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|Born||July 6, 1980|
Bafoussam, West Cameroon
|Education||Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Computer Engineering|
|Alma mater||University of Ottawa|
Rodrigue Fouafou (pronounced Rod-reeg Foo-wa-foo), mostly known as Rod, was born July 6th, 1980. He is a Cameroonian Canadian investor, speaker, entrepreneur, Africa Tech Ecosystem Builder, Diaspora Leader and advisor to technology companies across Africa. Fouafou is strongly tied to his culture and his name carries a strong meaning. The last name Fouafou means “king of village Bafoussam”. Foua means “king“ and Fou means “Bafoussam.” Rodrigue, a form of Rodrigo, means “famous, powerful ruler.” The meaning of one’s name is of great importance to those in Cameroon’s Bamileke tribe, where he is originally from.
Fouafou is fluent in English, French, and Bafoussam, his Cameroonian dialect. He is the chief executive officer of HartNamtemah, a business consulting and funding company for African Startups based in Toronto, Canada. He is also Founder of Wouessi, an intelligence company that provides digital services to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Fouafou was born on 6th July 1980 in Bafoussam, West Cameroon. Being born into a poor family with 32 brothers and sisters (his father had six wives), dreams of being successful and traveling the world were the main focus of his childhood. He graduated with Honours from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Computer Engineering.
After graduating from the University of Ottawa, Fouafou worked as an eCommerce Developer for IBM Canada in 2006, as Software Developer at Mobile Knowledge Inc. until 2007 and then as Software Designer for Nortel until 2009. Afterwards, he started his journey as entrepreneur. In 2009 he launched an online venture called Vertamin.inc, which operates Gourmandia.com and Gourmetrecipe.com. While he was chief operating officer, Gourmandia became #4 worldwide in the food vertical in less than 4 years, after companies such as Food Network and Allrecipes.com. It reached 16.5 million monthly views, 5.6 million unique visitors and a record-breaking $5+ million in revenue in 2012.
Mentoring and investing in African startups
In 2012 Fouafou exited his first venture and moved to Palo Alto, California, where he realised the potential of venture capital in Africa. A year later he co-founded Hartnamtemah Inc., a company that provides consultations, mentoring and funding for startup businesses in Africa. He is now CEO of the company and since then, Hartnamtemah has invested more than $850k USD in over 45 African startups.
Since 2013 Fouafou has been an active member of VC4A and since 2015 of Enablis, two platforms with the aim of connecting investors and entrepreneurs. Moreover since 2016, Fouafou has been senior active member of the ABAN (African Business Angel Network), an Angel Investor Network for African early-stage investors.
In 2017 Fouafou became Chief Operating Officer and Partner of the Cameroon Blockchain Business Council, which is dedicated to creating awareness of the innovations and promoting progress in blockchain and distributed ledger technology to African entrepreneurs and business leaders. During the same year, he co-founded OASIS Africa Innovation, became chief operating officer and led a pan-African and acceleration program for over 25 blockchain and AI African startups.
Fouafou is also Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of the Africa Angels Alliance (AAA), a nonprofit organization which was launched in early 2019. It is an angel investors’ network operating on the basis of Mentor Driven Capital, it is based in North America and it targets African and Caribbean Startups.
In addition, he works as mentor at the World Bank’s XL Africa, a program that aims to bridge the gap between African entrepreneurs and worldwide investors, and since 2018 at the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.
Fouafou founded Hartnamtemah Inc. in 2013 and he is now Chief Operating Officer and President of the company. It is based in Toronto, Canada, but it is focused on consulting and investing in venture opportunities in Africa. The name Hartnamtemah is the combination of the word Hart, which is the surname of Fouafou's co-founder Marc-Andre Hart and the word Namtemah, which means "lion" in the Bafoussam language of Cameroon, Fouafou's home country.
Among its portfolio companies there are Njorku, Kiro’o Games, KASI Insight and Wouessi.
Njorku was founded in 2011 and it is based in Cameroon. It is a job listing service and search engine for African job seekers with the aim of providing data about the African employment sector and help fulfil its needs. Through VC4Africa’s Mentorship Marketplace, Fouafou came into contact with the founder and invested in the company, helped it grow and develop.
Kiro’o Games is another company based in Cameroon that Fouafou came into contact with through VC4Africa’s Mentorship Marketplace. It was founded in 2003 and it is the first digital gaming company in Central Africa. Fouafou offered investments and mentorship to the founder and helped the company grow.
KASI Insight, also known as SOKO Insight, was founded in 2013. It is based in Canada, but works in different countries across Africa, including Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal. It is a platform providing reliable data and analytics to evaluate investments and opportunity risk in Africa. KASI Insight's founder Yannick Lefang went to the same school of engineering as Fouafou at the University of Ottawa, therefore they collaborated and Fouafou offered funding for the project. He still contributes to KASI's success to this day and helps the company grow.
Wouessi Limited is an intelligence company that provides digital solutions through the use of Artificial Intelligence to small and medium-sized enterprises to maximise Return on investment and scalability. The word Wouessi means “God’s thing” in an African dialect used by the Bamileke tribe in Western Cameroon. Fouafou founded the company in 2020 and he is now its CEO.
Fouafou has spoken at a number of conferences across the world about investing in Africa, including the Annual African Angel Investment Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2019; the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) World Angel Investment Summit in Toronto both in 2017 and 2018 where he represented Africa; at the 2018 Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit (ATIGS) in Washington, D.C.; at the 2018 ADIC (Africa Development and Investment Conference) in Zurich and at the 2019 Africa Financial Services Investment Conference (AFSIC) in London, where HN formally introduced the AAA (Africa Angels Alliance Network).
Moreover, in 2019 he was the judge and African representative at the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge in Boston. During that same year, he was asked by a private entity to come up with the top 100 African Startups and he completed his mission by leading a team of 14 people. In 2019 he was also invited to the seminar on "Unlocking the potential of the fourth industrial revolution in Africa" as an expert panelist, organised by the African Development Bank in Plateau, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
This year he participated to the Africa50 Innovation Challenge where he contributed to the assessment phase of the event and contributed as expert panelist. As a result, 30 solutions were chosen to increase Internet access across Africa.
Fouafou partnered with AfricUP in 2019 where he actively engaged in recruiting African startups for the Africa Tech Summit and he is now part of the Organization Committee. During this event, businesses can network and form collaborations.
Afro tech talk
In 2019 Fouafou founded Afro Tech Talk, a pan African dialogue and networking event dedicated to the African tech ecosystem, where its risks, strengths, local issues are discussed and where Fouafou shares his experience and expertise in the sector. It also encourages collaboration between investors and the African Diaspora. Afro Tech Talk's first event took place in January 2020 in Rwanda and then another one in February of the same year in Ivory Coast.
Africa in colors
When Fouafou participated in the Africa Startup Summit (Afric’Up) in Tunis in 2019, he met Raoul Rugamba, the Managing Director of Hobe Agency. They both shared common passions and interests and decided to work together on a project. They decided to collaborate to create the Africa in Colors Festival, which seeks to promote Africa's creative industry and promote dialogue and connections between creatives across the African continent. The event was meant to take place in March 2020, but was suspended due to COVID-19 and moved online.
In the media
- Rodrigue Fouafou on Facebook
- Rodrigue Fouafou on Twitter
- Rodrigue Fouafou on Instagram
- Rodrigue Fouafou on linkedin
- Rodrigue Fouafou - FasterCapital
- Rodrigue Fouafou - Co-founder & CEO @ Hartnamtemah Inc
- Rodrigue Fouafou - MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge
- Rodrigue Fouafou / Founder of HartNamtemah — Manyatta
- Rodrigue Fouafou
- Rodrigue Fouafou 2019 Speaker - AFSIC 2021 - Investing in Africa
- Fouafou Is An Important Man in Africa's Startup
- Rodrigue Fouafou's email & phone | HartNamtemah's Founder
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