Meet Toukam Ngoufanke, Persistent Principal and Venture Builder

April 15, 2021
Toukam child

For Toukam, a Cameroonian native, life has been a combination of adventure, meeting and caring for people, entrepreneurial ventures, and persistence. He brought all these experiences to Persistent, as an outstanding venture builder, to work with exceptional entrepreneurs and drive social and environmental impact in Africa.

Caring for and working with people started at home in Cameroon, something Toukam learned to do very quickly, as he has five siblings and even more cousins. He spent a good deal of his life negotiating and problem solving, and quickly learned that people matter: how they think, what they care about, and the way they want you to engage with them. He enjoyed it then, and still does to this day.

His concern goes beyond just people. As a kid, he kindly reminded his mother to light a torch lamp for the hen they were raising. When it was getting dark, Toukam noticed that the hen and her chicks were walking around erratically and running into a lot of things. He concluded that they simply could not see in the dark and proceeded to successfully lobby his mom for a torch lamp to provide them with light. Till this day, they still debate whether the gesture was helpful or not, but he likes to think that the experience subconsciously led him to work for an impact investor that enables off-grid access to clean energy, including light.

Toukam bike

His entrepreneurialism also started at a young age, making money from the first bicycle his father ever got him. Though he did not know how to ride at the time, he noticed the attention the bike got. So, he proceeded to monetize the attention. It was a fee-per-ride model. He eventually did learn how to ride, exchanging free rides on his bike for riding lessons for himself. His running also improved: it was essential to keep up with your mobile asset.

As for persistence, he nearly ran a marathon due to a combination of miscalculation and sheer determination. Miscalculation because he thought he was running his very own individual half-marathon, got confused with streets, missed a turn, and actually ran almost two times longer than planned. And persistence because he did not easily give up, though he did wonder how on earth anyone would actually want to run a half-marathon. It felt so long. He did eventually run an official half-marathon in another city on a whim, and survived.

These abilities to adapt, embrace the unknown, his interest in people, coupled with entrepreneurialism have come in handy across Toukam’s career in various industries and functions, whether in consulting, valuations, innovation or now, working hands-on with entrepreneurs at Persistent.

Toukam Recent

What is Toukam doing at Persistent? Toukam is a Venture Builder and Principal at Persistent. He is passionate about the company’s focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, which has given him a new avenue to contribute to that impactful combination of business, social and environmental entrepreneurship in the region he was born in and loves.

To him, investing is always an adventure. The turns and twists are many, and he never knows what awaits him. However, at its heart, investing is always an exciting adventure because it’s about meeting people, caring about the things in which they are investing, interest in the people they’re seeking to serve, and honoring them for their persistence, regardless if one eventually invests or not.

In his own words, “At the early stage at which we invest, people matter. Impact matters. Venture building matters. And it is our great privilege to journey with the entrepreneurs who come our way, whether we invest in them or not. Their persistence deserves the same level of determination from us”.