Agriculture For All
Bobea Group is a data-driven socially-conscious enterprise that is focused on the agriculture vertical in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). While agriculture currently has a massive social and economic footprint in SSA—where more than 60% of the population works as smallholder farmers and agriculture accounts for 23% of total GDP—it remains an untapped industry for innovation and growth. Realizing SSA’s full agricultural potential requires significant investment and radical approaches. We adopt a data-driven farm-to-fork approach through which we identify the important factors and drivers of the agriculture sector in SSA; find and support deserving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and achieve financial impact through a holding company model. Through strengthening the agricultural industry in SSA, we improve the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers, support important SMEs, and increase the resilience of SSA’s economies. Finally, throughout this work, Bobea Group retains a strong ESG focus, requiring portfolio companies and our own projects to maintain the highest level of environmental sustainability and to create significant employment opportunities for youth and women.
Bobea adopts a radical approach to address the important problems within the agriculture industry in SSA. We view our work in three main stages: portfolio acquisition, portfolio growth and improvement, and, finally, portfolio consolidation. Starting with the vision of a fully-integrated holding company, we then work backwards from this end goal. Our process begins with the identification of local entrepreneurs and businesses who may be positioned to serve as key partners and members of our organization. From there, we shall work with these partners to develop their ideas and companies and help them achieve their goals while evaluating their potential organizational fit within Bobea Group’s long-term holdings. This process and its three phases are described in greater detail below.
We are making minority-ownership investments in a targeted group of 15-20 emerging companies in the Sub-Saharan African agriculture vertical. These locally-owned locally-run companies have demonstrated robust positive cash flow and significant growth potential as well as meeting a strict set of ESG guidelines, reinforcing Bobea Group’s focus on sustainability and job creation for local youths and women. Our investments a re done through unique investment vehicles that provide immediate cash flow for both our partner entrepreneurs and our investors. This structure reflects our strategic, rather than purely financial, investment approach. Our objective is to build, through our portfolio companies, an ecosystem of candidates for full acquisition and absorption into an integrated holding company and in the process build a robust pool of human capital and unique data that will power our operational and financial decision-making processes.
Our work begins, and does not end, with our investments. We provide close support to our portfolio companies and assistance with everything from business development to operational improvement. This high level of support and collaboration enables Bobea to take a relatively larger ownership share of portfolio companies than a traditional investment company and to play an active role in the day-to-day management of our partner companies. We prioritize an emphasis on data generation and analysis—including adoption of Industrial Internet of Things monitoring techniques where appropriate—in order to gain unique insights across our range of portfolio companies, enabling more informed selection of startups for follow-up investment in stage three and driving operational improvement and growth strategy to prepare the remainder of our portfolio for external exit events.
Our long-term aim is to take full or majority ownership of our portfolio companies that have demonstrated strong prospects for future growth and vital synergies with one another. These companies will be fully integrated into a holding company model that allows Bobea to capture value at every stage of the agricultural supply chain in Sub Saharan Africa. Furthermore, acquired companies will be supplemented by our own greenfield or brownfield development projects, designed specifically to provide linkages between our majority-owned portfolio companies and help them function as a cohesive single business. We shall continue to drive improvement in the remainder of our original portfolio companies and position non-selected businesses for successful exits.
Lincoln is an undergraduate student at Harvard University and a co-founder of Bobea. Lincoln’s working background includes positions in sustainable investing at SER Capital Partners; operations management at the Jospong Group, a major Ghanaian holding company; and start-up advisory at a seed-stage fintech start-up based in Hong Kong and an American Industrial Internet of Things company that has reached unicorn status. He has also held positions at firms in the real estate and consulting industries and in three continents, providing a broad framework for Bobea’s activities both in investing in and operating small businesses.
Tom is a community mobilizer, entrepreneur and research scientist. Born and raised in poverty in rural Kenya, he has started and worked for organizations that aim to disrupt the status quo and lift communities out of poverty. At 18, he co-founded GreenChar, a social enterprise that provided homes and institutions in rural Kenya and urban slums with clean energy. For his work and leadership at GreenChar, he was the youngest recipient of Echoing Green Fellowship – an award for the world’s best social entrepreneurs. At 19, he was named on the Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in Social Entrepreneurship, the second youngest person to receive the honor. He has also been awarded the Women Deliver Social Entrepreneur Award in 2016, the Anzisha Prize Energy Award and many other awards. Salt Magazine has also listed him as 30 under 30 social entrepreneur. Besides his entrepreneurial experience, Tom graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Psychology (High Honors). Tom is also the Co-Founder & Executive
Derek Woo is an undergraduate student at Harvard University and a co-founder at Bobea. He has a background in horticultural and environmental research — receiving the distinction of a Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist (previously the Intel and Westinghouse Science Talent Search) for his research on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). He also worked as an infectious disease research intern at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, developing new vaccines using company proprietary IP. Most recently, he has been involved with the financial services industry, working for an alternative investment broker-dealer and also for CitiGroup’s Corporate and Investment Banking Group.
Sayles is a Partner at Alerion Partners. Alerion Partners was formed in 2004 to leverage the proven successes and unique blend of skills of its investment professionals. Prior to joining Alerion in 2010, Sayles was CEO of ABD3, a mobile software company that he co-founded. While at ABD3, Sayles managed the company’s strategy, operations, product development, budgeting, fund-raising, and investor relations. Prior to founding ABD3, Sayles worked at Lazard in the Restructuring Group, where he advised numerous companies throughout their bankruptcy proceedings, recapitalizations, asset sales, and other M&A efforts. Selected clients included Adelphia Communications, Collins & Aikman, the UAW, and New Century Financial. Sayles sits on the Board of Directors of EnviroScent, True Citrus, InStadium and DeliverCareRx. He received a BA, cum laude, in Economics from Harvard University.
Josephine practiced law in New York with a focus on corporate finance, project finance and mergers and acquisitions transactions. She combines her degree in law with a background in economics and finance. Josephine is interested in infrastructure, sustainable urban development and renewable energy investments, and desires to build strong public institutions in Africa. She maintains an active pro bono practice and is passionate about the socio-economic advancement of Africans and the Black Diaspora
Aaron-Micael Beydoun is the CEO of Fenicia (www.feniciatrading.com) which represents a small group of high net worth investors interested in investing in Colombia’s cacao sector. Previously, Beydoun worked for Louis Dreyfus Commodities of France, which commercializes more than 80 million tons of raw commodities each year. He was also formerly with Neumann Kaffee Gruppe of Germany which is responsible for 1 in every 7 cups of coffee consumed globally. Reporting directly to the Neumann family and CEO, he was involved in the management of 48 import and export operations on 4 continents. His family has also been involved in cacao trading for more than 60 years in the Ivory Coast. Today, that company is called Société Amer et Frères which is the largest private cacao export company in Africa exporting more than 170,000 tonnes of cacao during the 2015-16 marketing season. Educated at Harvard University, he currently serves as President of Harvard Alumni for Agriculture which is a network of university alumni working in the agriculture space; this includes academics, investors, business leaders and government officials.
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