Sharing a few thoughts about our recent investment in Amini.
To begin with, what do these sectors have in common?
- Supply chain monitoring
- Climate research and intelligence
- International aid and development
They all rely on on-ground environmental data in order to take the best decisions and/or run their operations efficiently. Now, if you know anyone who works in these sectors at a global scale, ask them this question: “How different is it to get data on Europe vs. Africa”? and gaze into their PTSD-induced widened retinas. Truth is — African data most often doesn’t exist, or exists in siloes with no proper piping for it to be useful, which explains why it’s commonly referred to as costly, outdated, and inaccurate.
The Africa-as-a-black-box problem has historically been explained as naturally resulting from low demand. In other words, there is no incentive for the emergence of an African data economy if there aren’t enough buyers for it. Fast forward to 2023, the demand for African data has drastically increased, yet, the need for accurate and trustworthy data has remained unaddressed. Within that context, Amini is aiming for the holy grail by building an environmental data infrastructure for Africa, vertically integrated, to provide valuable insights to businesses, governments, and international organizations.
This data infrastructure has applications in various fields, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s take a look at the agricultural insurance space. Insurances underwrite risk based on data. Yet, this data collection in Africa is manual, collected through a network of field agents, with insufficient data points. Even the most sophisticated global insurers have traditionally relied on anecdotal and manual data entries for their African operations such as; crop size, yield, water levels, and humidity. Despite working at a notable scale across the continent, the majority of these data sets are said to be largely inaccurate given the means of collection. The industry needs to address a two-faceted challenge; generating new data and synthesizing multiple complex data sources into a single funnel. Amini’s data infrastructure platform solves the agricultural data gap from both angles (aggregation + generation) to allow accurate yield monitoring for insurance groups, governments, and corporates.
Our thesis in backing Amini finds roots in our conviction that “AI model building” is not defensible as a singular pillar, and that a pure data-generation layer wouldn’t unlock the full potential for value creation. Instead, Amini’s model involves innovative data paired with strong models to spin a flywheel that drives value and defensibility over time.
While global corporations have been running their African operations for decades despite the missing data on the continent, the potential of a local champion enabling data-driven monitoring and decisioning for regional and global institutions is unquestionable. From our interactions with Kate (Founder&CEO), we discovered a passionate entrepreneur whose industry background (ex-Director at Nvidia, ARM and Intel) combined with her on-the-ground experience building Mara favorably positions her to champion this cause. We are well aware that building Amini is not gonna be a straight line. There’s gonna be moments of doubt. Yet, we are making a bet on the team’s resourcefulness to overcome crisis after crisis. Great things aren’t supposed to be easy. Amini has the potential to become a category-defining player on the continent and beyond — making it a solid bet in RaliCap’s quest for outsized returns.
Onto the next one!