Startup_Kenya
Image source:iHub.co.ke

A Strathmore University student recently launched Startup Kenya, a crowdmap of Kenyan startups in a move he says will showcase the Kenyan tech ecosystem to the world.

The undergraduate student, Roger Gichuhi, says the platform will reduce the lack of networking among busy startup founders and seasoned entrepreneurs and those not directly in touch with what’s happening in the country’s tech space.

Signing Up Users

With only nine startups and two accelerators mapped on day one Gichuhi says work has just began.
He says, “We’d like to crowdmap more startups  incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces and investors in Kenya.”

To him the map will help new investors in the country and new  to Silicon Savannah easily find opportunities and follow what they are doing. It will also help them join the tech community easily as they will know which startups are where in Kenya and what they are doing.

The platform provides an opportunity for networking which may lead to endless opportunities,collaboration and peer advice among tech startup founders and is also an opportunity for them to know what is happening and get involved.

Map Silicon Savannah

Gichuhi says, “We have a couple of startups solving real world problems, the platform will put them on the map so that the overall public can see what they’re doing and use their services. A number of startups have job openings and internship opportunities, this too would be a great way to bridge the unemployment/skill gap in the country.”

The former Afrinnovator  intern says his interest in startups was propelled during his days at the web innovation and entrepreneurship publication. He says under the supervision of Mark Kaigwa, a partner at Afrinnovator, he saw the connectedness startups have to one’s everyday life and has since decided to popularise them.

Entrepreneur Apprenticeship

Though inspired by the Netherlands Startup Map , his crowdmapping is still in line with his former employers earlier tagline,putting Africa on the map.

A  map to be mostly utilised by techies, one would expect iframes and programming codes for users to sign up. However, Gichuhi says,interested users simply fill in a form, submit it to him, and if approved, their startups would be on the map within 24hrs. Users need not to fumble with the sign up procedure.

There is also a module, to allow startups list jobs or internship opportunities on the crowdmap. Startups can also embed the map on their websites. And being in the Silicon Savannah Gichuhi knows where his catch from flows in.

Business Model

According to him, firms will be able to promote their professional services to the community of startup founders, accelerators and investors on the map. PR and Marketing firms, Copyright law firms, accounting firms and anyone who wants to reach the members mapped and its visitors.

How long it will take him to monetise is up to his efforts and strategy but he seems to have honed his business skills early enough.
He says, “Eventually we’ll roll out the service provider module that will keep the platform running and meet its costs”

Get The Word Out

Now working at  Buni TV , a Kenyan based web and mobile pan-African video distribution startup, Gichuhi says his main challenge is to get the word out. He also hopes that startups,  investors and those interested in the Kenyan startup ecosystem  will take advantage of the platform. His dream is to have all or at least a majority of startups in the country sign up.

To him this an opportunity for founders to expose their startups, meet their peers and even find mentors or some to mentor.

Startup Kenya is similar to Los Angeles Represent.La, which also showcases startups in Los Angeles, California.

Build in Kenya, For The World

One such technology build in Kenya for the world, Ushahidi, a crowd mapping tool is now used by developers from across the world. Ushahidi was co-founded by Eric Hersman, Juliana Rotich, Orry Okolloy, Daudi Were and David Kobia among others and has been used to build  Zambia based Asikana Network mapping Women in Tech in Africa, Umati,a Kenyan hate speech monitoring platform and Zambia’s Bongohive crowdmapping  Africa’s technology hubs. The Ushahidi platform was recently  used to create kenya’s CarPoolKE, which helped stranded pedestrian get lifts back home after a Matatu strike paralysed public transport..