East Africa

Kenyan MNO Safaricom launches Spark Investment Fund 2nd edition, up to $6 m in size

Safaricom, Kenya ‘s leading mobile network operator (MNO), has announced the second edition of its Spark Investment Fund, which will invest a total of US$ 6 million in many creative Kenyan tech startups.

Safaricom first launched the Spark Venture Fund back in 2014 to invest and support companies with a presence in Kenya in the late seed, early growth stage, while leveraging Safaricom assets to allow companies to scale up.

A US$ 1 million fund, it has invested an total of US$ 175,000 in six Kenyan startups, namely Sendy, Lynk, Ajua, Eneza, iProcure and FarmDrive, and it has now announced a second fund. But the current Spark Investment Fund is a bigger beast at US$ 6 million, though Safaricom will spend larger sums as well. Recipients should expect to earn up to US$ 500,000 annually, and greater amounts on a case-by – case basis, in convertible notes or investment in equity.

“The new allocation will go a long way to help the sustainable production and growth of Kenya’s high-potential technology startups. The fund will support startups by integrating funding, business growth support, and technical assistance leveraging the unique resources , assets, and market positioning of Safaricom, “the firm said.

The Spark Venture Fund will concentrate on companies that fit with Safaricom’s long-term corporate vision in education , healthcare and agriculture, although it will also identify startups in other areas of strategic interest that complement Safaricom ‘s offering.

The startups will be identified and selected by the fund manager S&B Ventures and submitted to Safaricom ‘s Investment Committee and the Board of Trustees for funding consideration upon completion of a due diligence process. Funds will be disbursed after approval of the project, and Safaricom will select an internal deal team to provide support for the post-investment.