[Techmoran] Kaleidoscope Africa’s series of events to boost tech entrepreneurship in Kenya

Article published in TechMoran, 2019-04-18

Kaleidoscope Africa’s series of events to boost tech entrepreneurship in Kenya

Kaleidoscope Africa, an initiative by four Nairobi-based entrepreneurs, aims to create a forum for the entrepreneurship community of Nairobi centered around new, innovative entrepreneurship-related topics to be discussed or presented in an interactive session where we strongly encourage participation by the audience.

Speaking to TechMoran, Håvar Bauck, Chairman of HotelOnline and one of the founders of the series of events, the events aim to bring together entrepreneurs, investors, entrepreneurship enablers, and managers from international tech companies, to discuss carefully selected topics to appeal to those target groups.

“We believe that by bringing together the stakeholders of the entrepreneurship community, we can trigger the kind of interactions that may bring the whole community forward.  At the same time, we believe that the content in itself must be so interesting and innovative that all participants can go home feeling they learnt something from the session,” he told TechMoran.

Kaleidoscope Africa is a non-profit initiative driven by a team passionate about entrepreneurship, and who have already walked down that path of blood, sweat and tears before they succeeded.

“We believe that by sharing our experience, and bringing people together to exchange their knowledge and ideas, we can help boost and promote entrepreneurship in Kenya,” said Bauck. “To us, that is a big goal in itself.
We have so far done this out of our own pockets, as we believe the only way to get started, is to create some tangible proof of concept. We are obviously looking for sponsors for future events, though.”

Kaleidoscope Africa has so far done two events-one on how startups scale successfully, and another on artificial intelligence (AI). The next event will be held on April 30th on the understanding gap between Kenyan Startups vs. International VCs.

Kenya is one of the hottest investment destinations in Africa. Young, innovative startups are attracting investments at an unprecedented rate, while international Venture Capital (VC) firms are flocking to Nairobi like never before. However, Nairobi and Silicon Valley are far apart, not just in terms of kilometers but goals and mindsets, and the approaches to building and scaling startups.

The understanding gaps become obvious in the encounter between Kenyan startups and international VCs as expectations and interpretations differ sharply. The events aims to help Kenyan startups better prepare themselves for the international VCs, and as well help VCs to understand local startups before sitting down with their next prospective investment case.

Made up of Håvar Bauck, Preben WikJesper Hörnberg, and Joram Mwinamo Kaleidoscope Africa founders share a passion for entrepreneurship, and for the vibrant startup scene here in Nairobi. The founders are from different backgrounds. There is a Scandinavian link between them.

Jesper, Preben and Håvar are from Sweden and Norway respectively, while Joram also used to live in Norway.  Jesper has lived in Nairobi for almost a decade, with successful startups like GiveWatts on his CV, and a background from the Global Resilience Partnership, among others. Preben Wik has developed a human-like Furhat robot.  Joram Mwinamo is the Founder and MD of WYLDE International, while Bauck is the Chairman and Co-founder of HotelOnline, an emerging markets traveltech company present in 18 countries.  Bauck has lived both in Nairobi and Lagos, and spent most of the past 16 years working with tech startups and scale-ups focusing on Africa.

The current entrepreneurship boom in Kenya shows an increasing willingness to take risks but there is a generational gap as much of the big money is controlled by older people who tend to be risk averse, and not always very tech-savvy. Younger investors are already more tech-savvy and risk-willing. 

Bauck believes that the events can help bring founders and investors together, and create visibility for more of the great startups out there. With that they will be succeeding in their mission, and helping other entrepreneurs succeed too. Kenya is one of the hotbeds of entrepreneurship on the continent, and one of the top recipients of international investments, events like this will help ready local startups for international investments and grow the entire ecosystem.

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