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Nicolas Friederici, Dr.

Nicolas is Senior Researcher and Lead of the Platform Alternatives and DaPla projects at HIIG. He studies how economic development happens in the digital age, and how the opportunities of digital technologies unfold unevenly across the world. Focal areas are digital platform entrepreneurship in Europe and Africa, inequality in the global digital economy, and entrepreneurial ecosystems and innovation hubs in low- and middle-income countries. His most recent book on Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa was published with MIT Press. Through formats like the Task Force: European Platform Economy, Nicolas exchanges with entrepreneurs and policymakers.

Nicolas holds a doctoral degree from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII). He was also a Postdoctoral Researcher at OII, visiting researcher in Stanford, and Mobile Innovation Associate at infoDev (World Bank). In Oxford, he was a Kellogg College Fellow, a Clarendon Scholar, and a Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship grantee. As a Fulbright scholar, Nicolas completed his MA in Telecommunications, Information Studies and Media at Michigan State University. He also holds a Diplom in Media Management from the University of Cologne.

Nicolas continues to be active as a consultant. For instance, he did work on the platform economy for GIZ, helped the World Bank assess digital entrepreneurship ecosystems in South Africa, Bangladesh, and the Caribbean, and contributed to UNCTAD’s 2019 Digital Economy Report.



Friederici, N., Wahome, M., & Graham, M. (2020). Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa – How A Continent Is Escaping Silicon Valley’s Long Shadow. Cambridge, UK: The MIT Press. Publication details

Journal articles and conference proceedings

Bohn, S., Friederici, N., & Gümüşay, A. A. (2020). Too big to fail us? Platforms as systemically relevant. Internet Policy Review. Publication details

Friederici, N., Meier, P., & Gümüşay, A. A. (2020). An opportunity for inclusion? Digital platform innovation in times of crisis. Pioneers Post. Publication details

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). Understanding ‘AI Made in Germany’: A Report on the German Startup Landscape. Delphi - Interdisciplinary Review of Emerging Technologies, 2(2), 87–94. DOI: /10.21552/delphi/2019/2/8 Publication details

Iacob, N., Friederici, N., & Lachenmayer, J. (2019). Operationalising relational theory of entrepreneurial ecosystems at city-level in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, 63(2). DOI: 10.1515/zfw-2018-0017 Publication details

Friederici, N. (2018). Grounding the Dream of African Innovation Hubs: Two Cases in Kigali. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 23(02). Publication details

Foster, C., Graham, M., Waema, T., Mann, L., & Friederici, N. (2018). Digital Control in Value Chains: Challenges of Connectivity for East African Firms. Economic Geography, 94(1), 68-86. DOI: 10.1080/00130095.2017.1350104 Publication details

Graham, M., Ojanperä, S., Anwar, M. A., & Friederici, N. (2018). Digital Connectivity and African Knowledge Economies. Questions de Communication, 23, 345-360. Publication details

Friederici, N. (2018). Delineating African Innovation Hubs from Business Incubators: A Process Perspective. Research Paper submitted to 4th Biennial Conference of the Africa Academy of Management, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 3rd - 6th January 2018. Publication details

Loebbecke, C., Myers, M. D., & Friederici, N. (2017). Deploying internal knowledge portals: Three major challenges. Information & Management, 54(4), 491–505. DOI: Publication details

Book contributions and chapters

Friederici, N. (2019). Hope and Hype in Africa’s Digital Economy: The Rise of Innovation Hubs. In M. Graham (Ed.), Digital Economies at Global Margins (pp. 193-222). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, IDRC. Publication details

Friederici, N. (2019). Innovation Hubs in Africa: What Do They Really Do for Digital Entrepreneurs? In N. D. Taura, E. Bolat, & N. O. Madichie (Eds.), Digital Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects (pp. 9-28). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Publication details

Friederici, N. (2018). Innovation Hubs in Africa: Assemblers of Technology Entrepreneurs. In M. Tynnhammar (Ed.), New Waves in Innovation Management Research (ISPIM Insights) (pp. 435-454). Delaware, USA: Vernon Press. Publication details

Working paper

Friederici, N., & Graef, I. (2021). Beyond GAFAM: How size-or-silo regulation fails to account for organisational diversity in the platform economy. Internet Policy Review. Publication details

Krell, T., Braesemann, F., Stephany, F., Friederici, N., & Meier, P. (2020). A Mixed-Method Landscape Analysis of SME-focused B2B Platforms in Germany. Social Science Research Network. Publication details

Friederici, N., & Graham, M. (2018). The Bounded Opportunities of Digital Enterprises in Global Economic Peripheries. Friederici, N., & Graham, M.. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3249499 Publication details

Other publications

Friederici, N. (2021). Small goes digital: How digitalization can bring about productive growth for micro and small enterprises. International Labour Office. Publication details

Lehdonvirta, V., Park, S., Krell, T., & Friederici, N. (2020). Platformization in Europe. Global and local digital intermediaries in the retail, taxi, and food delivery industries, . Publication details

Friederici, N. (2020). Can European platform capitalism be sustainable? Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Nicolas Friederici (2020). Towards a fair and equitable European platform economy. CARTA – der Autor*innenblog zu Politik, Kultur, Ökonomie und Theorie. Publication details

Friederici, N., Krell, T., Meier, P., Braesemann, F., & Stephany, F. (2020). Plattforminnovation im Mittelstand, . Publication details

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). How much magic lies behind German AI production? Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). Ein Autopilot für Online-Marketing. Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). Quo vadis – what types of AI are produced in Germany? Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Meier, P., Friederici, N. (2019). Den Blick weiten: Digitalisierung im Mittelstand. Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Friederici, N. (2019). The Global Digital Economy: Worsening Inequality vs. Pockets of Innovation. Observer Research Foundation, Digital Frontiers Blog. Publication details

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). The transfer of AI-expertise in to sustainable business models. Digital society blog. Publication details

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). How AI extends the doctors visit. Digital society blog. Publication details

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019) (2019). The death of manual data entry. Digital society blog. Publication details

Friederici, N. (2019). African innovation hubs coming of age. Digital society blog. Publication details

Lectures and presentations

Inclusive Digital Economies - A quick tour of findings from three research streams
UNDP Chief Digital Office. United Nations Development Programme, Online, USA: 18.11.2021 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

“One strategy does not fit all” – A typology of European platform competition.
Session E: Platform Economy. BEYOND4.0 Conference. Online, Sofia, Bulgaria: 01.10.2021 Further information

Tina Krell, Nicolas Friederici

Daten-Kooperationsplattformen für den Mittelstand
Digitale Plattformen im Mittelstand – Gemeinsame Wertschöpfung als Chance?. Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Online, Berlin, Germany: 16.02.2021 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Varieties of Platform Strategy: An Exploratory Study of European Enterprises
Workshop Regulating work in the platform economy (Session: The effects of the platform economy: business models and value chains). Hertie School. Online, Berlin, Germany: 27.05.2020

Nicolas Friederici

Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa: Last Mile Platforms and Other Localized Business Models
GIZ.Digital Gateway Online Event. GIZ. Online, Bonn, Germany: 27.03.2020

Nicolas Friederici

Economic Geographies of the Digital. Universität Bayreuth. Weizenbaum Institut, Berlin, Deutschland: 24.01.2020

Nicolas Friederici

Ethnologisches Kolloqium (Session: Digital entrepreneurship in Africa: Escaping from Silicon Valleys long shadow). Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth, Bayreuth: 10.12.2019 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Beyond the Silicon Savannah: How Self-Determined are Africa's Digital Economies?
Ringvorlesung: Selbstbestimmung in der vernetzten Gesellschaft. Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany: 03.12.2019 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa. BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway: 13.09.2019

Nicolas Friederici

Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa: Escaping from Silicon Valley’s Long Shadow
World Bank Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation Global Practice. World Bank, Washington, D.C., USA: 21.05.2019

Nicolas Friederici

Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa: How a Continent Is Escaping from Silicon Valley’s Long Shadow. Quello Center, Michigan State University, Michigan, U.S.A.: 20.05.2019 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Colloquium Development Geography (Session: Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa: Escaping from Silicon Valley’s Long Shadow). Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany: 01.02.2019

Nicolas Friederici

Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa
Management Research Seminar: Lecture on Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa. WU Wien, Vienna, Austria: 06.11.2018 Further information

Friederici, N.

Innovation ist überall
Symposium: Der smarte Weg für die Energiewende. Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, Germany: 22.06.2018 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Digital enterprise & ecosystems in Africa: An uneven and challenging landscape
7th GiZ Make-IT Alliance Networking Meeting (Session: Digital Enterprise and Ecosystems in Africa: An Uneven and Challenging Landscape). re:publica, Berlin, Germany: 04.05.2018

Nicolas Friederici


KI-Leuchtturm-Vorhaben: CO:DINA –Transformationsroadmap Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit
CO:DINA-Forum „Digitale Souveränität und Nachhaltigkeit“. Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment,, Online, Germany: 04.12.2020 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Kampf der Plattform-Giganten – wie sieht der deutsch-europäische Weg aus?
11. Internet Governance Forum Deutschland. Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft & Energie, Berlin, Germany: 11.09.2019 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Moderation of workshops and panels

Digital Economies, Digital Connectivity, Digital Margins: Session I: Development, Entrepreneurship, and Inequality
5th Global Conference on Economic Geography. Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany: 24.07.2018

Mark Graham, Nicolas Friederici, Mohammad Amir Anwar, Sanna Ojanperä

Organisation of events

Platform Entrepreneurship & Society. Lunch Talk with Inge Graef, Jovana Karanović and Christian Fieseler
Open Lunch Talk Series. 27.09.2021. Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Online, Germany (International) Further information

Maria Gradl, Lena Starke, Tina Krell, Nicolas Friederici

Policy Co-Creation Workshop
17.06.2020. Online, Berlin, Germany. Co-Organised by: Federal Ministry of Finance (National)

Tina Krell, Nicolas Friederici, Philip Meier

Platform Entrepreneurship in Europe: Which Business Models are Viable and Sustainable?
03.06.2020. Online, Berlin, Germany. Co-Organised by: Oxford Internet Institute (International) Further information

Asal Dardan, Lena Starke, Tina Krell, Nicolas Friederici


Member of the Advisory Board: BMBF project Africa digital in cooperation with technopolis group and konnektiv.

Nicolas Friederici

Participation as expert

Digitale Entwicklungszusammenarbeit 2021 – Ideen & Aufgaben für die neue Legislaturperiode
Fachgespräch: Brot für die Welt, Institut für Zukunftsstudien und Technologiebewertung & Konnektiv. Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Online, Germany: 08.09.2021 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Development in the Age of Digital Platforms: Finance and E-Commerce. Münchner Kreis, World Bank & Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). GIZ, Online, Germany: 19.08.2021 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Reshaping WorkUniversity of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia: 27.02.2020 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

UNCTAD Review Meeting "Digital Economy Report 2019" (Feb 2019)UNCTAD, Geneva, Switzerland: 12.02.2019

Nicolas Friederici

Media appearances

Interview with Nicolas Friederici on Digital Entreprenuership in Africa (02.07.2019). Quello Center, Michigan State University, Michigan; Vimeo
Further information

5G, Regulierung, Wettbewerb – Internet Governance Forum Deutschland - Wirtschaft am Mittag (11.09.2019). Deutschlandfunk
Further information

A hub alone does not create a Silicon Valley (26.08.2019). IGF2019
Further information

Nicolas Friederici


Former Associated Researcher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society


Our podcast with Nicolas Friederici

Current HIIG research activities

Research issues in focus

HIIG is currently working on exciting topics. Learn more about our interdisciplinary pioneering work in public discourse.