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创新趋势:年轻科技人才去哪里创业?

更新时间:2018/1/25 21:46:13 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

Why millennials are heading for a wilder tech city
创新趋势:年轻科技人才去哪里创业?

In the summer of 2006, Timbo Drayson packed his bags and waved goodbye to Oxford University for a job at Google. He started in London, working on a fast-growing video product that eventually took him to the US. But by 2013 Drayson had quit and flown half way across the globe for Kenya’s capital. What happened?

2006年夏天,蒂博·德雷森(Timbo Drayson)收拾行装离开了牛津大学,前往谷歌任职。他先是到伦敦,开发一款快速发展的视频产品,并最终因此到了美国。但到2013年,德雷森却离开谷歌,来到了地球另一边的肯尼亚首都。究竟发生了什么?

“During my time at Google, I was working on building our developer ecosystem in the Middle East and Africa,” says Drayson. “I really enjoyed it and so decided to take a sabbatical, travelling around East and West Africa on a tech tour. [Along the way] I got inspired [by the] big problems that needed solving through technology.”

"我在谷歌工作期间,负责开发我们在中东和非洲的开发者生态系统。"德雷森说,"我真的很喜欢这样的内容,所以决定休假来到非洲中西部进行一场科技旅行。我一路上获得很多启发,认为可以通过科技解决很多重大问题。"

Nairobi has the most developed tech scene in East Africa rivalling hubs like Cape Town, Lagos and Cairo. This made it a smart, strategic choice for an entrepreneur like Drayson. Within a year, the Brit had co-founded OkHi, a company working to provide every person in Kenya with an address.

内罗毕拥有西非最发达的科技社区,可以媲美开普敦、拉各斯和开罗。对于像德雷森这样的创业者来说,这算得上是一个明智的战略选择。不到一年,这个英国人就共同创办了OkHi,这是一家为肯尼亚所有人提供地址的服务。

Yet, for most of the world Nairobi remains an enigma. “Isn’t it dangerous” and “do people live in mud huts there” are some of the questions expats regularly field from family around the globe. They’re surprised to hear Nairobi is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, with over three million inhabitants.

然而,世界多数地方的人仍然不了解内罗毕。 "那里不是很危险吗?""那里的人是不是住在泥棚里?"——内罗毕的外国人经常听到全球各地的家人提出类似的问题。当听说内罗毕是非洲增速最快的城市之一,而且拥有300多万居民时,他们都感觉非常惊讶。

Within eight years it has transformed in to a cosmopolitan hub drawing young people from across Africa and now India and China. There are skyscrapers and shopping malls; hotels and apartment blocks; cinemas, bars, restaurants and even an ice rink.

八年时间,这里已经变成了一个四海一家的大城市,吸引了来自非洲各地的年轻人,现在还有很多印度和中国来的年轻人。这里有摩天大楼,有购物中心,有酒店和公寓,还有电影院、酒吧、餐厅甚至溜冰场。

Since 2008, a crop of incubators, accelerators and funders have popped up, propelling many startups in to profit. Last year, for example, Sendy, Kenya’s first on-demand delivery service, hit its $2m funding goal with the support of the Safaricom Spark Fund and XL Africa accelerator, which is funded by the World Bank.

自从2008年以来,大量的孵化器、加速器和基金相继涌现,推动很多创业公司实现盈利。例如,肯尼亚的首家应需快递服务Sendy在Safaricom Spark Fund和XL Africa加速器的支持下实现了200万美元的融资目标,XL Africa还获得了世界银行的资助。

A Disrupt Africa report, shows tech start-ups across Africa raised over $129 million in 2016, a 17% increase on the previous year, with Kenya attracting the second highest investment after South Africa. One of the beneficiaries, Moringa, a Nairobi-based coding school that develops African tech talent, has been able to expand globally with this financial support, launching offices in Hong Kong, Ghana and Pakistan since 2014.

《颠覆非洲》(Disrupt Africa)报告显示,整个非洲的创业公司在2016年融资1.29亿美元,同比增长17%,肯尼亚吸引的投资额仅次于南非,位居非洲第二。Moringa便是其中的受益者之一。这是一家位于内罗毕的编程学校,他们为非洲培养了许多科技人才,并且在获得财务支持后面向全球扩张,2014年以来,他们已经在中国香港、加纳、巴基斯坦开设了办事处。

Still, Nairobi isn’t an obvious choice for a young expat. To be sure there are some significant downsides and cultural challenges for foreigners here, homosexuality, for example, is still illegal in Kenya. Crime is another concern, while walking around the city during the day is perfectly fine, exploring on foot at night is not recommended. Women can travel around the city alone and are free to dress as they like but conservative clothing is recommended in some areas beyond the city limits. Tribal and political tensions sometimes bubble up and cause violence, particularly around election times. Most people in the capital however, consider themselves to be ‘Nairobians’ first, and are happy to talk about their country’s history, their tribes and their world views.

不过,对于年轻的外国人来说,内罗毕并不是一个显而易见的选择。可以肯定的是,外国人在这里面临一些明显的缺陷和文化上的挑战,例如,同性恋在肯尼亚仍然是违法的。犯罪也是一个令人担忧的问题,白天在城市里散步没有问题,但不推荐在夜间步行。女性可以独自在城市里旅行,她们可以随意穿着,但在城市之外的一些地区,推荐穿着保守服装。部落和政治方面的紧张局势有时会滋生并引发暴力行为,尤其是在选举期间。然而,首都的大多数人都认为自己是"内罗毕人",他们乐于谈论自己国家的历史、部落以及他们的世界观。

It languishes at number 186 on Mercer’s Quality of Living City Rankings 2017 which highlights traffic congestion; poor public transport; crime levels; housing; access to good schools and electricity supply, which can be intermittent in the capital. And with its growing population, second-hand cars, burning rubbish, and wood-fired stoves, Nairobi’s air pollution has become a significant problem.

在美世公司2017年的生活质量排行榜上,内罗毕仅排名第186位。该报告着重强调的问题包括当地的交通拥堵、匮乏的公共交通、犯罪率、住房、一流学校和电力供应的不足——首都的供电都有可能断断续续。随着人口和二手汽车的增长,加之当地人使用火炉来燃烧垃圾和木头,导致内罗毕的空气污染已经成为一个严重的问题。

However, Tia Peng, 30, believes a combination of opportunity, good weather and good people are what makes Nairobi appeal. She relocated from Guang Dong Provence in China to work for Shenzen Right Net Tech Co, an ecommerce company that sells Chinese goods to Africa and African goods to China. “I plan to stay in Nairobi for a long time, at least 5 years. The city is good, I especially love the weather, it’s 25 degrees and sunny all year around, and the local people are friendly.”

然而,30岁的蒂亚·彭(Tia Peng)认为,内罗毕的吸引力在于,这里蕴含着机遇,而且气候宜人,居民友好。她来自中国广东,效力于深圳的一家电子商务公司,这家公司在中非两地之间从事商品贸易。"我计划在内罗毕待上很长时间,至少5年。这座城市很好,我特别喜欢这里的天气,全年大约都是25度,而且阳光明媚,当地人也都很友好。"

Asked what her family think about her living in Kenya, Peng says, “My family think it’s a good thing I’ve come to Kenya to develop my career, the Chinese believe Africa has a bright future. There are very many opportunities for young people and the salaries are higher [in Kenya than in China]”.

当被问及她的家人如何看待她在肯尼亚的生活时,蒂亚·彭说:"我的家人认为我来肯尼亚发展事业是件好事,中国人相信非洲拥有光明的未来。年轻人的机会非常多,而且肯尼亚的工资比中国高。"

Utsav Misty, 32, is an Indian expat working for mobile gaming company Vuclip in Nairobi agrees. He also moved here because of the opportunities available to him: “Where I come from [Mumbai, India] the market is very competitive. [In Nairobi] we Indians can apply the skills and technology we use at home more easily. The Kenyan market is responsive and they like the technologies we bring.”

32岁的尤斯塔夫·米斯蒂(Utsav Misty)是个印度人,他在内罗毕的手机游戏公司Vuclip工作。他也是因为这里的机会而来到内罗毕:"我来自印度孟买,那里的市场竞争非常激烈。[在内罗毕]印度人可以更容易地施展我们在祖国使用的技能和技术。肯尼亚市场反响不错,他们喜欢我们带来的技术。"

What’s the draw? High-speed internet, globally-renowned innovation, major funding and the presence of incubators and hubs all appeal to tech talent. “There’s a large amount of brain power focusing on similar challenges [in Nairobi]. The barrier for entry [for new companies] is low because everything is concentrated – if you have all of the people and all of the money in one place it makes it way easier,” says Samir Ibrahim, 29, a US expat and CEO of SunCulture, a company which provides solar-powered irrigation to farmers. Like many millennials, the ex-New York University student wanted a meaningful job, and says a tech start-up in Kenya provided that.

这里有什么吸引力?高速互联网、全球知名的创新、大型基金以及孵化器和中心的存在,都吸引着科技人才纷至沓来。"人们集中了很多脑力来克服类似的挑战。新公司的进入门槛很低,因为一切都很集中——如果合适的人才和足够的资金都集中在一个地方,那就会容易很多。"萨米尔·易卜拉欣(Samir Ibrahim)说,这个29岁的美国人是SunCulture公司的首席执行官,该公司为当地农民提供太阳能灌溉服务。与许多千禧一代一样,曾经在纽约大学就读的他也想要一份有意义的工作,他认为,在肯尼亚创办一家科技创业公司就提供了这样的机会。

Money is being pushed in to infrastructure - from the newly built tarmac road link to Ethiopia, to the new Standard Gauge Railway between Nairobi with Mombasa on the coast. “Kenya is an English-speaking country, its generally safe, western investment has been coming into the country for a long time and it’s a hub for tourism. These are the foundation points of a good hub,” adds Ibrahim.

肯尼亚正在投资建设基础设施——从新建一条连接肯尼亚和埃塞俄比亚的柏油路,再到内罗毕与海滨城市蒙巴萨之间新建的标准轨距铁路。"肯尼亚是一个英语国家,它通常都很安全,西方的投资进入这个国家已经很长时间,这里还是旅游中心。这都是一个优秀的中心城市的基础。"易卜拉欣说。

Where to go

去处

Situated on the fourth floor of Piedmont Plaza on the Ngong Road – one of the main roads leading east to west across the city – Nairobi Garage, a co-working space for start-ups, techies and entrepreneurs has become a popular place for work. “There are a few main places to hang out and because the expat community is tight – when you’re new in town older expats will invite you along to things. It feels like things are possible here, the mentality is ‘the sky’s the limit,’” says Hannah Clifford, 29, director at Nairobi Garage.

Ngong是内罗毕的一条东西主干道,路边的皮埃蒙特广场(Piedmont Plaza)的四层坐落着Nairobi Garage,这是一个专为创业企业、技术人员和创业者服务的共享空间,如今已成为一个颇受欢迎的工作场所。"这里有几个主要的去处,因为外籍人士之间的关系很紧密——你刚到这里时,年长的外国人会邀请你一起去。在这里,一切都有可能,他们的心态是:'天空才是极限'。"29岁的汉娜·克利福德(Hannah Clifford)说。

Another favourite is Nairobi’s first incubator, iHub, in Kilimani, a central Nairobi suburb. The terrace here offers great views of the city. Many expats choose to regularly work from coffee shops like Wasp & Sprout, a bohemian little café in Loresho serving cold brew coffee on colourful sofas. After work drinks are popular at Brew Bistro, a rooftop bar in Westlands complete with picnic tables, AstroTurf grass and home-brewed beers; The Alchemist, an open-air bar with live music most nights of the week, and J’s, a restaurant and bar with outdoor seating and a DJ playing party tunes until the early hours at the weekend.

另一个最受欢迎的项目是内罗毕的第一个孵化器iHub,它位于基利马尼(Kilimani),是内罗毕郊区的中心地带。这里的露台可以欣赏城市美景。许多外国人经常在Wasp & Sprout这样的咖啡厅里工作。这间波西米亚风格的小咖啡厅提供冷泡咖啡和色彩斑斓的沙发。工作过后,很多人都喜欢到Brew Bistro(位于Westlands的一间屋顶酒吧,里面配有野餐桌子、人工草皮和自酿啤酒)、The Alchemist(一间露天酒吧,每周的大部分夜晚都有现场音乐表演)和J's(一家餐厅和酒吧,有户外座位,还有一个DJ播放派对音乐,周末会一直营业到凌晨)聚会饮酒。

Westlands has long been a popular location for expats to live as well as party due to its central city location and the proximity to shops, restaurants and the Karura Forest, a huge forest with hiking trails and an open-air restaurant called the River Café. There’s a range of accommodation here from apartment blocks for singletons to houses for families. Kilimani, Kilileshwa and Lavington are also popular areas in the leafy suburbs, yet a short drive to the central business district. Properties favoured by expats here tend to be plush modern apartments complete with gyms and swimming pools.

Westlands一直以来都是外国人居住和聚会的热门地点,因为这里位于城市中心,而且靠近商店、餐馆和卡罗拉森林(Karura Forest)——那是一片设有远足线路的巨大森林,还有一个名叫River Café的露天餐厅。这里有各种各样的住处,从单身公寓到家庭大宅。Kilimani、Kilileshwa和Lavington在绿树葱葱的郊区也很受欢迎,但没有车辆前往中央商务区。住在这里的外国人通常喜欢豪华的现代公寓,里面配有健身房和游泳池。

Spending power

消费能力

Salaries in the tech sector in Kenya vary hugely from company to company and there is little information available for benchmarking one organisation against the next, for example, one start-up may pay a $40,000 salary for an I.T. project leader but according to Glassdoor.com others can be much lower ($15,000-$20,000). While wages aren’t high versus the UK or US this income is enough to live comfortably in Nairobi. Fresh food is cheap and monthly rent for an unfurnished two bed apartment in Kilimani, a popular expat area, is approximately 90,000ksh ($874) a month. Beer in a bar costs on average KSH 200 ($1.90), and internet packages cost around KSH 4000 ($38) a month. Expat luxuries like cheese and wine can be expensive but according to website Expatisan.com, the cost of living in Nairobi is 17% cheaper than Johannesburg, South Africa.

在肯尼亚,科技行业的不同公司之间的工资差别很大,几乎没有什么信息可以对比不同组织之间的状况。例如,一家创业公司可能给IT项目负责人开出4万美元的薪水,但根据Glassdoor.com的数据,其他公司的薪水可能要低得多(大约为1.5万至2万美元)。虽然与英国或美国相比,这里的工资水平并不高,但这份收入足以在内罗毕过上舒适的生活。新鲜的食物很便宜,而在基利马尼这个受到外国人欢迎的地区,一套没有家具的两居室公寓每月的房租大约是9万肯尼亚先令(874美元)。酒吧里的啤酒平均售价为200肯尼先令(1.90美元),上网套餐的价格大约是每月4,000肯尼亚先令(38美元)。像奶酪和葡萄酒这样的外来奢侈品可能很贵,但是根据Expatisan.com网站的数据,内罗毕的生活费用比南非约翰内斯堡便宜17%。

The tight-knit community, social scene and outdoor activities that appealed to Drayson on his initial visit. Nairobi seemed like somewhere he could enjoy living. “I figured if I’m going to start a business in a new country where I don’t know anyone, I need to be happy and I felt I could be happy,” says Drayson. “It had the creature comforts of Ribena and Haribo in the supermarkets, and Kenyans have a great sense of humour. As a British person that makes me feel at home. I also love the outdoors and camping and the country is great for that.”

当德雷森第一次来到这里时,被紧密团结的社区、社会场景和户外活动深深吸引。内罗毕似乎是一个他很乐于居住的地方。 "我想,如果我打算在一个举目无亲的国家里创业,我必须要快乐,我觉得我可以在这里获得快乐。"德雷森说,"超市里能买到Ribena和Haribo这些家乡味,肯尼亚也很有幽默感。作为一个英国人,这里给我宾至如归的感觉。我也喜欢户外运动和野营,这个国家很适合做这些事情。"

Drayson expects to see more like-minded ex-Googlites quitting Silicon Valley for Silicon Savannah. “As long as there are big problems to solve there’s an opportunity. Every year companies are growing, hiring talent and training talent,” he says.

德雷森希望看到更多志同道合的谷歌前员工离开硅谷,前往硅草原。"只要有重要问题需要解决,就肯定蕴含机会。企业每年都在增长,每年都在招聘和培训人才。"

Kenyan-born Maurice Otieno, 27, general manager at Metta, a club for entrepreneurs agrees. He too is confident that Nairobi’s tech scene will keep attracting global talent. He believes one particular draw could be around the farming industry, which is a huge part of the Kenyan economy and much in need of tech innovation to develop in the coming years. “We expect to see big things in the agritech space [in 2018 and beyond], it’s an optimistic time. We’ll keep making a concerted effort to bring people together and to make expats feel welcome. We Kenyans are just loving people!”

27岁的肯尼亚人莫里斯·奥提诺(Maurice Otieno)是Metta创业者俱乐部的总经理。他也相信,内罗毕的科技行业将继续吸引全球各地的人才。他认为,农业可能是一个特别有吸引力的领域。农业是肯尼亚经济的重要组成部分,在未来几年急需通过科技创新来推动其发展。"我们希望2018年及以后的时间里,能够在农业科技领域看到重大进步,人们现在都很乐观。我们仍将共同努力,把人们聚集在一起,让外国人感到宾至如归。我们肯尼亚人都很热情!"

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