissance. Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned businessperson, or simply a curious mind, there's a wealth of insight waiting for you in this episode. --- Send in a voice message:
Join us in this insightful episode as we explore the journey of Ikpeme Neto, the founder and CEO of Wella Health. This episode provides an in-depth look at one of those transforming healthcare in Africa through the lens of a visionary who traded in his scrubs for the world of startups. Hear about the challenges and triumphs of building a successful team, leveraging data in healthcare tech, and maintaining a balanced family life while pioneering change. Neto shares valuable insights from his experience, shedding light on the unique path he's carved at the intersection of medicine, technology, and entrepreneurship. --- Send in a voice message:
In this enlightening episode, we have an in-depth discussion with Mark Kleyner and Cindy Ai, co-founders of Dream VC, as they reveal the realities of the venture capital world. They share their journey from being entrepreneurs to becoming venture capitalists and how their shared passion has been a catalyst for their success. Mark and Cindy delve into the dynamics of the African venture capital market, discussing the importance of understanding the various aspects of the industry and the challenges they've faced. They also touch on the unique dynamics of their co-founder relationship, including how they support each other during challenging times and the principles they value. The conversation takes a turn towards diversity and ethics in the venture capital space. Mark and Cindy discuss the need for improved knowledge and standards in the African VC space, creating a culture of ethical behaviour, and promoting diversity. They also highlight the need for better support systems and resources to create a more accessible and safe space for young women to transition into venture capital. Listen in to get insights into the venture capital landscape from the perspective of Mark and Cindy, co-founders of Dream VC. Shownotes: (0:00:00) - Introduction to Mark and Cindy, co-founders of Dream VC (0:07:56) - Transition from entrepreneurs to venture capitalists (0:13:10) - The importance of a strong co-founder relationship (0:18:05) - The value of taking a break (0:27:12) - Promoting diversity and ethics in the venture capital space (0:34:27) - Managing expectations --- Send in a voice message:
In this insightful episode, we delve into the intriguing world of healthcare and the rich career of Eugene Nwoke across FMCG, Pharma, and Biotech. Eugene shares his journey and commitment to addressing the stark inequity in healthcare. He also talks about the balance of passion and practicality in making decisions. Listen and share with a friend. Key points discussed: - Eugene's journey into healthcare, triggered by the stark disparities he observed in the field. - Balancing passion and practicality in decision-making - Understanding you can't control everything - Learning from failure - Mentorship - Learning beyond conventional education --- Send in a voice message:
In this episode, we dive deep into the life and experiences of Babajide Duroshola, a seasoned operator who helps African companies scale. Babajide offers invaluable insights into leadership and team building, learned from his time with reputable firms like Andela, SafeBoda and M-Kopa. He discusses the importance of shared understanding, learning from mistakes, and the pursuit of progress before perfection. This episode is packed with life lessons, personal experiences, and inspiring stories that are sure to enrich your perspective as you build your career and run your business. Key Discussion Points: - Babaji's journey in striking a balance between personal and professional life (0:00:00) - His insights on leadership and team building, learned from firms like Andela, SafeBoda, and M-Kopa (0:15:41) - The philosophy of play and personal growth - taking a hiatus from work to reconnect with inner selves, being a life-long learner (0:28:35) - Importance of independent thought (0:33:33) Key Quotes: - "We're not striving for perfection. We are striving for what works." - "The only way you are able to pull in the same direction is by getting everybody to a point of shared understanding." - "Progress before perfection. For me, it is like progress. It's never really perfection. Like are we moving forward? Are we moving? Are we moving in the right direction?" - "Leadership is hard. You make decisions and you have to look at those decisions and live with it." --- Send in a voice message: