What do film producers, banana farmers, and coffee producers have in common? Not much, unless they are from Africa and are supported by a company that has the unusual in its name: Unconventional Capital, or Uncap for short – that’s the name of Franziska Reh’s financial technology start-up.
Reh, 32, is a banker by training who has also worked in consulting, and chose Africa for completely rational reasons, as she says: “You can have the most leverage there, the median age is 19, and almost every second university graduate starts a business.” There are good founders in Africa, Reh says, “it’s worth investing here.” And there is a huge need for capital providers: when Uncap – back then completely unknown – first put its offer online, it received 220 applications within two weeks.
By now, an algorithm picks out promising candidates and automatically makes them an offer – that’s the technical thing about Reh’s company, which exclusively supports local start-ups, not those of expatriate Africans. Although Uncap is a commercial business and aims to become profitable, since local start-ups are supported in Africa, opportunities and jobs are created there.