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Bitcoin startup billionaire eyes stakes in Kenya tech companies

From left: Bitcoin startup entrepreneur Wences Casares, Chandaria Industries Group CEO Darshan Chandaria and Britam CEO Benson Wairegi toast to the Sh4.8  billion investment by venture  capital firm Endeavor Catalyst in local digital  payments provider Cellulant in Nairobi       recently. The ceremony was also attended by CBA Group MD Isaac Awuondo (background, left). file photo | nmg
From left: Bitcoin startup entrepreneur Wences Casares, Chandaria Industries Group CEO Darshan Chandaria and Britam CEO Benson Wairegi toast to the Sh4.8 billion investment by venture capital firm Endeavor Catalyst in local digital payments provider Cellulant in Nairobi recently. The ceremony was also attended by CBA Group MD Isaac Awuondo (background, left). file photo | nmg 

A top bitcoin startup entrepreneur is scouting for investment opportunities in Kenyan technology firms with a long-term view on business.

Wences Casares, who runs a firm, allows people to purchase bitcoins and manage them in a digital wallet, said he was keen on injecting cash for equity in viable technology firms in the country.

He is the founder and chief executive of Hong Kong-based Xapo, a four-year old firm that also enables investors to spend their digital cash (bitcoins) via a debit card.

“My biggest regret is that I have sold startups for billions of dollars. Yes, I got the money but no satisfaction because ultimate satisfaction comes from starting a company and building it to realise the vision for which it was started,” he said in Nairobi. “Starting a company and selling it is like giving birth to babies in the hope of selling them in future, which is not good.”

The 44-year old Argentina-born techpreneur has made a fortune from starting firms and selling them. They include Internet Argentina, the first online internet provider in that country, which he sold three years after he founded it in 1994 and online brokerage Patagon.

Mr Casares was in Nairobi to celebrate the Sh4.8 billion joint investment in Kenyan-owned digital payments firm Cellulant earlier in the month by US firms Endeavor Catalyst and Rise Fund.

He’s a global board member of Endeavor Catalyst, a growth equity firm which seeks to buy up to 10 per cent stake in start-ups.

“We are also proud to have played a critical supportive role in this transaction by enabling Cellulant to connect with thought leaders in the payments space and leverage our investor connections to support the company’s fundraising,” Endeavor Kenya chairman, also  Britam Group chief executive, Benson Wairegi said in a statement.

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