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Safaricom, M-Pesa Spark Accelerator selected nine Kenyan startups

The Spark Accelerator program, a joint venture between Safaricom, M-Pesa Africa, and Sumitomo Corporation, aims to develop and expand commercially viable businesses that are bringing about positive social change. Nine early-stage Kenyan startups have been chosen to participate in this program.

In order to invest in and support late-seed and early-growth companies based in Kenya, Safaricom first established the Spark Venture Fund in 2014. The fund was designed to leverage Safaricom’s resources to help the companies grow. Six investments were made with the $1 million US fund.

The mobile operator opened applications for a second edition in January, as reported by the media. Sumitomo Corporation is a prominent Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company. The mobile operator also partnered with M-Pesa Africa. To ignite the growth and scale of ventures entering the accelerator and position them for long-term success, the three-month accelerator program will offer a combination of training, mentorship, funding, and go-to-market support.

Nine startups from Kenya have been chosen to participate, Chumz being one of them. Chumz uses gamification, mobile money, and behavioral psychology to create a community of savers; Faidi HR, an all-in-one cloud payroll and HR platform for businesses; Churpy, which aims to automate repetitive and manual tasks in the CFO’s office; Nobuk, which streamlines payment collection and reconciliation for African groups and collectives; and Chpter, which enables businesses to sell more on social platforms.

HealthX Africa is a data-driven primary health care provider that offers hybrid digital and physical touchpoints; BlackRhino VR allows creators and brands to tell immersive and interactive stories; and VunaPay is a platform for agricultural cooperatives that facilitates instant payment to smallholder farmers for delivered produce. These companies round out the cohort. Twiva is a social-commerce platform that helps brands to effectively gain access to markets by leveraging social media influencers to market their goods and services.

“Leveraging technology to drive meaningful innovation is a strong premise under which the Spark Accelerator programme was founded. By supporting and investing in these tech-enabled startups, we aim to drive significant societal change and economic growth. We are excited to work with visionary founders who represent the promise of tomorrow and to see the impact they will create in their respective sectors,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom.

 

 

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