Is Venture Capital a Ponzi Scheme? feat. Grant Phillips of PhilTech Consulting

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Joining Andile Masuku and guest co-host Rushil Vallabh of Secha Capital on this African Tech Roundup podcast is Grant Phillips. Grant is the Founder and CEO of PhilTech Consulting and has partnered with both Convergence Partners and Stockdale Street (the Oppenheimer Family’s South African private equity outfit) to "build out technology ecosystems across Africa". He was previously the CEO and Chairman of the Nairobi-based credit reference bureau and debt management outsource organisation CRB Africa as well as CEO of TransUnion’s Pan-African business.

Listen in to hear Andile, Rushil and Grant unpack the provocative assertion that venture capital is a Ponzi scheme, recently made by the American-Sri Lankan Founder and CEO of Social Capital Chamath Palihapitiya. Click here if you'd like to skip straight to that discussion.

Chamath - a bona fide billionaire - was an early senior executive at Facebook. Following that, Chamath founded Social Capital which he claims, its first 8 years, made double what Berkshire Hathaway made in its first 8 years of business. But now, apparently, he's done with the limited partnership VC model and with running a successful hedge fund. Hence, he's decided to reorganise Social Capital into a holding company that will pick investments on the basis of both solid business fundamentals and "value to humanity"— and offer investees all the finance and growth support they need to thrive.

Given media reports regarding Rocket Internet's puzzling plans to exit their investment in the struggling online shopping platform Jumia via a stock exchange listing in the US, Africa's early-stage investment ecosystem might do well to soberly reflect on Chamath's controversial aversion to the VC model largely popularised by Silicon Valley.

Topics discussed in this episode:

Somalia’s Premier Bank announces a USD1 million fund to invest in Somali startups [14:45]
Kenya earmarks just under USD10 million for local phone manufacturing [15:55]
Airtel Africa raises USD1.25 billion [18:14]
Update on MTN Nigeria's regulatory woes [21:36]
Rocket Internet set to list Jumia in the US [24:09]
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) could invest USD3 million in Kobo360 [30:26]
South Africa is getting Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centres [43:42]
Naspers continues agressively reorganising its portfolio [48:03]
Angola Cables' South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) is live [52:06]
Zambia's Central Bank warns against trading cryptocurrencies [54:05]
Liquid Telecom completes acquisition of CEC Liquid Telecom (Zambia) [59:04]
Nexxus Ventures backs South African equity crowdfunding startup Uprise.Africa [1:00:57]
Education fintech Prodigy lands a billion dollar line of credit [1:03:32]
Standard Bank South Africa set to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) [1:07:28]
Malawi plans to force businesses to accept digital payments [1:09:02]
Andela pays coders at least 50% less than Silicon Valley coders earn [1:09:40]
Facebook continues to lose top executives + Facebook data breach [1:10:55]
Apple & Amazon accused of having servers compromised by spyware-laden chips [1:12:32]
Apple and Samsung fined by Italy for planned obsolescence [1:13:17]
Uber keen to buy Careem [1:14:36]
Airbnb wants to share equity with home sharing listees [1:15:00]
Discussion: Is VC a Ponzi Scheme? [1:18:12]

Resources referenced in this episode: The Africa Innovation Paradigm (Whitepaper), Chamath Palihapitiya This Week In Startups Interview (Video), Social Capital 2018 Annual Letter

Image credit: Kim Gorga