Seven tech start-ups with a presence in Kenya have been named as the beneficiaries of World Bank business development programme designed to enable them raise up to Sh150 million in early-stage financing.
The initiative, launched in April, involves 20 digital start-ups that will receive tailor-made training, mentoring from local and global experts as well as access to investors and an increase in regional visibility.
The programme, XL Africa, with the help from investment groups, will aid the start-ups attract early stage capital of between Sh25 million ($250,000) and Sh150 million ($1.5 million).
Local businesses representing Kenya in the programme are Asoko Insight — a data site, human resource portal Lynk Jobs, small-medium enterprise service website Ongair, fintech news website Pesabazaar.com, delivery company Sendy, publishing business Snapplify and distribution channel Sokowatch.
“We are pleased by the interest infoDev and XL Africa generated across the continent in just a few months. XL Africa attracted firms with high-growth potential; many have female co-founders, have already raised early stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction,” said ,” said Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group, Klaus Tilmes.
“The number and quality of applications received are a clear testament to the competitiveness of African start-ups and the key role they play in Africa’s growing digital economy.”
The 20 were shortlisted from over 900 applicants, including “start-ups specialising in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B.” The firms representatives are currently undergoing the first training in Capetown.
“We encountered very strong companies, particularly in the transportation, HR, and data analytics sectors. We also observed signals of a nascent pipeline of digital companies beyond the traditional hot spots of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa,” said Investment associate at Goodwell Investments, Danai Musandu.