Bamba, an African data collection startup has raised US$1.1 million (Kes. 110 million) seed round from a global investor base that spans Silicon Valley, New York, Washington DC, Austin, London and many regions throughout Africa.
Bamba will use the $1.1 million towards developing new innovative data collection solutions, supporting a larger number of clients, and expanding its team and geographical reach.
“Since then, we’ve further expanded to employ 21 full-time staff, along with numerous other field consultants around the world. It’s incredible; we’ve established a global reach, spanning Canada, US, UK, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Nigeria. This is in large part thanks to ongoing support from our investors,” says Al Ismaili, co-founder and CEO.
Bamba is a boutique data collection agency that specializes in innovative solutions for rapidly gathering cost-effective and high-quality consumer insights from emerging markets that can be otherwise challenging to reach. One such solution is Bamba’s unique tool that allows the building of highly targeted and responsive panels for data collection.
Clients hail from a diverse array of sectors, including market research consulting, private equity, agriculture, education, health, finance, government agencies, NGOs and private companies. The versatility and effectiveness of Bamba’s offerings have resulted in numerous high-profile clients, such as Kantar, the Aga Khan Foundation, and IPSOS.
Bamba was co-founded by Al Ismaili, CEO, Shehzad Tejani, COO and Faiz Hirani, CTO and has a core workforce of 7 full-time employees in 2015.
Bamba was recently accepted into the prestigious TechStars accelerator program in 2016, where they gained access to a well-established network that provided them with business development mentorship, customer acquisition, capital, talent recruitment, as well as a sizable initial financial investment as part of the accelerator program.
Bamba’s cutting-edge data collection software also attracted some attention from within Africa. In November 2016, Bamba was invited to participate in Lions’ Den, the Kenyan equivalent to popular TV programs Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank, where Bamba pitched to the show’s panel of 5 venture capitalists (also known as Lions). They successfully won over Darshan Chandaria, CEO and director of the Chandaria Industries Group, who invested US$250,000 (Kes. 25 million) to be used to expand Bamba’s operations throughout Africa.
Other investors have been attracted to Bamba’s unique combination of positive social impact and real functional value;
“We are very proud to be investors in Bamba,” says Brett Hurt, founder of BazaarVoice and Data.world. “Not only are [they] providing a very valuable analytics service, but they are also providing jobs in countries that really need them. This is one of those rare businesses that has a combination of a massive market opportunity and a real social impact. Their focus just couldn’t be better.”