16 episodes

Conversations about venture capital, private equity, long-term investing, and business-building in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. The Portico Podcast is produced by Portico Advisers, LLC, and is hosted by Portico’s founder, Mike Casey (on Twitter @mcaseyjr). Visit www.porticoadvisers.com to learn more and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

The Portico Podcast Portico Advisers, LLC

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

Conversations about venture capital, private equity, long-term investing, and business-building in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. The Portico Podcast is produced by Portico Advisers, LLC, and is hosted by Portico’s founder, Mike Casey (on Twitter @mcaseyjr). Visit www.porticoadvisers.com to learn more and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

    Howard French on "Born in Blackness"

    Howard French on "Born in Blackness"

    In today’s episode, Mike Casey interviews Howard French, the author of the urgent and essential book Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War.  
    It is, simply, one of the most important books I’ve read. 
    I encourage you to read it and wrestle with its implications.
    Howard is a professor of journalism at Columbia University and a former New York Times bureau chief for the Caribbean and Central America, West and Central Africa, Tokyo, and Shanghai.
    In our discussion, we explore the role his career as a reporter in the Atlantic basin played in inspiring him to write Born in Blackness, several of the themes in his book, the findings that most surprised him during his research, and the role Africa and Africans might play in the 21st Century.
    Speaking with Howard was a genuine privilege.
    I hope that you enjoy our conversation and that you come away with a yearning to learn more.
    This podcast was recorded in June 2022.

    —————
    Learn more about the book.

    Learn more about Howard.
    Follow Howard on Twitter.
    Read Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò’s superb review of Born in Blackness in Foreign Affairs.
    On the inadequacy of the word “plantation” to describe the conditions of slavery, see, for example, chapter 1 (“The Property”) in C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins.
    —————

    Music credit: Daniel Allan, “Too Close” released on Sound. You can learn more about Daniel’s community-owned DAO that underwrote his latest EP here.

    (Disclosure: In addition to the “Too Close” NFT, Portico’s founder Michael Casey owns $OVERSTIM tokens, as well as many other music NFTs; his Sound collector profile is available here).

    • 51 min
    Nnennia Ejebe on the Art of Control Deals in Africa

    Nnennia Ejebe on the Art of Control Deals in Africa

    In today’s episode I speak with Nnennia Ejebe, a Partner with Adenia who is based in the firm’s office in Accra, Ghana. Adenia has been investing across Africa since 2002, and it is a pioneer of control deals in mid-market African companies. 
    Nnennia provides an amazing overview of private equity investing in Africa, not only of the compelling macro and micro trends that are fostering a richer investable market, but also the variety of benefits that percolate down from the pursuit of a control strategy.
    We also get into the entrepreneurial pedigree of Adenia, and how this pedigree impacts the investment philosophy, strategy, and value creation initiatives of the firm.
    As I share during the discussion, I am consistently energized by the work we’ve been doing in Africa — whether that’s with funds, transactions, or advising start-up founders. I am keen to spread my enthusiasm for the continent, and I can think of few better resources to inculcate a drive to learn more than Nnennia’s masterclass. 
    She also offered up some great reading and viewing recommendations, so be sure to check the show notes for links to additional content.
    With that, I hope you enjoy this conversation. 
    This podcast was recorded in March 2022.

    —————

    Learn more about Adenia Partners.

    Follow Adenia on LinkedIn.

    Listen to Adenia's Alexis Caude on the AVCA podcast.

    —————

    Nnennia's reading / viewing recommendations:
    Books by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieDiana Chapman, Jim Dethmer & Kaley Klemp, The 15 Commitments of Conscious LeadershipMichaela Coel, I May Destroy You | BBC / HBO—————

    Music credit: Daniel Allan, “Too Close” released on Sound. You can learn more about Daniel’s community-owned DAO that underwrote his latest EP here.

    (Disclosure: In addition to the “Too Close” NFT, Portico’s founder Michael Casey owns $OVERSTIM tokens, as well as many other music NFTs; his Sound collector profile is available here).

    • 42 min
    Karim Hussein on Egypt's Vibrant Venture Landscape

    Karim Hussein on Egypt's Vibrant Venture Landscape

    I’m really excited to share today’s episode, which features an interview with Karim Hussein, a Managing Partner of Algebra Ventures, Egypt’s leading institutional-quality venture capital firm. 
    I was thrilled to speak with Karim for several reasons. 
    First, I find Egypt to be one of the most captivating countries in the world, not only because of its rich history, but also because of its energy and potential. It’s the largest market in the Arab world, with a population of 100 million people — one in five of whom live in Cairo.
    Second, Egypt’s startup scene is vibrant — with more than 80 venture investments inked last year — and it’s approaching another inflection point of growth.
    Third, Karim’s background in deep tech — and his bona fides as a successful entrepreneur — enable him to provide high-fidelity insights on the depth of the country’s technical talent and the quality of its entrepreneurs. 
    Karim does a masterful job covering the landscape of Egypt’s startup and venture ecosystem. He also shares some great book recommendations at the end for those who are keen to learn more.
    With that, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Karim Hussein.
    This podcast was recorded in January 2022.
    —————
    Learn more about Algebra Ventures.
    Follow Algebra Ventures on LinkedIn.
    —————
    Karim’s Book Recommendations:
    ·       Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
    ·       Naguib Mahfouz, The Cairo Trilogy
    ·       Max Rodenbeck, Cairo: The City Victorious
    ·       P.J. Vatikiotis, The History of Modern Egypt
    —————
    Music credit: Daniel Allan, “Too Close” released on Sound. You can learn more about Daniel’s community-owned DAO that underwrote his latest EP here.

    (Disclosure: In addition to the “Too Close” NFT, Portico’s founder Michael Casey owns $OVERSTIM tokens, as well as NFTs of Pat Lok’s “Over U” and Aluna’s “Forget About Me”).

    • 46 min
    Gopal Jain on India’s Transformation

    Gopal Jain on India’s Transformation

    In today’s episode I speak with Gopal Jain, co-founder and Managing Partner of Gaja Capital, one of the leading private equity firms in India.

    It was a real pleasure to speak with Gopal because he’s lived through the boom-and-bust cycles within India’s private equity industry, so he’s able to place today’s environment in context, and impart some of the hard-earned lessons he’s gleaned over the last two decades.

    Gopal and I cover a lot of territory in this conversation, so I’ll spare you the rundown of topics. But I’ve been marinating on two of the things that Gopal said since our conversation.

    The first is that a couple decades ago, upwards of 80% of India’s most talented engineers and entrepreneurs were migrating to the United States; whereas today, most are choosing to launch startups within India, with the benefit of a robust private markets supply chain of capital at-the-ready.

    The second is that Gopal thinks that India’s PE industry could grow from $50 billion in deals to $100 billion over the next five to 10 years. And if that happens, he thinks India could detach from the EM complex and become a standalone market like China.

    I was also really enamored with Gopal’s “5+1” construct for explaining the foundational infrastructure that is accelerating India’s digital transformation.

    One of the things we didn’t talk about — but I think you should know about — is the Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, which has some great suggestions to add to your bookshelves. I’ll be adding a few volumes to mine.

    My audio came out a bit odd in places, so I apologize if it’s a bit distracting. The good news is I don’t speak much.

    There’s so much food for thought in this episode that I don’t want to keep you waiting any longer.

    With that, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Gopal Jain.

    This podcast was recorded in November 2021.
    Learn more about Gaja Capital and its Business Book Prize.
    Follow Gaja Capital on Twitter.
    Bain & Company, India Private Equity Report 2021.
    Bain & Company, India Venture Capital Report 2021.

    • 43 min
    Tariq Fancy asks Is Sustainable Investing Dangerous?

    Tariq Fancy asks Is Sustainable Investing Dangerous?

    This episode of the Portico Podcast features a conversation with Tariq Fancy — the former CIO for Sustainable Investing at the ~$10 trillion asset manager BlackRock.

    He’s also the author of the delightfully thought-provoking essay The Secret Diary of a ‘Sustainable Investor’.

    I reached out to Tariq after reading his essay because it raises some uncomfortable truths about the explosion of ESG-related products across public and private markets.

    While I agreed strongly with his writing about the nonsense of ESG-related investments in stock and bond markets, I maintained that sustainable- or impact-focused investors in private markets could drive meaningful change.

    I also wanted to think through whether the so-called ‘greenwashing’ effect changes with scale.

    I know managers whose investments are driving positive environmental and social change in some of the most underserved markets — indeed, some have been featured on the Portico Podcast.

    And honestly, I worry that the asset-gathering activities of large-cap firms will not only crowd out the earnest players trying to increase human dignity, but also tarnish the idea that private markets investing can be a positive-sum enterprise.

    I also worry about the proliferation of service providers bilking people with asinine accounting and compliance solutions — a phenomenon that famed corporate finance professor Aswath Damodaran refers to as the ESG Gravy Train.

    I remember reading an article in the FT over the summer about PwC looking to hire 100,000 people to provide ESG advice and thought the madness must stop — we’re creating entire categories of jobs that inhibit the flow of capital to productive users of financing.

    And we all know that scale providers can absorb these costs, thereby entrenching their market position and reducing competition from new entrants and smaller firms.

    So, you can see why I was keen to speak with Tariq about these issues, as well as the roles the public and private sectors can play in solving the structural environmental and social challenges of climate change and inequality.

    But we also talk about Tariq’s nonprofit, Rumie, which should resonate with listeners of the podcast.

    Rumie provides free digital education to learners in over 176 countries, including Afghanistan where one of their big initiatives is to create more content in Dari and Pashto so that women and girls can continue their education despite the return of the Taliban.

    I’d encourage listeners to visit Rumie’s website. And, if you’re a fund manager or institutional investor who’s interested in supporting the growth of a nonprofit in the edtech space, reach out to Tariq and say hello.

    This podcast was recorded in October 2021.
    Read The Secret Diary of a ‘Sustainable Investor’.

    Learn about Rumie and sample some of its bite-sized lessons.

    Donate to support Rumie’s mission.

    Follow Tariq on Twitter.

    Read Aswath Damodaran’s post on The ESG Movement: The “Goodness” Gravy Train Rolls On!

    • 45 min
    Simon Clark on The Key Man

    Simon Clark on The Key Man

    This episode features an interview with Simon Clark, a reporter at The Wall Street Journal and the co-author of The Key Man — the summer’s must-read book about Arif Naqvi and the downfall of The Abraaj Group.
    Most listeners and followers of Portico will be familiar with the background of the Abraaj story. But if you’re not, I’d recommend that you go back and listen to Episode 8.
    But even more, I’d recommend you purchase a copy of The Key Man for yourself (USA, UK). It’s an absolutely riveting book; it has the pace of John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, but with an unbelievable cast of credulous characters who fell for a fantasy. 
    In today’s conversation, Simon and I discuss:
    The origins of Abraaj, some of its early transactions, and the oft-asked question: where did they get their money?Abraaj’s acquisition of Aureos and how it unlocked the firm’s ability to scale.The manufacture of social capital — the people and firms who testified to the greatness of Arif and Abraaj, seemingly without conducting an ounce of due diligence.The Karachi Electric deal.The $6B mega-fund.The promise of impact investing.The necessity of greater transparency in private equity.And much more.I had four pages of questions for Simon, so we clearly didn’t get to everything on my list — and candidly some of the unasked questions may be better over a pint.
    But do yourself a favor and grab a copy of the book.
    I hope you enjoy the conversation.
    This podcast was recorded in July 2021.
    Buy The Key Man |  USA  |  UK
    Follow Simon on Twitter. 

    • 1 hr 3 min

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