Eghosa Omoigui: We have four investment thesis that we’ve talked about internally, but this is the first time we’re sharing them outside. One of them is that there is a recognition that in many submarkets in Africa, almost all economic activities are offline. It continues to be offline.
There was a very large opportunity, in our view, where you can build a defensible moat where you could organize the offline activities and bring that online. One example of that, where we invested in at the seed stage, is a company called Printivo.
Printivo is a lot like what people would recognize as a Vistaprint. They did some very interesting and unique things in the business model that we found particularly compelling.
One of them was that they recognized that print was not a simple online service. Print represented more of a community of interest, activity, and participants. They built a marketplace that looked more like a community and less like a marketplace. They are profitable. It’s a classic example of a great entrepreneurial team delivering real product-market fit.
We also have another thesis that we call lubricants. We use that to define products and services for these Africa-focused markets that have a significant amount of friction. For folks operating in the US or in Europe, there are many things that they take for granted that don’t exist in the African market.
Friction inhibits a lot of the efficiencies that we take for granted in other markets. What we thought about is how to think about these types of markets. One of the things that we like is removing friction.
We invested in a company called Easyshop Easycook. We probably have the deepest portfolio of women-founded tech startups in Africa. This is one of them. It has created a supply chain optimization approach to farm-to-last-mile organizing fresh fruits and fresh produce.
One of the key advantages is the economics to the producers is much better now. The value and convenience to consumers and businesses is dramatically better as well.
We just announced an investment in a company called WorldCover, which is intos InsureTech. WorldCover has built a very simple product and platform. The first product is to address climate risk with respect to farmers. It’s good in Africa. It’s good in India. It’s good in Latin America. They’re operating in Africa right now. There’s a recognition that farmers are making decisions around what to plant, where to plant, and how to plant based on a set of risks. No one ever framed it that way.
One of the key drivers is weather risk. WorldCover built a product that essentially neutralizes the weather risk. It is growing quite quickly. The farmers are becoming quite comfortable in thinking about risk. I talked a little bit about the demographic and how young the market is.