Kenyan IT start-up Bamba Group gets backing by US investment firm Techstars

Local SMS-based data collection IT firm Bamba Group has received backing from Techstars, a US company which invests in high-potential technology-based start-ups.

Techstars will invest in Bamba Group to help the company boost its growth.

The three co-founders of Bamba Group; Al Ismaili, Faiz Hirani and Shehzad Tejani will also undergo a 13-week training and get access to Techstars’ network of founders, alumni and mentors.

Bamba Group, founded three years ago, runs SMS-based solutions and a data collection software targeting companies and organisations in any country.

The Aga Khan Foundation, Nairobi Airport Services, and Diamond Trust Bank are some of the major users of the cloud-based application.


“It is our employees who are most deserving of this selection. We now look forward to the next stage of our growth with a new saying around the office... ‘do more faster’. We hope to make Africa proud,” said Al Ismaili, the Bamba Group chief executive.

Techstars said the firm was destined for great growth, terming it the next Airbnb or Dropbox. 

Amos Schwartzfarb, the Techstars MD, said they were happy to select the first company from East Africa into their programme.

“Bamba Group is a testament to our globalised world where a start-up from any corner of the planet can rise up, pursue their passion and make a lasting impact on the world,” said Mr Schwartzfarb.

Bamba Group is among two per cent of applicants and the only East African firm which has qualified for the programme.

The group has in the past participated in the Presidential Digi-Talent Programme (PDTP), a public–private partnership run by the Kenyan ICT Authority.

The one-year programme includes software classes, soft skill training, mentoring and placement in a private or public sector firm.

PDTP Advisory Council chairman and Technology Partner at PwC, Muchemi Wambugu, said that Bamba Group has been a “huge asset”.

“PDTP aims to build technology capacity for the Government and enrich our already vibrant technology ecosystem. Bamba software was used to capture, monitor and evaluate the interactions between the programme mentors and interns,” said Mr Wambugu.

“Al holds a seat on our council and his contributions have been tremendous.

‘‘He and his firm are well deserving of their selection into one of the world’s top accelerators and we are proud of this young Kenyan firm,” he added.