Invested Development’s Miguel Granier completes acquisition of iHub, Gearbox via BSP Fund

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Invested Development’s Miguel Granier has completed the acquisition of iHub Limited and Gearbox via investment firm BSP Fund LLC as the space for techies starts a new life under new owners.

The deal was announced in March awaiting regulatory approval by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK). iHub announced the deal would give it the ability to add new service offerings to make more money, moving away from the community it was, almost six years since it was launched.

“First and foremost we recognize the need to make sure that we are 100% self-funded, which means running a productive and more efficient set of consulting services,” iHub co-founder and Director Erik Hersman said in a blog post.“However, we’ll likely need to reorganize the services to more efficiently work together. We will ramp up our software, user experience, research, data science and design consultancy offering and position iHub as a preferred global provider for these services.”

 With over 16,000 members, over 170 tech companies among members and 28 companies as incubatees,  iHub started as a community project to catalyze the growth of the Kenyan tech ecosystem but the founders quickly moved it to a private limited company just as Ushahidi.

“Today we’re excited to announce some fairly significant changes at the iHub. A group of people are investing in the iHub in order to help us grow, to tighten up our service offerings and make them more profitable, and to help us figure out how not to just find startups but to grow the ones that are getting traction,” said Hersman.

 Founded in 2010 by Ory Okolloh, Erik Hersman, Juliana Rotich and David Kobia, iHub has been iconic in leading Kenya’s tech sector by bringing the tech community together as well as producing global brands such as Ushahidi and BRCK. It’s other arms include m:lab incubator,  iHub Research, iHub Consulting and the UX Lab and recently GearBox.
However, all things turned sour with allegations that some of the key founders  were kicked out to register the firm as a private limited. Hersman owned 49.95 per cent stake while director Josiah Mugambi owned 49.95 per cent stake. The rest owned a minimal stake in the company.

 

“While we’ll continue our work with these companies, we’re also going to build up a set of services for the companies that are getting real traction, have revenue and which we can help grow faster. The next phase in the tech ecosystem is about building sustainable and profitable tech businesses that can scale regionally and globally. We strongly believe that iHub can play a key role in this phase,” Hersman added.

iHub’s next stage in life is not being ‘another’ incubator or co-working space as Nairobi has over 7 tech spaces today compared to zero when it started in 2010 but to build amazing brands for the world.

iHub has grown from a grants-supported (Omidyar Network, Google, and Hivos) organization to a 100% self-funded venture with iHub Research, iHub Consulting and the UX Lab covering around 70% of iHub’s operation costs and  the remaining 30% covered by its corporate partnerships and events. Other hubs in Nairobi and world over need to learn from this move.

Nairobi Garage recently moved to a bigger hub helping to meet the increasing demand for office spaces in Nairobi.