By Lauren Cochran
In April I was sitting at Pete’s, the outdoor café in Nairobi’s iHub, lunching with a Nairobi-based entrepreneur. Pete’s and the iHub can make a visitor feel like he or she is actually in Palo Alto. The climate is breezy and warm. Young, hungry entrepreneurs huddle around laptops, in heated discussions about the future of their business, code, hiring, strategy, pricing… so many decisions. Everyone is hustling.
But, there’s one thing that’s different. The long-time serial entrepreneur with whom I was sharing burritos – yes, there is also Mexican food – articulated it perfectly. “Right now, I feel like I’m being forced to choose between doing what’s best for my business – being based here in Nairobi – or what’s best for fundraising, living 10 time zones away in Silicon Valley.” The frustration clear in his tone, this entrepreneur is the embodiment of the state of VC funding for Africa.