In April 2018, Kenya’s Africa’s Talking announced it had raised $8.6m Series A Investment from World Bank’s IFC to expand across Africa. Now the firm’s co-founder and CEO Samuel Gikandi has left the reigns of the firm to lead a new subsidiary dubbed AT Labs.
Samuel will be in charge of a new arm, dubbed Africa’s Talking Labs or AT Labs, while a new CEO will take the reign at the firm he founded. AT Labs is set to equip more people with skills involved in creating profitable businesses with as little hurdles as possible. AT Labs will help startups in growing to fully-fledged businesses across Africa.
AT Labs works on validating startup ideas and helping them grow to fully-fledged businesses easily by providing mentorship, infrastructure and work space. AT Labs and AT will be run under Africa’s Talking Group which will be run by Africa’s Talking Group which aims to create a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem for Africa through equipping developers and businesses with what they need to be successful.
ATG will house two companies, Africa’s Talking and Africa’s Talking Labs (AT Labs), that will lower the barriers for access to communications, payments and cloud infrastructure to software developers and businesses across Africa as well as provide an environment where it can co-create value with partners within its network and accelerate the path to market for technology startups.
The communication-platform-as-a-service (“cPAAS”) API startup saw IFC’s Wale Ayeni join its board to help drive the firm’s pan-African expansion.
Other investors who participated in the round include global venture capital funds Orange Digital Ventures and Social Capital. before the IFC raise, Africa’s Talking had expanded to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Nigeria and it turned to IFC for the much needed capital to create a pan-African platform that enables developers across the continent to create, grow, and sustain strong businesses using their communication solutions.
During the raise, Samuel Gikandi, CEO and Co-Founder of Africa’s Talking said:“Leveraging on IFC’s breadth of experience in Africa we will work together to catalyze our expansion and build innovative products. Together, we believe that we can build the foundation and environment that developers need to build successful African businesses.”
Africa’s Talking is cloud-based software platform which virtualizes telco infrastructure across the continent, and provides unified access via its API (application programming interface) to a robust and growing community of more than 20,000 software developers in Africa currently serving over 1,000 fast-growing digital companies, enabling them to create real world applications faster and more efficiently.
Africa’s Talking’s scalable platform enables it to service both the one-man shop as well as larger enterprises — developers, startups, large companies — to embed messaging, voice, and video communications into their apps, allowing them to better connect with their mass market customers. From SMS services that help farmers improve crop yields to voice APIs that connect women to nearby family planning clinics, Africa’s Talking’s simple APIs enable businesses to build robust and value-additive digital products.
According to Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for sub Saharan Africa,“Africa’s Talking’s platform democratizes access to critical digital infrastructure that African start-ups and businesses need to scale.”
Nikunj Jinsi, IFC Global Head for Venture Capital, said IFC’s investment will help Africa’s Talking expand its integrated solution to new markets across Africa, filling a crucial gap and helping fuel the digital economy across the continent.
TechMoran will get more details about this transition.