We match startups with corporate entities because it is a massive opportunity for both parties.
John Kamara, CEO Adanian Labs. Photo credit: Independent
John Kamara is the founder and CEO of Adanian Labs, a fusion venture platform that helps African digital entrepreneurs survive and grow sustainably by providing them with vital resources. Adanian Labs contributes funds, cutting-edge technology, and marketing help, among other things.
Speaking with Independent in an interview, Kamara discusses the goal of the platform.
Below is an excerpt:
Question: What is the mission of Adanian Labs?
John Kamara : At Adanian Labs, our goal is to build a borderless Africa. African businesses need to learn how to trade across the continent. Some people have to build the network and we have taken it upon ourselves to do the job; we are building a network across Africa.
This is why we are building our venture labs in different countries on the continent to allow African businesses to operate across the continent and scale.
Question: There are many startups on the continent, why are they finding it difficult to scale?
John Kamara : Startups are not the problem; the problem is scaling from one market to the other because there are many issues to contend with that come up with scaling a business. You can come up with all the money and still not be able to scale the business if you do not do the right things.
On our part, we work with the startups in our ecosystem every day to make sure that they build real businesses whether they are funded or not. So what we do is, we de-risk the value for the venture capitalist that invests in Adamian Labs. We can also take up other startups and help them scale once they become part of our network.
Question: What are you doing in the area of capacity building?
John Kamara: In the area of capacity building, we are planning to train one million developers across Africa, with Nigeria being one of those countries. A problem will arise if we do not continue to build capacity in Africa.
One of the important things is how we connect with Web 2. 0 and Web 3.0; I am talking about Artificial Intelligence and blockchain. How do we connect the blockchain ecosystem across multiple countries, including regulators?
We have taken a position to be one of the people to do that for the continent. We want to push startups and businesses into using Artificial Intelligence and blockchain technology.
One of the things we want to do is match startups with corporate entities because we see that as a massive opportunity for both parties. They can sit at the table and negotiate and figure out profit sharing.
This is one good thing we are bringing to the ecosystem. This will help to develop skills and grow capacity on the continent. We want startups to work together and form partnerships; partnerships lead to exponential growth. People are afraid of partnerships because they think their ideas could be stolen. However, we believe if your idea is sound and unique, you need to find a way to make it work. This is one of the key things we are pushing this year.
Question: Are you operating across Africa?
John Kamara:We want to launch our labs in Egypt, Senegal, Ghana, DR Congo, Rwanda and Ivory Coast. At the moment we are in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania.
We want to get investment into our ecosystem at the right valuation and at the same time give value back to our funding community.
Question: Are you also operating in the blockchain and crypto ecosystem?
John Kamara:We are active in the crypto and blockchain ecosystem and we want to help regulators understand that creating the right regulations and environment is important. We are training and developing talent to drive the ecosystem. We are also making people understand the value of cryptocurrency. We are currently building accelerators for businesses that are going into that space.
We are unique in the accentuation of startups that create solutions for the people.
Question: How do you deal with differences in policies in different African countries?
John Kamara: We are setting up in different African countries and abiding by the laws of each country; that means we are doing the hard work for startups and businesses so that when they come in. We know exactly what to do to overcome because we have done it and set the template.
We have teams and campuses in each country we are in, and as we scale, we will have the largest real network on the continent to scale startups.
How do you select startups in Adanian Labs?
John Kamara : We build from inside; we find opportunities and we find founders and build them; we find startups that are doing amazing things and they might be at a very early stage but they have to be solving real problems in society and they have to be commercially viable. We have to be able to scale them across Africa. We want to turn the startups in our network into real businesses that generate revenue, create value and employ people.
Our ultimate goal is to create millions of jobs across the continent.