Inside the Forbes Africa Summit

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NOTNever in my life have I landed at an airport covered in my team’s banner, stickers and wallpaper. I guess that’s common if you work in advertising or for a big brand that spends on flashy ads, but when you’re a journalist, that’s new. This is what happened to me after I got off the plane from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Gaborone, Botswana to help lead our very first Forbes Africa Under 30 Summit; the capital’s airport was covered in Forbes Under 30 signage.

Besides stroking my ego, the prevalence of under-30 paraphernalia seems to symbolize the country’s reception of the young entrepreneurs who are shaping the world. Of course, I am generalizing as a western and foreign journalist – and we were part of a self-selected group of Batswana entrepreneurs and leaders – but it was unlike the local reception of any other under 30 summit I ‘ve headed (and that number is now close to 10).

In the days that followed, we organized a lineup of speakers focused on global collaboration and local celebration. It ranged from a conversation between Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Forbes Chief Content Officer Randall Lane on a panel with prominent Batswana women including former Miss Botswana Emma Wareus, which is now a US-based technology leader. “I started to realize that I wanted to be in a space where I can create, innovate, learn quickly, and fail – and create things that will better for future generations“, Wareus said of leaving Botswana and pursuing entrepreneurship.

And of the four interviews I hosted, my favorite was the fireside between me and Brandon Moak, who at 26 became the the youngest CTO of a listed company when its standalone trucking company Embark went public in 2021. But what’s crazier than running a public company when most are still working their first full-time job is that Embark plans to have its first product on the market by 2024 – years after the IPO. “Building self-driving technology is really difficult, and it takes a long time to build the product,” Moak said. “Capitalizing the business was really important.”

You can see all of this and more from the Summit here.

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Money movements

This week the New York Times published an explosive article on Forbes 400 cover topics Ryan Breslow. The publication reports that the founder of online payment company Bolt has inflated his company’s metrics and stretched the truth to give the company its impressive valuation and reputation. Here is that story, and ours too. In response to the Times report, Breslow wrote a very long Twitter feed call the story a “hit track” – you can read it here, if you have an hour to kill.

Speaking of African startups, these young sibling co-founders from the Democratic Republic of Congo raised $30 million to create WeChat for Web3. They started hambo just six months ago.

More evidence of African Web3 mania: KuCoin, a Seychelles-based crypto exchange, has announced that it has raised $150 million to expand its decentralized offerings.

these San Francisco-based foundershowever, are interested in another type of NFT: N-trans-feruloyltyramine (NFT) and N-trans-caffeoyltyramine (NCT), compounds found in cannabis seed husks and black pepper that have been shown to showing promise in two preclinical studies for managing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a chronic disease that affects about a quarter of the world’s population

Material Security employs less than 40 people, but earned a $1.1 billion valuation by taking the avoid email hacks.

Atlassian co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes, who we believe is worth $11.6 billioninvests its money in an effort to stop Australia’s largest electricity company from spewing carbon.

This mental health startup is trying to use vocal ‘biomarkers’ to detect signs of depression and anxietyand it has a valuation of $85 million.

Just because someone raised $2.5 million in a crowdfunding campaign does not mean that the product will ever exist. Evidenced by the failure of the dashcam company Arvizon, which has not yet delivered a product to its backers.

Grindrthe dating app that focuses on the LGBTQ+ community, agreed to go public by merging with a SPAC at a valuation of $2.1 billion including debt.

Only 8% of people employees at Manhattan businesses are back in the office five days a week, according to the Partnership for New York City. And while it’s great for anxious puppies, infants, and brewing niche coffee, it’s apparently just fine for Airbnb. The vacation rental company booked a record 102 million nights in the first quarter – a jump of 70% compared to the same period in 2021.

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