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Kenyan startup Purple Elephant Ventures secured $1 M Pre-seed funding

A group of well-known international investors has closed a pre-seed round of US $1 million for Nairobi-based Purple Elephant Ventures (PEV), a venture studio that focuses on the tourism industry, to support the launch of startups that will help the continent of Africa’s tourism industry move toward a more sustainable future.

PEV was founded by CEO Ben Peterson, formerly a senior partner at AHL Venture Partners, along with Mikul Shah, the creator of EatOut Africa and a serial entrepreneur, and Jan Van der de Willebois, a former investment banker at Dyer & Blair. PEV seeks to launch three to four businesses year.

PEV businesses often provide scalable, tech-first solutions that accelerate critical efforts to make Africa’s tourist sector more resilient and sustainable in the face of climate change. The objective is to steer the industry towards a greener future.

PEV has established two businesses thus far. The first is Elephant Bookings, a SaaS company that assists African hospitality companies in being more effective by going online, and the second is Nomad Africa, a content-to-commerce company that teaches Africa’s domestic tourist industry about sustainable and local travel experiences.

“We’re sitting on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to modernise a major continental industry while driving real climate-action victories,” said Peterson.

“Tourism is a significant driver of Africa’s economy, but sadly there have been only a small handful of startups that have tried to modernise the largely offline industry. We decided that the industry could benefit from dozens of startups each addressing different major challenges – so we built PEV.”

Fede Pirzio-Biroli, the founder of Playfair Capital, Ian McCaig, the former CEO of and a board member of M-Kopa, Anthony Rock, the president of Rock Impact Capital, The Untours Foundation, Rich Hoops, executive director at Impact Capital, Jim Villanueva, managing director of Global Partnerships Social Venture Fund, and Helena Riese Harstad are among the investors in PEV’s US $1 million pre-s




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