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 Kenya’s vision 2030 and National ICT Masterplan 2017.’
“We 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.”
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, “It 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 – ‘Do More Faster’. We hope to make Africa proud”.
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.
“Kenya recognises the economic and social benefit of innovation and entrepreneurship. I hope Bamba Groupwill inspire many more start-ups to get recognised globally,” says Joe Mucheru , Kenya’s Minister for Information, Communications and Technology (ICT).
Bamba Group participates in the Presidential Digi-talent Programme (PDTP), a public–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.