Origins of the fund
Our first fund was a “field of dreams” fund in that we were told by a small group of local business leaders “if you build it, we will invest”. Well, we shared their vision for a seed and early-stage VC fund focused on information technology and life science investments so we did and they did and the rest, as they say, is history having closed our first fund in May 2006.
Origins Of the Okapi Name
The various Okapi entities are named after the Okapi (Okapi johnstoni), the only living relative of the Giraffe. Okapis are found naturally in the dense tropical rain forests of central Africa. They have only been known to Western scientists since 1900, when Sir Harry Johnston sent proof of their existence. They are about 5 feet tall at the shoulder, weigh between 440 and 660 pounds and have an unusual appearance—looking like an unlikely synthesis of a giraffe, horse, and zebra. They have a 30 year life span, are herbivores and prefer altitudes of between 500 and 1000 meters above sea level.
Our firm identifies with these unique and interesting animals—their progeny have long gestation periods and are quite precocious at birth (just like our portfolio companies!) and they are described as having “unique characteristics allowing them to thrive in dense jungle”—and if venture capital is not dense jungle, we don’t know what is.
While not in immediate danger these animals are at risk due to diminishing natural habitat. To find our more, visit the website of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve