Five Kenyan startups in the housing sector have secured Sh5 million each following successful pitching to local and international investors.
Gjenge, ManPro, The Vlage, AHomes and MycoTile secured the funding upon proving they were investor-ready under the ShelterTech Kenya Accelerator Program.
They beat ten other startups in the contest that focused on affordable shelter solutions to the market to serve low-income people.
The solutions offered included construction materials, waste management, water, sanitation and renewable energy.
“These start-ups have put in a lot of work in their business ideas and we would have wished to match all of them with investors. However, we are compelled to go with the most investor-ready outfits,” said Chandaria Group CEO, Darshan Chandaria, who was a judge at the competition.
Gjenge is a social enterprise recycling waste plastic into artistic construction products. ManPro is a construction management system and The Vlage provides co-living spaces through their digital platform.
AHomes is a startup that provides artisans with labour opportunities and certification while MycoTile provides alternative building material made from mushroom.
Depending on their capacity to absorb and after further due diligence, three of the startups will share a further Sh15 million courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.
Cloud-based rental properties management system Mali Kodi and Corec (Continental Renewable Energy Co. Limited), were also picked for possible funding.
Corec produces, among other things, quality durable resin-bonded roofing tiles, man hole covers and plastic lumber planks.
The 15 businesses that pitched were shortlisted from tens of others who applied for the programme and have gone through intense training and validation to ensure they are investor-ready.
According to Pangea Accelerator Team Lead Anne Lawi, the programme was born out of the need to have affordable housing while dealing with key challenges such as high cost of construction due to high import duties, poor import logistics and an unfavourable tax regime.
"The purpose of this event is to encourage young and upcoming businesses that they can still be market-validated through access to investment opportunities,” said Ms Lawi.
The judges were drawn from the real estate, financial and technology sectors.