The Young Kenyan Innovators And Entrepreneurs Who Have Raked In Billions In Funding

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The Young Kenyan Innovators And Entrepreneurs Who Have Raked In Billions In Funding
From left: Eric Muli, Hildah Moraa, and Kiko Muuo. |Photos| Courtesy|

Kenyan startups raised nearly $1 billion (approx. Ksh120 billion) in the first half of 2022 according to a report by TechCrunch. Available data indicates that of the big four countries (Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa) that receive the second most funding in terms of venture capital in Africa, Kenya has received the most funding so far this year.

However, Kenya has recorded the highest growth in the increase of venture capital. According to the Big Deal data base, Kenya had signed over 76 deals in the first quarter of the year worth $820 million (Ksh99 billion), a 422 per cent growth in funding compared to the same period last year.

The growth in Kenya’s venture capital funding was bouyed by mega deals which equaled to or exceeded $100 million (Ksh1.2 billion).

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In this article, WoK profiles some of the young Kenyan innovators and entrepreneurs who have raked in billions in funding from venture capitalists.

Hildah Moraa

Hildah is the founder and CEO of Pezesha, a fintech company that provides a platform where traditional and traditional institutions can offer financial services to MSMEs. So far, the company has embedded 30 partners, registered over 200,000 SMEs, and enabled the disbursement of 100,000 loans.

“The opportunity and impact in solving working capital problems for SMEs is huge. [We are] solving the root cause, which is information asymmetry issues, to ensure quality and responsible borrowing. Pezesha solves this through our robust API-driven credit scoring technology,” Moraa told TechCrunch.

The Young Kenyan Innovators And Entrepreneurs Who Have Raked In Billions In Funding
Hildah Moraa/ Pezesha

According to CrunchBase, the fintech has raised $12.7 million (Ksh1.5 billion) since it was founded in 2017.

Hilda, an award-winning innovator and author, boasts over 10 years of experience in Fintech, Regulation, developing innovations, entrepreneurship and working with multinationals such as Coca-Cola to develop mobility innovations for Africa.

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She previously founded WezaTele, a Fintech startup in Kenya that was acquired in 2015. Hilda is a member to Board of Directors at Konza City- The Silicon Savannah.

Hilda holds a Business Information Technology Degree from Strathmore University. In 2015 she was also featured as one of the top 40 under 40 women and Quartz Africa as top 30 innovators in Africa in 2018.

She was also a keynote speaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015. And in 2019, she was among the few selected to be part of the Obama Leaders Program. Hilda is also celebrated across Africa as one of the 50, Africa’s most promising innovators by Global Shakers because of the impactful work she leads at Pezesha.

Eric Muli

Muli is the co-founder and CEO of Lipa Later, a Kenyan startup with operations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, and Nigeria.  It has also served more than 200,000 customers and delivered a yearly growth rate of about 100 percent.

The startup received a funding of $12 million (Ksh1.35 billion) in January 2022. Cauris Finance, Lateral Frontiers VC, GreenHouse Capital, SOSV IV LLC, Sayani Investments and Axian Financial Services participated in the equity and debt funding.

Kenyans In Their 30s Who Run Successful Businesses
Eric Muli / Lipa Later

The young CEO noted that the funds would be used to expand the company’s market share in the countries they already operate in.

“We are excited to be working with our investors as we look to grow and expand to more markets in Africa. In the next 12 months, we are looking to grow and double our presence in the existing markets, even as we open in three to five new markets in Africa,” stated Muli.

The company has partnered with over 500 retailers from the countries they operate in. Their platform allows subscribers to shop and pay back the money in instalments. It then charges a monthly interest rate that in most cases hovers around 2.3 per cent.

Muli is also the founder of Alpha Force Security Ltd –

He attended Strathmore University between 2006 and 2009. He then proceeded to Babson University from he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance and Economics in 2014.

Kiko Muuo

He is the founder and CEO of Angaza Elimu – a edtech company. It utilises artificial intelligence to teach. With over 35 thousand students active on the e-learning platform on a daily basis, Angaza Elimu is teaching what students need to learn.

Kenyans In Their 30s Who Run Successful Businesses
Kiko Muuo / Courtesy

Kiko Muuo founded Angaza Elimu in 2017 and it now employs between eleven and fifty people. The headquarters are located in Nairobi, Nairobi Area, Kenya. The company has completed two funding rounds, raising a total of $100,000 (Ksh11.2 million) funding with two investors.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Telecommunication Engineering from Moi University.

“During university, my dream was always to be a social entrepreneur to solve the challenges in the education ecosystem. I founded Angaza Elimu as an inspiration on my personal education journey. Having gone through the same education system I have a clear understanding of the first-hand challenges that exist for young Kenyans and am committed to address the challenges by implementing innovative ways of learning and teaching,” Muuo says on his LinkedIn profile.

Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti

These two Kenyan entrepreneurs co-founded Market Force in 2018. The Nairobi-based company is a B2B platform for retail distribution of consumer goods and digital financial services in Africa.

In February, the company landed funding of Ksh4.5 billion (US$40 million) to scale up their company.

Kenyans In Their 30s Who Run Successful Businesses
Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti, / Courtesy

In a statement on February 22, Mbaabu announced that the funds were raised in their Series A funding exercise to scale their operations. He added that the company was also looking to introduce credit services.

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter at Marketforce. We just closed a Ksh4.5 billion ($40 million) Series A funding round led by V8 Capital Ventures and are one step closer to achieving our goal of being the largest B2B commerce & fintech marketplace in Africa.

“We are extremely humbled by the support that we’ve received throughout our journey and very grateful to our community of customers, partners and investors, for believing in our team and mission,” stated Mbaabu.

The startup enables informal merchants to source goods directly from manufacturers and distributors as well as placing and paying for orders digitally through its RejaReja app.

Cathy Chepkemboi

She is the founder and CEO of Tushop – a fast-moving consumer goods startup. Founded in 2021, the company’s platform enables customers to buy groceries online at more affordable prices compared to supermarkets, local retailers and ‘mama mbogas’.

Tushop uses community leaders who collect orders from their neighbours and handle door-to-door deliveries, with an added free delivery perk.

In early April, Tushop raised $3 million (Ksh345 million) in a pre-seed round. The round was led by 4DX Ventures and saw the participation of JAM Fund, Breyer Capital, Chandaria Capital, TO Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, FirstCheck Africa, and DFS Lab, among others.

The Young Kenyan Innovators And Entrepreneurs Who Have Raked In Billions In Funding

Mark Mwangi

He is the co-founder and CEO of Amitruck, a tech-enabled logistics company. It links shippers with transporters operating trucks, vans, tuk-tuks, pick-ups and motorbikes, allowing them to negotiate the transport charges and do away with the middleman.

The platform also enables clients to customize options in the services offered, such as off-loading costs, and all goods transported are insured.

Tech-enabled logistics start-up Amitruck secured $4 million (Ksh454 million) seed funding in February 2022 from a round led by California-based Better Tomorrow Ventures.

Dynamo Ventures, Rackhouse Venture Capital, Flexport Inc, Knuru Capital, Launch Africa Ventures, and Uncovered Fund also participated in the funding.

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