Kenyan telco giant, Safaricom, has announced the second edition of its Spark Venture Fund, which was established to support late-seed and early growth stage companies in Kenya.
In this second edition, Safaricom has pumped in 5 million dollars, increasing the fund from 1 to 6 million dollars.
Safaricom launched Spark Venture Fund in 2014 in a bid to “grow a portfolio of strategically-aligned tech-enabled start-ups for deeper commercial partnership and/or acquisition by Safaricom whilst transforming lives.”
Some of the startups that received the initial $1 million investment are: Sendy, Ajua, Eneza, Lynk, Farmdrive and iProcedure.
In the second edition, tech-enabled startups that are strategically aligned with the telco’s vision could receive up to US$500,000.
Safaricom will, however, on occasion, consider other promising startups in other categories that are of strategic importance and being complementary to Safaricom’s purpose.
Selected startups are set to benefit in more ways than funding. The Fund will support them through a combination of investment, business development support and technical assistance leveraging on Safaricom’s unique capabilities, assets and market positioning.
Safaricom said in a statement, “We are keen to support tech companies that align with Safaricom’s long term corporate vision in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture. Start-ups in other categories of strategic importance and being complementary to Safaricom’s offering will also be considered.”
S&B Ventures, the fund manager, will select start-ups upon completion of the necessary due diligent processes presented to the Investment Committee and Board of Trustees for funding consideration.
Following investment approval, the funds will be disbursed to the startups,. Safaricom will then appoint an internal deal team to provide post-investment support.
Some of the traits the investees are expected to have are:
- An active Kenyan presence
- A Core diverse skilled team
- Refined Working mobile-based product/service
- A commercially viable business model
- Active user base
- Generating revenues
- Partnership with Safaricom signed or being discussed
- Raising equity or quasi-equity