US accelerator TechStars invests in Kenya’s Bamba Group

US accelerator TechStars have selected Kenya’s Bamba Group as its First Company from East Africa to invest in, boosting investor confidence in the region.  TechStars believes that Bamba Group could be the next AirBnB or Dropbox within the next five years.

Bamba Group, a Nairobi-based business founded 3 years ago, 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 your phone when you submit data in as many as 122 countries.

Bamba Group is a cloud-based system used by major not-for-profit and for-profit companies in Kenya including Aga Khan Foundation, Nairobi Airport Services, and Diamond Trust Bank.

The experts will put Bamba through intensive training in Austin, Texas, and give them a cash investment to fast-track their growth.

Bamba Group CEO, Al Ismaili was thrilled that his company is among the 2 percent of the applicants who are accepted into the programme. He said

“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”.

Mr. Ismaili along with two other co-founders Faiz Hirani and Shehzad Tejani will attend a 13-week acceleration programme for hands-on mentorship and gain access to the TechStars Network, which includes more than 5000 people including founders, alumni, and global mentors.

Following the initial financial investment from TechStars, companies go on to raise an average of over $3million in capital after the programme.

Cabinet Secretary of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), Mr. Joe Mucheru, was emphatic

“I congratulate Bamba Group for this great opportunity and hope they will inspire many more start-ups to get recognised globally.”

Bamba has embedded itself as a staple in the Kenyan software scene. This is evident through its participation 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.

PDTP Advisory Council Chairman and Technology Partner at PwC, Muchemi Wambugu, understands what it takes to sit alongside these top firms from his days working in Silicon Valley for a tech giant IBM. He said

“Bamba Group has been a huge asset in our Advisory Council and by extension to our society. PDTP aims to build technology capacity for Government and enrich our already vibrant technology ecosystem. Bamba software was used to capture, monitor and evaluate the interactions between the programme mentors and interns. Al holds a seat on our council and his contributions have been tremendous. He and his firm are well deserving of their selection into one of the world’s top accelerators and we are proud of this young Kenyan firm.”

Cabinet Secretary Mucheru affirmed that Kenya recognizes the economic and social benefit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

TechStars investors have boosted more than 650 technology startups worldwide.


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