Janngo: accelerating sustainable development in Africa
Janngo has pledged US$66.7mn to back African startups that utilise technology to accelerate African Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What is the Janngo Capital Startup Fund?
The first of its kind Venture Capital, is a startup fund looking to finance tech-enabled startup companies that strive to accelerate Africa’s progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The total investment pot of US$66.7mn - with an anchor investment of US$16.7mn by the European Investment Bank (EIB) - will invest in startups from seed through to growth across the African region. The fund also aims to target at least 50% of startups founded, co-founded or benefiting women.
"Thanks to the support of the EIB, we will be able to invest between US$55,400 and US$5.5mn, from seed through growth stage in startups all across Africa demonstrating the ability to deliver financial and social returns. Every past investment and every startup in our dealflow is mapped against the 17 SDGs,” comments Fatoumata BA, Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital.
What does this mean for Africa?
Currently in Africa, three million jobs are created every year, which is significantly less than the 20/30mn needed to absorb the region's fast growing labour force. Investing in startups will help to bridge the unemployment gap that is currently in the region.
“In 2050, we’ll be roughly 2.2 billion people in Africa, which means that we need to find now massive ways to feed, educate, house, care for and employ more than 1 billion people in less than 30 years. We believe traditional development models have failed because they were unbalanced and unsustainable either only focusing on commercial returns or too heavily aid-based. Our thesis strikes the right balance between delivering solid returns to our investors while being socially accountable, solving key market failures and leveraging technology to help leapfrog development.” explains Fatoumata.
In addition to improving unemployment rates, the fund aims to improve gender inequality relating to funding access. Currently within the region there is a US$42bn funding gap for women entrepreneurs.
“At Janngo, we believe that talent is equally distributed between men and women but opportunities aren’t; especially in terms of access to capital. That is why we are proud to be a female-led VC fund investing 50% of our proceeds in startups founded, co-founded by or benefiting women,” concludes Fatoumata.
For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.