There’s only one other better feeling for an entrepreneur apart from getting that early-stage investment to launch her business (*wink*). This is why these people who believe in ideas and fledgling businesses are called angels.
In Kenya, angels oft come in the form of parents, aunts and uncles. But there is another way. The way of formal finance. We both know it is difficult to get funding from this venue for a variety of reasons you don’t want me to get into right now. It’s enough that it’s Monday, don’t you think?
Savannah Fund is among those making life easy. They opt to finance startups from a particular sector but, hey, even if it’s not your sector there is a lesson or two from their story that could help you get a backer.
How they make life easy
Savannah Fund is a seed fund with roots in East Africa. They have now expanded their breadth to cover all of Sub-Saharan Africa but are still based in Nairobi. For a stake in your business, they offer between sh.2.5 million and sh.50 million.
Beside this funding, Savannah Fund also runs an accelerator program. With this, a cohort of 5 startups are exposed to high value and reputable mentors to help them make the jump to the big leagues.
The accelerator program comes with a small package, of money. If you make it into a cohort you would receive between sh. 2.5 and 3 million for 12% stake. This also comes with a small surcharge of sh.250,000 for the office space you get to make things happen.
Woah, who are these angels?
Savannah Fund is run by entrepreneurs and investors who are experienced enough to understand the African startup ecosystem. You do know we have our own way of doing things this side of the world. Okay, everyone has their own way, of doing things, but you get my negative stereotype drift.
Paul Bragiel is the General Partner of this fund. He has a host of achievements under his belt. Among them, he has founded 3 companies and operates an early-stage accelerator in San Francisco too. Another General Partner is Erik Hersman. Yeah, he is the guy behind iHub and Ushahidi.
Last but not least is, Tanzanian, Mbwana Ally. Yes, it was absolutely necessary for me to mention his nationality. He is the managing partner of Savannah Fund. He brings to the table tons of experience from different roles in Silicon Valley, UK and here in Africa. You can check out this cool article he wrote two years ago.
Savannah Fund’s funds are available to tech startups in Kenya and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. You can walk to their offices at Bishop Magua Centre (3rd floor) or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and solicit for business funds.
They have already financed more than a handful tech startups in Africa. FYI, more than a handful is definitely not a waste. Some of these startups are, obviously, Kenyan. I have shared with you a few that caught my eye:
Eneza Education uses mobile technology to school kids. You get lessons and quizzes through web, SMS and android platform.
Card Planet offers cross-platfrom cashless payment or loyalty solutions. They also give pro-bono advice to non-profits.
Djuaji are covering ground on one of the big opportunities presented to Kenyan entrepreneurs. Djuaji is survey-based research company.
Sendy offer last-mile logistics services to individuals and small businesses. Their package-delivery businesses is made possible by a fleet of motorcycles, pick-up trucks and vans.
The only better feeling than for an entrepreneur apart from getting that early-stage investment to launch her business is the feeling of that elusive IPO payday!0