“When I was in Uganda working for an NGO people came to me looking for a job or to invest in their business, that experience motivated me to start Flow Equity to create those types of opportunities.”
- David Ellis, Co-founder and Managing Director
Flow Equity was founded in 2010 by David Ellis and Trent Koutsoubos, two aspiring entrepreneurs who sought a different approach to development after spending time working with NGOs in East Africa. We believed that our biggest impact to improve lives would be through creating jobs and serving consumers in East Africa. Flow Equity originally intended to become a fund focused on investing in small and medium size businesses. After scanning several countries across Africa, Flow Equity chose Ethiopia because of its size and favorable economic growth trajectory, the relative lack of commercial competition, and its unique culture that lacks the endemic corruption prevalent in many other African countries.
After its initial fundraising, Flow Equity spent several months diligencing opportunities across a variety of sectors. Given the high level of involvement we assessed would be required to ensure the success of our investments, we decided to shift from a fund model to an active entrepreneurship model to generate more value than we could advising as minority investors. We began searching for an opportunity to fill a market gap by focusing intensively on building one business.
The First Success
Flow Equity found an opportunity to take over a failing government poultry farm in northern Ethiopia in fall of 2010, founding Mekelle Farms. New to the poultry industry, we built Mekelle Farms’s management team by combining international technical expertise in poultry with a recruiting model focused on hiring young, hard-working managers and veterinarians that were excited to learn and contribute to the mission of serving rural farmers throughout Ethiopia. Mekelle Farms is now a rapidly growing farm seeking to become the market leader in the poultry industry in Ethiopia. Flow Equity completed its major round of fundraising in 2012 to provide capital to expand Mekelle Farms and start AgFlow Farms, a crop production and animal feed company.
Flow Equity is now focused on cultivating high performing management teams to build companies in markets that can achieve substantial scale. Flow Equity is not a fund or advisory team, we are entrepreneurs and managers building organizations that generate tremendous economic and social value.