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Seven Kenyan tech startups are among the 20 digital startups that have secured Ksh. 150 million ($1.4m) from the World Bank business development program XL Africa.

XL Africa was launched back in April and is geared towards recruiting a cohort of 20 digital tech startups, with promising solutions, and put them through tailor-made training, mentorship program with local and global experts. The startups will also have access to a network of investors and platforms to increase their regional visibility.

The XL Africa has also partnered with other investment groups to aid startups attract early-stage capital investment of between $250,000 and $1.5 million. The startups from Kenya that bagged this prize are:

Asoko Insight: A data site

Lynk Jobs: A HR service portal

Ongair: An SMEs service website

Pesabazaar: A fintech news website

Sendy: A parcel delivery company

Snapplify: A publishing business

Sokowatch: A distribution channel

Overall the program has shortlisted just 20 startups from a list of applicants of over 900. Startups that got the highest considerations were those that are “specializing in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, healthcare, education, human resources, and B2B.” Preparations to have the chosen 20 go for their first training in Cape Town, South Africa is already in high gears.

Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group said, “We are pleased by the interest infoDev and XL Africa generated across the continent in just a few months. XL Africa attracted firms with high-growth potential; many have female co-founders, have already raised early-stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction.

The number and quality of application received are a clear testament to the competitiveness of African startups and the key role they play in Africa’s growing digital economy.”

Danai Musandu, an investment associate from the Goodwell Investments added, “We encountered very strong companies, particularly in the transportation, HR, and data analytics sectors. We also observed signals of a nascent pipeline of digital companies beyond the traditional hot spots of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.”

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