1.7X World Tour, crazy fall, new projects, and a great book.

Yesterday I wanted to calculate how many world tour (meaning the world circumference) I am about to do in the next few weeks, and sadly realized it’s almost two.

I have been silent during the summer, because I really thought family deserved a long quality time, and also because – as always – something (else) is on the making.

We are launching something called FinTechStage LEAP, (for Learn, Experiment, Accelerate, Partner) in Africa (to start with) as part of our engagement with Omidyar Network. These guys are awesome : the objective is to make FTS sustainable in its quest to help FinTech (and InsurTech and RegTech) thrive in emerging markets.

What “sustainable” means ?
We are not into maximise profits, but we are a commercial company.
What we REALLY want is to make a difference, an impact, something that someone else can pick up and run with it better than we do. We want to accomplish that with a team of likeminded people who don’t need holidays from the work they do (that one is not about Stakhanovite lifestyle, but about passion for what you do devouring you).

So… LEAP (credit to my friend Kabir for the word and to yours truly to figure out the acronym for it ;))

See later (this same post, there is a reason for postponing it)

If you remember, back in the Innotribe days, we created something called the Enablers.
A mix of Investors, Financial Institutions, Tech experts and Entrepreneurs helping the Innovation, scouting, vetting, productisation of ideas potentially helping SWIFT and the community.
Same concept in a different twist was also implemented by my dear friend Kosta for the BMGF (the Gates Foundation) to help the organisation become smarter about some of their emerging markets next moves (and their Level One project).
Well, no surprises here, we want to build the same community for Africa and use it as a soundboard, a community Enablers, a knowledge and connection catalyst.

Now : I have the simplest possible answer to what would look like a complex and political questions : HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CHOOSE THE ENABLERS ?
If we were a power-political control freak organization, we would need 15 charts and 5 committees to establish geographical, influence and members seniority criteria.

Since we are not, the simplest answer is : whomever GETS it.

It s not a remunerated role, we might partner with some event organiser to fund some of the T&E and take advantage of a speaker role to gather these people together, but we are offering an invaluable bridge with funding, network, knowledge and innovation and we hope that will be more than enough to reunite an awesome crowd.
Remember, the objective is to make it “sustainable” so long term no one would pay from his own pocket to be part of this, once we rally the right partners.

Action. As I said, we will start gathering our Enablers community during ad-hoc or existing events and start making connections, having an eco-system approach.
This – of course – sounds BS unless you have – like we did – already experimented that in other countries, and exchanged with the players behind the most successful FinTech players of the planet.

Concrete example : Omidyar Network is now experimenting in Tanzania a Venture Builder approach (like the one of FinLeap in Germany, for the ones who are familiar with it). It is about challenge lead entrepreneurship, starting by a problem that eco-system has to solve (SME credit, for instance) and putting the right ressources and seed capital in place to make it happen.
Well, guess what : you need all the players (VC, Regulator, Incumbents, Tech players, Entrepreneurs) to play ball. And you need a catalyst for it. That’s why we build the Enablers and the LEAP program.
There are a million things to sort out, and the right business/funding model is one of them, but the beauty of this approach (we are not exactly college freshmen) is that we will put enough brains together to figure that out, and Omidyar Network gave us the head start to allow us building the foundation of it.

So CALL TO ACTION, PLEASE : reach out to me and share contacts we should NOT miss that could help us in this endeavour. We have a good growing list of people already, but you guys will be very powerful in making it much better!

Find the right partners. We have already lined up a number of meetings with like-minded organisations (both working with emerging markets and kickass FinTech folks rocking the world, but also official Financial Inclusion pan-African agencies) because we are not stupid enough not to understand this has to be a combined effort.

Next places to hang out in the coming weeks:
– London Innovate Finance Growth 18-19 September
– Zagreb (Novathon with Intesa San Paolo) 24-26 September
Seamless Philippines Malesia (27-28 September)
BAI Beacon (FinTechStage is Content Partner) Atlanta (3-5 October)
Sibos 16-19 October, Toronto
– Abu-Dhabi ADGM FinTech Conference, 23 October

There is more to come, but 6 weeks planning seems good enough.
I think I will do Facebook Live videos from each of these events, rather than writing, will see what happens.

Stay tuned


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