The Tefo Mohapi Show brings you conversations with interesting people from across the world who have famously or infamously made an impact on the world. Expect unique and interesting insights into some of the people that make our world tick. We will together explore the views of my guests regarding the state of the world currently, the impact of digital technology on culture and how the world works, and what they think needs to be done to make our world better, or at minimum, how we can all get along better and do better.
Craig McLeod on building and scaling tech startups
According to Baobab Insights, as of 17th December 2020, the total investment into African startups in 2020 was $1,213 billion. This is some way behind the total recorded in 2019 ($1,987 billion) and slightly behind the 2018 total ($1,328 billion).
The total number of unique companies that received investment has only slightly decreased from 429 in 2019 to 426 in 2020. So, perhaps the narrative that African technology startups copy and paste Silicon Valley business models might not be entirely true. We have seen companies like Yoco growing exponentially and Nigeria's Paystack being acquired by Stripe.
So how can a startup founder ensure they secure VC investment?
In this episode of The Tefo Mohapi Show, Craig McLeod, CEO of BoxCommerce shares with us what it takes to build a tech startup that scales. Craig also shares insights on venture capital, the importance of having the right team, and more.
Dion Chang talks about trends that are shaping our zeitgeist
Over the past half-decade, or even longer, it feels like something has changed drastically across the world. It could be the influence of social media and how it allows trends to scale quickly across the world, or it could be something else.
One of those changes is more visibility being given to black people protesting and fighting against centuries of systemic racism. There’s another possible trend I have observed that, for lack of a better word, I call “nationalism."
More and more politicians and people pushing for more inward focussed policies.
Even in South Africa, we have witnessed many protests against big companies that have had racist advertisements and in some cases, we have observed as social media is being used by many people to try and push for an agenda against foreign nationals.
The question that begs to ask though is are there any underlying trends that are driving these changes and sentiments?
In this episode of The Tefo Mohapi Show we are joined by Dion Chang, Founder at South Africa’s Flux Trends, a company that analyses macro trends that influence social dynamics and our business interactions. Dion discusses and helps us understand some of the trends that look like they are shaping our zeitgeist.
Denisha Kuhlor on startups, music, and technology
A few days after George Floyd was killed by a policeman in the USA, protests erupted. Under the banner of the Black Lives Matter movement, the protests calling for justice for George Floyd and anyone else killed by police in America, soon spread globally.
At the same time, a few days later after the fateful day that Floyd passed away, many companies and brands started publishing and broadcasting messages that they stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Some, like several VCs, investors, and accelerators, took this a step further and made commitments to Black startups and founders.
When it comes to such statements and commitments, it is always important to check if the companies follow through.
In this episode of The Tefo Mohapi Show, I speak to Denishar Kuhlor, a relationship manager responsible for Early Stage Tech at New York's Grasshopper Bank, about holding investors and companies accountable for the commitments they make.
We also discuss music and technology and how the Internet has influenced not only the music business but also how music artists interact with their fans.
Ben Basche on trends that are shaping the future of technology
On 13 August 2020 something interesting happened. Firstly, Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, decided to allow players to make in-game purchases by paying it directly on iOS devices and not using Apple's in-app payment system. This led to Apple swiftly banning and removing the popular Fortnite game from its App store citing violation of rules.
Things then escalated quickly on the same day as Epic Games would then file legal papers against Apple opposing the ban and saying that the company is abusing its App store monopoly. What was surprising is that Google would also later remove Fortnite from its Play Store. That was surprising because the Play Store is less restrictive than Apple's App Store.
One thing that is emerging is that this battle, especially between Apple and Epic Games, appears to be one of those moments in history that will shape a few trends as far as app stores and online marketplaces go.
Joining me on this episode of The Tefo Mohapi Show to discuss this is Ben Basche, a Product Manager at one of the largest entertainment companies in Africa. We also talk about another trend that looks like it will disrupt how software products are developed, specifically how Amazon Web Services (AWS) is helping people develop software products without needing to do any programming, codeless.
Oresti Patricios on the state of the media industry
It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 has been devastating for many businesses. Many businesses have announced downsizing measures while others have completely shut down.
The media industry has not been spared. However, it has been interesting to observe as some media organizations have gone on to blame the pandemic for their troubles. In some cases, some of them have been slightly more honest in admitting that digitization, and their not being quick enough to understand the digitization trend, has led to some of the troubles they are experiencing now.
In this latest episode of The Tefo Mohapi Show I caught up with Oresti Patricios, CEO of South Africa's Ornico Group, to discuss the state of the media industry. Oresti touches on the effect of fake news, programmatic advertising, and more.
We also talk about life and mortality.
Terry Virts on life space
In recent decades the topic of humans living in space has slowly become a possibility. With the advent of the International Space Station and various countries looking to explore Mars, other organizations talking about commercial space travel, it is an exciting time to be alive.
However, for many of us visiting space in our life might be a longshot given the costs that are associated with it. However, it doesn't hurt to sometimes wonder and explore what living in space would be like.
Things like: given that there is no gravity, how does one move around and do simple tasks like eating that we don’t even think twice about while on Earth. Also, what do you see once you leave the Earth’s atmosphere?
That's why for this episode of The Tefo Mohapi Show we are joined by Terry Virts, a retired NASA astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station.
Terry not only spent hundreds of days in space aboard the International Space Station doing spacewalks among many other activities, but he is also arguably one of the most prolific photographers of space. So much so that he has an amazing IMAX documentary on space.
Terry continues to do some work that is important for the human species including a project he is involved in Africa. He shares more about that in this episode as well.