For those who live abroad…and want to go back

I have a deep respect for those who took the leap of faith and went back to their home country after many years – if not decades – abroad. I am particularly referring to those who saw opportunities to step up, make a change and “go back”, after the political changes that struck the Arab region. It takes a lot of courage and self awareness to stop pretending you can be more useful abroad and start …

Some thoughts on Venture Capital

I used to be fascinated by Venture Capital. I used to think that being a venture capitalist is in fact being a vital supporter of entrepreneurs in making their ideas happen. They are the spark, the enablers, the believers. I loved the classes of Venture Capital and Entrepreneurial Finance I took during my MBA, four years ago (already!!) I greatly enjoyed being part of the Venture Capital Competition, where I won with my team of …

2016

Well …I have to say, I am not super proud of my productivity on this blog for the past couple of years. I could only write seven posts in 2015, although I did publish an article in an “official” peer-reviewed journal that took me quite some time (beside my full-time job that is). The co-author of the article and dear friend, Desmond Fortes, passed away in a tragic accident, so I take this opportunity to remember …

Investor’s Perspective on Green Microfinance

Quite a great step for me as a humble “practitioner” to be published in a “Entreprise Development & Microfinance – an international journal”, with my colleague Desmond Fortes, here Abstract: The dialogue in green microfinance has been dominated so far by academics or donors mainly working on grant-based projects and studies. The view of investors is however essential if we want to scale up the sector and improve its commercial viability. We share in this article …

Crowdfunding: three ways to challenge valuations and rates

I was having a coffee with a friend yesterday to discuss his idea of a crowd-funding platform for the diaspora, similar to HomeStrings, but focusing on SMEs (and slightly different from Lend a Hand). You got it, it is hard to find a niche in the crowdfunding space and to differentiate yourself. This discussion brought back questions I have often raised on the viability of the model, especially regarding the often too high valuation and too …

5 things you must know about Development Impact Bonds

I had the chance to interact intensively on the Development (Social) Impact Bond (DIB) for the past year, and I am summarizing here some of my thoughts. I wrote about the trend here few months ago. They are not “bonds” and this creates a lot of confusion every time the topic is brought up. The discussion goes on to ratings, fixed-income risks, and listing, all not applicable (yet) to this product. It is often a …

Assessing a Microfinance Institution: what to look for in group meetings?

I just came back from India where I visited some current clients and prospects, mostly from the Microfinance space. The industry in India is evolving quickly, and I have hard time catching up even if I try to visit the country once every two months. One constant thing however is the Joint Liability Group (JLG) meetings, whereby a group of five women guarantee each others’ loans. They are quite similar from one institution to another but …

How to raise funds from a Develoment Finance Institution (part 1)

I want to share here some tips for entrepreneurs, fund managers and various intermediaries who are looking at Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) as prospect funders, lenders and investors. DFIs are not the typical financiers, and I wonder sometimes whether they really form a homogenous category by themselves. As a general definition, I would qualify as DFI any finance company with government(s) as majority shareholders(s) and backers, with a mandate to invest in developing countries. Examples …