Safaricom has launched a transformative USD 1 million (Kshs. 90 million) Venture Fund aimed at accelerating the development of innovative mobile applications and solutions by availing much needed capital to ICT start-ups. The Safaricom Spark Venture Fund will be offered to Mobile ICT based start-ups based in Kenya either through equity Investment in their businesses or in the form of other debt instruments. Start-ups will be eligible to receive amounts between USD 75,000 and USD 250,000. The fund has been set-up for an initial 2 year period.
“We see this as a much needed catalyst that will help actualize our aspiration to nurture a vibrant ICT economy in Kenya. It will directly address the key startup and developers’ pain points such as the cost and speed of accessing a platform where they can test their solutions,” said Joe Ogutu, Director, Strategy and Innovation at Safaricom.
The funds will be administered together with international tech fund TBL Invest, who have already been appointed by Safaricom as the principal Fund Managers, and all prospective applications will be subject to approval from a cross-functional Investment Committee made up of Safaricom management, TBL Invest and an external industry expert.
“Despite contributing to over 60% of Kenya’s GDP, small businesses are under-funded and do have access to the same level of advice as their counterparts in other countries. It is encouraging that Safaricom will also extend access to structured mentoring to beneficiaries of the Venture Fund as that will be an additional assurance that the selected ventures remain sustainable in the long run,” said Eline Blaauboer, Managing Partner at TBL Invest.