Adeyemi Ajao

Partner, Base10 Partners

Adeyemi ("Ade") is co-founder and Managing Partner at Base10 Partners, an early-stage venture firm investing in the Automation for the Real Economy.

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Rohit Mittal: Hi, I’m Rohit, I’m the co-founder and the CEO of Stilt, today we have Ade with us.

Adeyemi: Hi Rohit.

Rohit: Good to see you Ade. Ade is the co-founder and managing partner at Base10 Partners. Before Base10, Ade had a successful career as an entrepreneur and investor. And you were a serial entrepreneur, you started multiple companies. Ade was the co-founder and CEO of Tuenti, the Spanish Facebook which was acquired by Telefónica for 100 million in 2010. Then you co-founded Aidentified — AI for HR, which was acquired by Workday in 2014. And then you were a founding investor of Cabify, which is a billion dollar Latin American ride share company. At Workday, you launched Workday Ventures, their first and biggest applied AI and enterprise software fund, and you were also VP of technology and strategy there. You are originally from Spain and half Nigerian, you did MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and also a JD in Law and MS in Economics from ICADE University in Spain. You also studied machine learning at Stanford. And now you also volunteer at Code2040 that tries to create access awareness and opportunities for black and latin engineering talent.

Adeyemi: That’s correct.

Rohit: That’s a lot of stuff.

Adeyemi: I know. I have not been getting bored.

Rohit: Yeah! Super busy. Cool. So why don’t you start by telling us about Base10?

Adeyemi: Absolutely. So Base10 is an early-stage venture capital fund. We invest in seed and series A companies that are doing automation for the real economy. And what we mean by automation for the real economy is thinking how the largest and most old-school and we like to call them “Boring and Unsexy” because we like that, industries are going to change. And I always start with the people first thinking like — so you know, agriculture, food storage, immigration. Things that people in San Francisco really don’t think that much about — that’s what we like.

Rohit: Cool, and how long has Base10 been around?

Adeyemi: This is our second year, we have been investing for 3 years. We started the fund 2 and a half years ago and thus far, we have invested in 17 companies in green companies like Grin, where I believe we have a connection, The Pill Club, Virtual Kitchen Company, Wonolo, Reflektive, a few others. One of the stats that I like the most is that 55% of our portfolio is outside the Bay Area with 20% being in Latin America, so we are a global investor. I think as of today, 65 — so over 60% of our founders are minorities with about 23% being underrepresented minorities. So we take a very global approach to problems that affect everyone. So that’s how we like to think about things.

Rohit: Yeah, totally. And just to add there, where I know — you led Grin’s seed round. We talked to Jonathan Lewy and that’s how we know you led their seed round, I did not know that before, cool.

Adeyemi: Yeah, they are a pleasure to work with.

Rohit: Jonathan was our very early investor, so I had known him for a really long time now.

Adeyemi: That’s fantastic.

Rohit: Cool, let’s talk about your background now, so you are Spanish and half Nigerian.

Adeyemi: Yes, so my full name is Adeyemi Victor Ajao Miguel, which I don’t lead with here in San Francisco. I go with Ade. Adeyemi is a Yoruba name. Yoruba is one of the largest 3 ethnicities in Nigeria. I was born in Madrid, in Spain so my dad is Nigerian and my mom was Spanish. They met on an airplane. And I had my early childhood in Nigeria, in Lagos and when I was about 6 years old, I moved to Europe. And after a couple of years all over from Switzerland, Italy, etc. I ended up in southern Spain in a place called Marbella, which is the least place you will imagine a person working on technology will actually come from, but it’s very, very dear in my heart and that’s essentially where I grew up. I went to college in Madrid, although I couldn’t really stay in a city for a long time and during college I ended up spending time in the US twice, in Germany, in London and out of college started Tuenti, as you mentioned before, which was started in Madrid and headquartered in Madrid. Moved to the US 11 years ago, after Tuenti, originally to study in the Stanford Business School and my reasoning really was: I’m glad Tuenti went well, I want to do this again, multiple times is possible. It’s the most fun thing there is. The place to do it is Silicon Valley, so I came here very starry-eyed. This was 2008, a very different Silicon Valley to now and when thinking about going to Business School, I remember immigration was part of it. I was thinking, okay — so basically have 3 ways of getting in here. One of them is I go and work for some company. But I don’t want to work for a company, I want to start my own thing. Number 2 is I get a tourist visa and I’m here for 3 months and that seems tight. And then, or I can go to business school and spend 2 years meeting people and thinking about a business plan — I liked that.

Rohit: Cost wasn’t a factor? Stanford is not cheap.

Adeyemi: Thankfully, I had an academic scholarship from a foundation in Spain that covered all of my costs.

Rohit: Awesome.

Adeyemi: If not, it would have been hard because my company, my first company was not liquid then. But thankfully the stars aligned and the Ramon Areces foundation funded me and the Stanford experience ended up being everything that I wanted and more. I ended up launching two companies to of that with two classmates and making some incredible long-lasting connections. I had my wedding last year and half of my groomsmen were Stanford classmates.

Rohit: Congratulations on the wedding!

Adeyemi: Thank you.

Rohit: Awesome, that’s quite a story across many countries. How many languages do you speak? You told me you speak quite a few languages.

Adeyemi: I think that at this point, none of the people in my life will say that I’m fluent in anything because at this point my Spanish has gotten really bad. When I was younger, I used to dabble in Yoruba and German but these days it’s some sort of a Spanglish mix.

Rohit: Every now and then in meetings, your Spanish comes out.

Adeyemi: Yeah, every now and then for sure. And the worst is when I go back to Spain and my English comes up and my Spanish friends are like, “Stop right there — never do that again.” Yeah.

Rohit: Awesome. So when did you start Tuenti.

Adeyemi: When I was in college. So I was 23, it was 2005.

Rohit: 2005. No one was doing technology in 2005 in Spain and that too, trying to create a new Facebook - so how did that thought or idea come about?

Adeyemi: It was interesting. So I’ve been coding since I was a teenager. Big geek like all of us, and I had done — I don’t know how many website projects, but many. And most of them didn’t work even for me. And then one of my best friends from high school, who was a cool kid was in event management while we were in college and he was organizing all these university gatherings and parties and stuff. I would only get invited because I was his friend. And at some point he asked me to create a website so people could essentially RSVP and my initial idea that was actually not called Tuenti, it was called Who’s Who was around that. And because Spain and the US don’t have big campuses where all the life happens, the campuses are in the city and university life happens around these gatherings and events in the city — It’s like, you know what would be cool? If people could see who RSVPs to events. That basically what’s going to tell me where I should go because I want to go where X,Y and Z are going. So that was iteration one of my website and it was a total side thing for my friend’s events business. And then I did my exchange program in the US and I went to Emory University in Atlanta, this is in 2005. And in October, Facebook launched on campus in halloween and it took the Emory campus by storm. It was like oh my God. I remember people were like "No, no, no don’t get my number — add me on Facebook.” And I remember seeing this and going oh my God, this is a much better idea than what I was thinking and it makes sense for the campus environment that exists here. So that’s — and then I remember googling Facebook, and they shortly after, or they had just — I can’t remember, they had closed their Accel round, which valued the company at $70 million. I was like, $70 million! A website can be worth $70 million, that’s crazy! So I remember coming back to Spain and telling all my teachers, “Hey! I want to do this website and it’s going to be a great company, it’s like this thing called Facebook but it’s different because we’re at Spain and we’re going to adapt it to here, and I have this —“ And everyone was like, “What are you talking about?” So I started asking for money and my friend that did events, Felix and my friend Joaquim who’s a much better engineer than I ever was during the project and we together were able to put together $20,000. And with that, we got started.

Rohit: $20,000 in 2005 in Spain.

Adeyemi: It was quite a bit. And soon, that wasn’t enough. And we started begging for money from people. The reaction of most Spanish investors was quite amazing, they said — “Wait. So you’re doing a website for students and you’re asking me for money because you want to have an office? Why do you need an office to run a website?” And I was like, “Well, there is this thing called Facebook that is worth $70 million.” And they were like, “That’s a fraud.” So that was step one which was difficult. On top of that, one of the problems was that because there was really not a lot of examples in Spain of this, most of the basic questions that you get here like — I remember the time I came here trying to recruit people and they were like, “Oh, you should get a product manager.” And I was like, “What’s a product manager?” “A PM”. I’m like, “What's that?” Then it got explained to me and I was like, “Oh my God, that’s what I do! Yeah I should have that! People do that full-time? That’s amazing!” So the lack of knowledge was another issue and the Spanish law, unfortunately to this day, is quite bad in anything from hiring people to being able to give stock options and there are a lot of things that are backwards, honestly, there. And obviously Tuenti was very successful and it was life changing for us and I’ll always be super thankful, but it really solidified in me that I need to go and do this in Silicon Valley where I’m going to have all these resources around the corner and that’s what got me to come here.

Rohit: And Spain lost a potentially really good entrepreneur to Silicon Valley because of the culture.

Adeyemi: I’m still very engaged with the Spanish entrepreneurial system, I like to say that it is 50 times better than when we started Tuenti, which is very good to see. It needs to be 50 times better than it is today, but hopefully we’ll get there.

Rohit: I guess it’s already, not in Spain, but a lot of companies are starting offices in France, and I think it’s going to just — people are going to know about these things and that’s how it’s going to…

Adeyemi: Exactly.

Rohit: It’s going to happen there too. So you were in school, you started Tuenti. When did you stop working on it full time and decide to move to the US?

Adeyemi: 2008.

Rohit: You’re like, okay — now I have a PM. Now I can do better things. And you decided to come to Stanford. So you went to graduate business school, but did you focus on entrepreneurship or just…?

Adeyemi: I was very focused on starting another company since day 1.

Rohit: Okay. So you came to Stanford and you started looking for ideas and stuff like that.

Adeyemi: And it’s right, like you moved here as well — it’s an incredible experience. I could take you to my undergrad university in Madrid, it looks nothing like Stanford. Our athletic facilities were like this room, maybe. And I remember we had a computer lab that had, I think, 15 computers for the entire university so when you go down [ph ‘palma’ 15:39] when you see all these, and it’s like the Gates Computer Center and you’re like, “Oh my God!” So I was like a kid in a candy store, it’s like being able to meet everyone — it was, I remember that very, very fondly.

Rohit: Interesting, and you moved here on F1 visa?

Adeyemi: I moved here on F1 visa.

Rohit: Let’s just quickly talk about the visa journey that you went through, so you came to Stanford on F1 visa and then what you did after that.

Adeyemi: I remember that the first trouble with visa came precisely because of how I was going to pay for my MBA because if I remember correctly, and you might be more current than me on this, you actually have to give a proof of funds in order to get the visa, which I didn’t have and I was waiting for my scholarship to get announced and then explain to the foundation that I needed the letter of funds from the bank so I could get my visa. And I remember that process being incredibly frustrating even before I arrived here. What was interesting was that I started Aidentified while I was in Stanford, so my second year. And incorporated the company, started hiring people, all Americans. And then I realized, I can’t work in the company! That’s interesting! So I can start this, but I can not work in it.

Rohit: You can not get paid.

Adeyemi: I can not get paid. That’s inconvenient! That’s unfortunate! And it was hard. I basically had to — so I know that right after Stanford and the F1, I had the OTP period. But the OTP period is not designed to work full-time when you are a startup. So that didn’t work for me, and what I needed to do was a separate H1B visa application in order to hire myself in my company. But I don’t know how it works right now. I remember that back then, there were very specific requirements such as: Your role has to match the skill set that you studied for in the US. We need to post your job in newspapers a certain number before you can be hired. I’m like — wait a minute here: So I founded the company, I do everything, I code, I sign, I fund and raise, I do all these things — but I can’t be hired for that. I have to be hired for something related to my MBA. And I have to publicize my job before I can hire myself to my company, in which I can not work — this is getting really confusing. And I have a minimum salary that is way too high for what my company can pay me!” I’m like — this is a headache and thankfully, Stanford had good resources and through the Bechtel International Center I got connected to a lawyer, Malcom, who is still my immigration lawyer to this day, who helped me navigate that process and I ended up with an H1B, being hired by my own company. And the process was so painful and also so isolating — at that time in Aidentified, everyone else was American. So no one could understand why I was spending so much time on interviewing, on this. The uncertainty, of I literally don’t know if I’m going to be able to work in my company. And I don’t know if I have to move back to Spain, this is awful. And I didn’t really have friends in the same situation. There was no community or plug and play plan of hey, here you are — which is I think what you’re doing is really useful, and I wish I had had that resource back then. And right as the process was finished, which took a lot, immediately my lawyer told me, “Hey, your company has been sold, it’s been a big success, you’ve started another company — you might qualify for this alien of extraordinary ability section. I was like, “What? That sounds like Superman! Alien of Extraordinary Ability!” and like “Yeah, it’s the process we have for people that have had accomplishments in their field that we want in this country” so I was like “Alright, that sounds awesome! It has a really weird name, but if it’s helpful — please, yes!” So then, I immediately started that process and I believe a year later I was granted my green card.

Rohit: That’s actually 100% the same story as us. As me and my cofounder — we just went to Columbia. That’s super similar. Came here on F1 then went to H1B then got O1, which is Alien of Extraordinary Ability, then got our green cards. Otherwise, for Indian citizens or people of Indian nationality, it takes an average of 15 years to move from H1B to green card because the queue is so long. And this quota system is by country, it’s not by the number of people in that country. So India has 1.2 billion people and many come here, a portion of them come here and the quota system says that we’re going to divide it equally amongst all countries. So Macedonia with a million people has the same quota as India with 1.2 billion people.

Adeyemi: We are 40 in Spain, so we are closer to Macedonia. I’m lucky in that sense, but yeah — that is…

Rohit: That is painful. No that is awesome. Then you sold Aidentified and that worked successfully the second time. So two times.

Adeyemi: I was super lucky to work with an amazing team at Aidentified, many of which — actually my head of engineering is now running another company that we are investors in, and great friendships have come from that, so..

Rohit: And you have stayed always in the Bay Area.

Adeyemi: I’ve always been in the Bay Area. I have continued to — every opportunity, I had trouble because I spent some of fondest memories by discovering new places and my wife is also of mixed ethnicity, she is Greek-American, so we both have spent a lot of time abroad, and grew up in a village similar to mine of 800 people, so we both left that. The problem with California is it’s far away. It’s far away from everything and it’s expensive, so…

Rohit: And it’s actually on a day-to-day basis, people stay away from their families and if they have to go meet them, it’s like a whole thing — you have to take a vacation and you have to make a trip out of it. You just can’t go over the weekend and come back.

Adeyemi: Yeah, that is the hardest part of being here. I know India is the same way, but definitely Spain, Greece and Nigeria are places of very strong community and family connection. Much more than here, honestly, and we’re very far away. And the combination of that. I remember once I left the very nurturing community that the Stanford Business School and I had my first year in San Francisco running Aidentified, feeling very, very isolated. And I was like, oh wow — I am working as hard as. I was working on Tuenti, but big differences.

Rohit: And how did you sort of build that community? Because one of the challenges a lot of immigrants face when they move to the US is that they don’t know anyone, they have to start from scratch. All your family, your friends, your networks, your community is back in your home country and you have to basically build a new life here.

Adeyemi: So the luckiest thing for me was Stanford. About half of my classmates stayed in the Bay Area — Half or a third, but a lot. And that immediately gives you a cushion of people. And then my other choice of building that is — there is a little Spanish mafia, or not as big as the Indian mafia, but you know — making noise in Silicon Valley.

Rohit: Getting bigger.

Adeyemi: Getting bigger, and we’re also culturally similar to Latin Americans like Sergio and [ph ‘javofyun’ 25:24] So I made a number of connections through that, and now it has been 11 years and I’m alright, so it’s different. So now, I do have a community here, but it takes a while and it’s lonely and I think it’s one of the things that is not necessarily talked about that much or shared and understood by non-immigrant founders.

Rohit: That’s 100% correct, and many people are just like — why.. what does it mean? Why can’t you be a citizen for 15 years? What’s happening here? Yeah. It’s a completely new world for them. And so I just wanted to quickly touch upon the credit systems of the US because that is also something that is pretty strongly needed in the US, compared to Spain and India. As international students moving here for the first time, or first time professional workers, you have to start building credit for many years before you are seen as one of the qualified people who are going to pay back the money even though you have done a lot of stuff successfully in your previous life and you have jumped through so many hoops to come to the US, and you have come here to make a better life for yourselves and achieve success, but still you are kind of shut out of the system. Did you have any experiences like this?

Adeyemi: Yeah, I’m sure they’ll be very similar to yours. First: I didn’t understand it. I was like what is this FICO thing? FICO score — now thinking back on it, it sounds like a Black Mirror episode, right? Like you’re ranked by everything — I’m like, okay I don’t get it. Stanford had a credit union that gave us a credit card which was modest. And the first time it became a hurdle was when I moved to San Francisco and I had to rent an apartment. Well, you have to pay 12 months upfront — I’m like “No, I do not.” That doesn’t make sense. And I was very lucky that I had 2 American roommates that one of them signed for me as holding the lease, cosigner. But man, it took a while. And I am the kind of person that as a founder, I just mostly focus on my work and I don’t want to deal with the details of my personal… yes, I can’t. In fact for the credit, it’s awful because I’m the kind of person that if I get a bill in the mail, I will not look at it for 6 months because I am so in the clouds. I just can’t, it’s like it’s going to be a disaster. Until I got an accounting firm, actually out of Stanford. Two entrepreneurs who are awesome and they began helping me with: How do you build credit, and like how do you file the US Taxes and all of that stuff.

Rohit: I was talking to John Collison once at Y Combinator. And even though he started Stripe, a now $20 billion company, even after he started Stripe and raised money, he was not able to get a credit card like he wanted. He was like — he just couldn’t understand that.

Adeyemi: It doesn’t make sense. There are several — I always say that my top 3 things that have been more difficult trying to understand in the US and until this day, I don’t have a clear picture of them — #1 is [ph ‘holding my chairman’ 29:22] system, it still doesn’t make sense to me. #2 is the credit system, #3 is the health card system. They are 3 things that I constantly get confused about. And at this point, my wife has kind of given up on me. I mean, “I will just take care of that for us because you are useless and incapable.”

Rohit: Dealing with the US system. So you’ve got to fund a lot of companies that will fix this system for everyone.

Adeyemi: That’s the idea.

Rohit: Cool. So you went to Workday, you sold Aidentified to Workday and you started their first venture arm of sorts. How did that come about? And then just take us through doing that to Base10 today.

Adeyemi: Absolutely. So in parallel to running Aidentified, I had helped start another company called Cabify, which I didn’t run but I incubated and was a funding investor. And together with that, I also started investing in other companies. And I did about 50 personal investments, with the proceeds of Tuenti, of my first company mostly. And I really enjoyed it. Basically the next big thing to starting a company is helping someone start a company. And I’m a zero to one person, one of the things I realized through my entrepreneurial career is, when the company gets above 10 people, I stop being the right CEO. Just not that person. Not good at building systems, dealing with HR — I’m more like, okay: How do we get something from nothing? But I do think I can add value to others when it comes to that. How do we start something from nothing, because I’ve been in the trenches so much and I’ve felt the pain so deeply. So when I sold Aidentified to Workday, I was like okay that’s a big company. I don’t know if this is for me. And if you see a lot of entrepreneurs that sell their company, they last 6 months and it’s very normal. And Workday was incredibly grateful and supportive to me and when I expressed that I had an interest in investing and I might want to dedicate myself fully to that, it was a very open conversation with Workday around, “Oh, actually we have been engaging with a number of early companies.” And Workday was growing and doing very well and changing very rapidly. And at the end of the day, with the support of other members of the executive team, we presented to the board a plan for me to start and run their first corporate venture fund with the aim of saving other companies in the ecosystem, acquire some of them, working closely with them. So they allowed me to do that, it was a plus — we invested in 10 companies and in the first one of them, actually was a company called Jobr, which was a mobile app for finding jobs that got sold to Monster and the Founder and CEO was my now Base10 co-founder. So that investment ended up turning in a partner for me, which was great, beyond the return. So that’s a little bit of the transition and you know, at some point I ended up staying at Workday for over 2 years with Workday ventures.

Rohit: Instead of 6 months.

Adeyemi: Yup, and again — I can not be more of a fan of Workday. And the company’s performance speaks for itself and I just have so many friends here that — because for a company in that stage, we were the first company they bought as a public company and I’m such a recognizably weird entrepreneur that they could have been like, “We don’t know what to do with that person.” And instead they gave me that platform. And it was a great experience. For me, it really gave me time, where I was like — if I’m going to do this, if I’m going to become an investor, I need to do it in my own way and as excited I am by the interaction of AI and Enterprise software, where I really see a gap is in this Automation for Real Economy trend. And I had invested in a number of Cabify, like Instacar, like Rappi, like 99Taxis, like ShipBob, like Homejoy that were very much in this trend, going after food delivery and transportation and logistics and home cleaning that I just think that is going to happen in every single industry. And if you build a firm that is completely focused on that, you can achieve so much. So TJ thought the same and thankfully he is a better investor than I am because he came from firms like Accel and Coatue and we got together early 2017th and here we are.

Rohit: Funny thing there in all the companies, Rappi was in our batch in 2016. So we know Simón and his co-founder… I forget..

Adeyemi: Sebas.

Rohit: Yeah, yeah — Sebas. So they were in our batch and they joined late and we were — my cofounder worked with them for some engineering talent also.

Adeyemi: That is awesome. I have the best Rappi story. How I got introduced to them, it was before they joined YC. So I invested pre YC and the investor in question that I will not name reached out to me and was like “Hey, I think there are some guys here from your country. You should meet them, I think it’s the kind of stuff you’ll like because you’re in Instacar.” And then I met Sebas, and I’m like… he’s Colombian, I’m Spanish — there is like an ocean in between, but similar enough. And I actually really liked the company, so I invest anyway.

Rohit: Simón and Sebas are great.

Adeyemi: They’re awesome.

Rohit: They recently raised a billion dollars from SoftBank.

Adeyemi: That is going to be very good for the Latin ecosystem.

Rohit: Yeah, and so is 99 rides — I think Didi bought it for a billion dollars, I think as those companies become big, it’s just going to spur a lot more innovation.

Adeyemi: I was recently talking with, there is a fund down in LatAm called Monashees, I co-invested with them in Rappi, 99 and in Grin actually. The founder, Eric was last week at our annual meeting and he mentioned something that really spoke to me, which was: In all the ecosystems, including the US — there is a big milestone in getting your first billion dollar company. Once you do, the acceleration of more billion dollar companies and then your first 10 billion dollar company is a lot higher. And you see that. Didi happened, 99 happened with Didi and then right after that, Cabify hit a billion and a half. You have Rappi, you have Grin, you have companies like Logi, or like [ph ‘yimpas’ 37:24] it’s very real. It’s very real.

Rohit: I mean NewBank.

Adeyemi: NewBank, Navid, another good friend from Stanford. Talking about the man. That guy is the man. It’s just great.

Rohit: It’s awesome. And I think all these ecosystems including Africa — There are a lot of companies from Africa in YC that go back, I think you just see more entrepreneurs trying to also bring up the ecosystem instead of just working on their companies, so they also try to help everyone else either start companies or with engineering talent or something like that — anything they can do to move everyone forward together.

Adeyemi: Yup.

Rohit: Cool. So you started Base10 two and a half years ago and you invested in 17 companies. Let’s talk about a couple of them. Not your favorite ones, so we won’t pick based on your favorites, we’ll just pick any 2 that you want to talk about and give us a sense of how you ended up investing in them and what you generally look for in founders.

Adeyemi: Basically, talking about our process for — we are a very thematic-driven investor. What that means is that we’ll pick a theme, let’s say logistics and we’ll go deep into what that means. So logistics means many things like warehousing, cold food storage, freight, many, many things. So we’ll do a lot of analysis of like what is happening in those markets, how are corporates changing, we’ll talk to probably — analyze private equity firms, Flexports of the world — companies like that. And then we’ll pay a lot of attention to what has happened in other areas of the world and then we’ll take that and we’ll apply it to, okay — how do we think the next batch of great companies in that area is going to develop. So for example, following our work in shipping and logistics, the first 2 companies we invested in around that theme were a company called Shipwell, based in Austin which is a bad way of describing it, but it’s basically Flexport for trucks. And then another one in Atlanta called RoadSync, which is doing payments for trucker or how Robin likes to put it, it’s Squarecash for the trucking and logistics industry. So we go start a theme first, and then when it comes down to the entrepreneur, and this is true both for Greg and Jason at Shipwell and for Robin at Roadsync — we look for people that have actually felt the pain that they are trying to solve. So in this case, they all have a lot of experience in the logistics industry.

Rohit: Got it.

Adeyemi: By the way, I have to do a time check because I do have to move to the…

Rohit: It’s 1:50, so I was going to go to the last question of your advice for founders.

Adeyemi: Perfect.

Rohit: Cool, so you’re investing in AI for the Real Economy. As you meet a lot of founders and you have yourself moved across multiple countries — what advice would you give to immigrants moving to the US or generally to founders who are looking to start companies anywhere in the world?

Adeyemi: Starting with the first one, I think we touched on two of them. Number one — try to get to a place, a resource that has information for you because it is very complex and it is very frustrating. And the more info you can get ahead of time, the better. Number two, the community aspect — people don’t talk about that, but it’s isolating, it’s frustrating and it really helps to hear the story of — oh, you have gone through exactly the same [ ph ‘one you have made’ 41:37], so you need to hear that. And all over the world, what I will say is I think I have picked the wrong time to be an investor because this is a super exciting time to be a founder!

Rohit: Yeah!

Adeyemi: Because if you look at the companies of the 90s and of the early 2000s, they’re software companies. [inaudible 42:04] software companies. Then if you look at the companies that started in 2008, 2009 and more recently, globally, you have the Rappi’s, the 99Taxi's, the Uber’s, the Airbnb’s, the GOJEK’s, the Grab’s that are not only software companies, they are touching the real assets and that is super exciting. And that is not a necessarily a technology first problem, it’s yes, a problem. People in São Paulo can not travel by car because you can not feed one more car on those streets. You just can’t. It’s true. So that needs to be solved. And it’s a huge and very rewarding problem to solve for everyone who lives in São Paulo. So being that kind of entrepreneur that is no longer — oh I’m going to do a cool app or a cool program. It’s like, no! I’m going to figure out how the farmers get the food to the consumer — and if I look at it today, man, in some countries, it hasn’t changed since the middle ages. Really. And there is a log to learn from Uber and from Flexport — how you take that and you use it there. So I think that’s super exciting, I think, focusing on problems like that.

Rohit: Cool, that’s a good note to end the interview, thanks for taking the time to talk with us.

Adeyemi: Thanks to you.

Rohit: This is our most international founder/investor interview, so I appreciate all your thoughts.

Adeyemi: Thanks a lot and thanks for having me.

Rohit: Thanks Ade.

Adeyemi: Pleasure.

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