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Home Startups Mawingu raises $9m to expand operations across Kenya & increase access to affordable internet

Mawingu raises $9m to expand operations across Kenya & increase access to affordable internet

by James Musoba
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Mawingu, a Kenyan based Internet service provider has successfully closed $9 million Series B investment to support its roll out infrastructure across Kenya that will increase access to affordable internet connectivity to underserved households and businesses.

The investment was led InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG). InfraCo Africa gave $6 million and was joined by Mawingu’s institutional investors E3 Capital and Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank FMO, contributing US$1.5 million each as part of this fundraise.

According to Mawingu’s Chief Executive Officer, Farouk Ramji: “Mawingu’s aim is not to simply drop an Internet cable at someone’s house. We seek to help our customers access new opportunities for work, education, entertainment, and social connections through the power of the internet. Our company’s mission is driven by this very purpose: Open Opportunities. Mawingu is positioning itself as a provider of quality Internet at affordable rates, with the capacity and desire to connect frontier regions that have never had access to meaningful internet.”

Currently, Mawingu operates in 15 counties and has more than 7,500 active customers. The new round of funding will enable the company to expand to an additional 25 counties in Kenya, focusing on rural markets. Earlier, the firm firm received a $4.1 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a U.S. Government’s development finance institution to provide last-mile connectivity access to areas that cannot economically access the internet.

Two years ago, it closed undisclosed funding from Energy Access Ventures (EAV) and The Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) to bridge the digital divide, foster development and creat opportunities for all.

Over the past year, Mawingu has proved that there is a demand for quality internet connectivity for commercial enterprises and homes outside of urban centers.  The company rebranded late last year with a refreshed look and company values reflecting the long-term impact Mawingu brings to its end users. Mawingu’s ambition is to connect 250,000 Kenyans over the next five years and its efforts have been noticed worldwide by Microsoft Vice Chairman and President Brad Smith during an interview with Bloomberg, where he acknowledged Mawingu’s contribution to the wider ambition of bringing internet access to 100 million Africans by targeting the underserved markets in Kenya.

InfraCo Africa Chief Investment Officer, Claire Jarratt, said: “Access to the internet is a key driver of economic development, and InfraCo Africa is pleased to be supporting Mawingu’s pioneering telecoms business in Kenya. As our first telecoms investment, Mawingu appealed to us as its services are designed to provide affordable internet access tailored to the needs of underserved rural customers.”

Two years ago, Nigeria’s InfraCredit, a credit guarantee firm raised $27M from InfraCo Africa to continue to increase private sector financing.

Bertrand Ketchassi, InfraCo Africa Investment Manager added “With the total addressable market of 12 million homes, we believe this is the right investment at a key stage of the sectors’ growth.”

Mawingu will begin its expansion plans in February 2023 and has set its eyes on western Kenya targeting Kisii, Migori, Bungoma, and Kakamega. This kick-off will set the pace for the year as more parts of the country will be connected monthly, moving forward.

Stadia Capital played an instrumental role acting as the transaction advisors for the raise and Bowmans Kenya acted as the legal advisors.

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