By Irene Gaitirira
Published February 12, 2016
Technology investors who have boosted more than 650 technology startups have selected a Kenyan company for support.
US accelerator TechStars will put Bamba Group, a web-based data collection tool, through intensive training and give them a cash investment to fast-track their growth towards becoming “the next AirBnB or Dropbox within the next five years.”
Bamba says it is ‘committed to bringing the Silicon Valley start-up culture into Kenya in order to brew innovation and attract top talent in line with Kenyaâ€™s vision 2030 and National ICT Masterplan 2017.’
â€œWe are very happy to select the first company from East Africa into the TechStars programme,” says Amos Schwartzfarb, TechStars Austin Managing Director. “Bamba Group is a testament to our globalized world where a startup from any corner of the planet can rise up, pursue their passion and make a lasting impact on the world.â€
Bamba Group, a Nairobi-based business, is said to have founded and developed a data collection software that can run in any country. It is the only company in the world that will send a mobile airtime payment directly to any phone whose user submits data in as many as 122 countries.
The cloud-based system is used by major companies in Kenya; they include Aga Khan Foundation, Nairobi Airport Services, and Diamond Trust Bank.
Al Ismaili, Bamba Group CEO, says, â€œIt is our employees that are most deserving of this selection. We now look forward to the next stage of our growth with a new saying around the office – something we now hear regularly from our new mentors at TechStars – â€˜Do More Fasterâ€™. We hope to make Africa proudâ€.
Ismaili, with co-founders Faiz Hirani and Shehzad Tejani are expected to attend a 13-week acceleration programme for hands-on mentorship and gain access to the TechStars Network. Following the initial financial investment from TechStars, companies go on to raise at least US$3million in capital after the programme.
â€œKenya recognises the economic and social benefit of innovation and entrepreneurship. I hope Bamba Groupwill inspire many more start-ups to get recognised globally,â€ says Joe Mucheru , Kenyaâ€™s Minister for Information, Communications and Technology (ICT).
Bamba Group participates in the Presidential Digi-talent Programme (PDTP), a publicâ€“private partnership run by the ICT Authority in Kenya and commissioned by the President of Kenya.
ICT graduates from Kenyan universities are selected for the one-year programme that includes world-class software training, soft-skills training, mentoring and guaranteed internships in both the public and private sector firms involved. Other organizations involved in this programme include Google, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Cisco and PwC.