Dragon’s Den: Kenya

This should be a fun one. I was approached a month or so back about the Dragon’s Den coming to Kenya, and it looks like it’s actually going to happen (It’s much like Shark Tank if you’re in the US). If you think you have what it takes to pitch your idea in front of these guys, here’s your chance.

To make it easy, here’s the Dragon’s Den Application Form – Kenya (Word Doc).

Dragons’ Den is a series of reality television programmes featuring entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of venture capitalists.”

Five experienced investors (the ‘Dragons’) are coming to Nairobi in the next few months to hear the pitches of some of Kenya’s brightest business men and women with the intention of investing in the very best. But these Dragons are not easy to please; they will be looking for entrepreneurs who are offering investable money-making opportunities, who can also explain why their proposal has what it takes to be a success and will make a difference to the local community.

The rules are simple: entrepreneurs ask for a reasonable cash investment in return for a negotiated equity in their business. However, they must get at least the amount they ask for or they will walk away with nothing.

The Dragons are prepared to listen to a pitch for any kind of business but they must be convinced that it requires investment and will make money. Ideas, businesses and products that have previously gained financial backing in the UK Den have demonstrated one or more of the following:

  • Unique selling point
  • Scalability
  • Clear route to market
  • Planned exit strategy

If you haven’t seen the programme, visit www.bbc.co.uk/dragonsden for more info, or search “Dragons Den Series 9” on YouTube to watch previous entrepreneurs pitching to the Dragons. Email DragonsDenNairobi@bbc.co.uk for an application form.

This isn’t the first time it’s been done in Africa. It ran in Nigeria in 2008. This Dragon’s Den is done by the BBC as a special edition for Comic Relief – a major charity based in the UK.

Quick Hits around African Tech

Understanding what drives Mpesa agents
Growing the agent network is one of the most challenging parts of a mobile payment system.

“The number one cost for most agents was liquidity management – moving cash. Agents report a host of expenses, including bank charges, transport costs, and fees to aggregators who advance commissions and provide easy float/cash swaps for agents. On average, liquidity management consumed 30% of total expenses.”

Asynchronous Info, Disjointed Data and Crisis Reporting
Jon Gosier talks about Uganda’s riots and what he’s learned in the process.

Africa’s diaspora and the cloud
Teddy Ruge writes a great essay on the web and Africa’s diaspora.

“There’s a cloud gathering over Africa; a storm of connected thoughts and ideas that are pushing African countries violently forward. The Diaspora is using emerging web technologies in increasing numbers, frequency, and variety to stay connect with Africa, simultaneously charting a new digital course for it’s economic independence on the world stage.”

New Africa broadband ‘ready’
The BBC Digital Planet team is in Kenya and doing a knock-up job of interviewing people about what’s going on around the tech space there.

Emmanuel Kala in Nairobi
(Note: all the people in the BBC “in pictures” for this day are part of the Ushahidi extended dev team in Kenya)

Mobiles offer lifelines in Africa
Ken Banks writes about mobile phone growth and development in Africa, stating “Africans are not the passive recipients of technology many people seem to think they are.”

My BBC Post on Blogging’s Evolution and Growth

I was asked to do a guest post for the BBC, as they’re doing a new full-production special titled “Digital Revolution“, which is set to focus on the first 20 years of the internet.

The producer asked me to write about the changing face of blogging. Answering the question on, “has blogging lost its feeling of freedom, untethered and raw that once defined it?”

My answer is simply: no. You can read why on the link below:

Voices on the rise: raw and unfiltered blogging still lives

An excerpt (read the full post to catch the arguments):

“So, in answering my question at the beginning, we see not a loss in the freedom and raw power of citizen-based communication, but a burgeoning growth in it that threatens to overwhelm us all. In fact, the wave is coming on so strong and big that the most important question we need to ask is not how to get more citizen blogs, updates and voices, but how to filter it so that it remains useful.”