BasiGo, Kapu join WEF accelerator programme

An electric bus belonging to BasiGo.

Photo credit: Pool

Two Kenyan start-ups have been selected to join the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Technology Pioneers Community, giving them access to the organisation’s wide network of investors, mentors, and resources.

The two firms – BasiGo and Kapu – are among 100 other budding businesses from across the globe that have been selected to join the prestigious accelerator programme that boasts large multinationals such as Google and Spotify as alumni.

The program will kick off later this month, with the selected firms participating in the forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China, a gathering held regularly to brainstorm solutions to the globe’s challenges.

Along with the other startups joining the programme, the Kenyan firms will benefit from networking opportunities, technical support, mentorship, as well as visibility and recognition, but won’t get any financial grants or capital directly.

Verena Kuhn, WEF’s head of innovator communities, said the firms selected to join the programme this year are “revolutionising industries on a global scale.”

“These innovators are leveraging the most advanced technologies to drive the radical changes needed to confront the world's most urgent challenges,” Ms Kuhn said.

BasiGo is an electric bus manufacturer based in Kenya, but with a presence in Rwanda as well. It sells its buses on a pay-as-you-drive basis making them affordable to public service transport providers in the region.

Kapu, a social commerce platform founded by ex-Jumia executives, has been operating in Kenya since December 2022. It delivers groceries to a number of estates in Nairobi and expands into the rest of the continent.

The two firms are among only 4 from Africa that made the list, with the other two being Ghana’s Jetstream and Nigeria’s uLesson.

Only three other Kenyan startups have entered the programme before; the now folded Sendy, Access Afya, and aggrotech SunCulture, which was the only Kenyan firm that joined last year.

The program has produced many startups that have now grown to become worldwide multinationals, among them Google, Airbnb, and Spotify among others. The firms stay in the program for two years.

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