August 2018, Kai Schmidt, Bachelor of Science graduate in Business Administration at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management sits in the deli of his alma mater. He enjoys his coffee in one of the modern armchairs. Being just 23, Kai Schmidt does not stand out amongst the students – he could be still one of them. However, he has already worked in Bangladesh and operates in Nigeria with his own business. “In Europe there is the public perception that all Africans want to leave their continent. This is not the realitiy – in Africa as well as in Bangladesh, there are many young talents who want to achieve a lot in their lives”, explains Schmidt.
Kai Schmidt says that he has not graduated from a renowned business school only because of financial reasons. He aims to give something back – Schmidt calls it a social return. This is also reason why he has founded the platform Crypto Development Fund with two graduates from TU München in early 2018. With their enterprise the founders want to bring together African start-ups, especially from Nigeria, with European investors. The platform aims to bring together businesses and investors as well as to realise the official conclusion of contracts – all based on the Blockchain-Technology. This is how the founders want to implement collaborations without central institutions – quick and easy.
Crypto Development Fund aims to bring together African Start-ups with investors from Europe. Based on the Blockchain-Technology the platform wants to realise all processes.
The start-ups in the portfolio of Crypto Development Fund come from a wide variety of industries such as the healthcare- or financial sector as well as the so called sharing economy. “We want to help local start-ups to get investments with the support of cutting-edge technology as easy as possible. There are many young people in Africa who want to make a difference – 60 percent of the continent´s people are younger than 26 – there is a lot of potential”, emphasises the Frankfurt School alumnus.
During his job as Global Venture Development Manager at Rocket Internet SE in Bangladesh the 23 year old has developed a strong interest in the support of enterprises in developing countries “I met a lot of young people in Bangladesh who want to improve things in their own country. They are proud of their homeland and aim to get rid of a negative image. It is the same in Nigeria”, says Kai Schmidt who talks passionately about his idea and the people far away from Main and Taunus.
In order to change the public perception of Africa in Europe, the founders aim to increase their cooperation with different universities. This gives the local start-ups the chance to acquire further knowledge. Moreover, the platform wants to draw attention to medium-sized enterprises of the potential in Africa. “It is especially important that money ends up at the right place. Hence, it has to be transferred to the local founders”, explains Kai Schmidt.
During his time as a student assistant at the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center Kai Schmidt concentrated on working with the Blockchain-Technology. He focused on how the technology improves life in developing countries – for example in getting access to financial services. Professor Dr Philipp Sandner, Head of the Frankfurt School Blockchain-Center, supervised Kai Schmidt´s Bachelor theses and even gave the impulse to found the platform.
“As an FS alumnus I still benefit from a lot of contacts I have gained during my time at school. Also, I can still get in touch with many professors. Especially Philipp Sandner helps us a lot. Moreover, I got in contact with potential investors through the business school”, says Kai Schmidt.
Another Frankfurt School Alumnus works for Crypto Development Fund in Nigeria as a freelancer. Mohammed Al-Salafi who originally comes from Yemen graduated in International Business last year.
Professor Dr Philipp Sandner is strongly convinced of the idea of the FS Alumnus and his partners. “The Blockchain-Technology, not the Bitcoin, will be the infrastructure for all different kinds of financial processes in the near future. Hence, cryptocurrencies can be used to easily transfer money to developing countries – without expensive fees. Thus, it supports financing local start-ups”, explains Professor Sandner.
Within the next months Frankfurt School´s Corporate Communication will continue to report about Kai Schmidt´s passion and the challenges his start-up has to face on its website as well as its blog.
You can read here what the founders have experienced in Nigeria.