Tech

Disrupt Africa to launch deep-dive research publication on Kenyan startup ecosystem

Kenya report slide

Startup-focused news and research company Disrupt Africa will next month release its Kenyan Startup Ecosystem Report 2022, providing readers with a deep-dive into the country’s tech startup landscape.

Since launching its research arm in 2016, Disrupt Africa has built up a significant portfolio of publications, most notably the African Tech Startups Funding Report and Finnovating for Africa, available free for all via open-sourcing initiatives with various partners across the continent’s tech ecosystem.

The company is preparing to release the Kenyan Startup Ecosystem Report 2022, its fourth country-focused publication after the Egyptian Startup Ecosystem Report released late last year; the South African Startup Ecosystem Report, which came out in June; and the Nigerian Startup Ecosystem Report, released last month.

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To do so, it has teamed up with various partners, including Quona Capital, a venture firm focused on fintech that can expand access for underserved customers and small businesses in emerging markets; NEAR Kenya, a regional hub established through a collaboration between the NEAR Foundation and Sankore 2.0 to support and represent the African community building disruptive technology on NEAR Protocol; and MarketForce, a US and Kenya-based technology company that is building the operating system for retail distribution in Africa.

Additional partners are Newtown Partners, the family office of successful startup entrepreneurs Llew Claasen and Vinny Lingham; Enza Capital, a multi-stage venture firm backing founders and teams using technology to solve large and meaningful problems across Africa; Cellulant, a leading pan-African payments technology company that provides locally relevant and alternative payment methods for global, regional and local merchants; and AAIC Investment, a fund management firm which seeks to invest in fast growing companies within the healthcare sector in Africa.

The report will be a deep-dive into the Kenyan startup scene, utilising Disrupt Africa’s datasets, expertise and networks to document what startups are doing what in the country, who is making and receiving investments, and who is providing ecosystem support. It also includes the full list of startups tracked for the purposes of the report.

“Kenya has a well-established reputation as a pioneer in Africa’s tech space, as the home of the likes of M-Pesa, Ushahidi and the iHub, but its journey has been far from smooth. This report tells the story of the country’s startup ecosystem and its development since 2015,” said Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.

“It is core to our identity as a company that we offer entrepreneurs – both active and aspiring – access to pivotal information, resources and opportunities with which to take their businesses to scale. The democratisation of data, and the release of detailed industry reports free of charge, is central to that, and with that in mind we hugely appreciate the assistance of all our partners, who are doing their bit to ensure this report reaches as many people as possible,” said Tom Jackson, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.

“As a venture capital firm firmly invested in the success of African startups, Quona is pleased to support Disrupt Africa’s endeavour to make this informative report freely available to the broader ecosystem,” said Kofoworola Agbaje, senior investment associate at Quona Capital. “Kenya’s fintech startup scene has created some phenomenal innovations already, and we’re delighted to see more investment flow into the region.”

“NEAR Kenya is delighted to partner Disrupt Africa to help shine a light on the exciting Kenyan startup space, and its developing blockchain ecosystem in particular. We are sure the Kenyan Startup Ecosystem Report will provide vital insights to anyone considering launching or investing in a tech startup in the country,” said Kevin Imani, CEO of NEAR Kenya.

“MarketForce is delighted to partner with Disrupt Africa on this deep-dive into the Kenyan startup ecosystem. Kenya is the heart of the Silicon Savannah, with the third fastest-growing annual GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa and the largest economy in East and Central Africa. At MarketForce, we are proud to call Kenya home and look forward to sharing our experience as operators in the Kenyan e-commerce and retail distribution scene. I hope that the lessons we have gathered so far will provide useful insights to anyone looking to get involved,” said Tesh Mbaabu, CEO of MarketForce.

“Kenya is the leading hub for technology startups in Eastern Africa and holds exciting opportunities for the future. As an active investor in Kenya, we are eager to see the advancement of the Kenyan tech ecosystem through knowledge-sharing and collaboration between local and international players. We are therefore delighted to support this initiative by Disrupt Africa to make this ecosystem report freely available to all stakeholders,” said Newtown Partners managing partner Llew Claasen.

“As a pan-African investor, Enza Capital is acutely aware of the key role each ecosystem plays in the broader development of the continent. Given our Nairobi headquarters, we are pleased to support this report and its efforts to highlight the great work being done here. We continue to support portfolio companies from across the continent to expand here and work with our companies to grow into new markets in the East African region and across Africa,” said Mike Mompi, CEO of Enza Capital.

Kenya’s growing economy is home to the most resilient and innovative startups in Africa. These startups, solving problems common to Africa as they are in Kenya, cannot scale if making and receiving payments is an arduous task. Here at Cellulant, our payment rails enable global and local businesses to accept and make payments easily paving the way for their growth. Anchored by our mission of accelerating economic growth for all of Africa, we’re proud to partner with Disrupt Africa in this insightful report that shines a light on Kenya’s pioneering ecosystem,” said Akshay Grover, Group CEO at Cellulant. 

“We are happy to partner with Disrupt Africa because of their independent journalism which is characterised by integrity and consistency. Their contribution to the startup ecosystem in Africa has been invaluable and we are happy to be aligned with such a company which gives back to the ecosystem,” said Hiroki Ishida, director of AAIC Partners Africa Limited.

The Kenyan Startup Ecosystem Report 2022 will be available to all for free, making the data and analysis contained in its pages accessible to those for whom the information is most valuable – entrepreneurs.

The publication, which will be the 19th released by Disrupt Research, will be approximately 60 pages in length and provide a detailed overview of the Nigerian startup ecosystem and its development over the last 5-10 years. It will involve analysis as to what areas startups are active in, a detailed look at funding and M&A trends, and detail the range of startup support services available to Nigerian entrepreneurs, including hubs, incubators, accelerators, and government, corporate and university initiatives.

About Disrupt Africa

Disrupt Africa is the one-stop-shop for all news, information and commentary pertaining to the continent’s tech startup – and investment – ecosystem. With journalists roaming the continent to find, meet, and interview the most innovative and disruptive tech startups, Disrupt Africa is a true showcase of Africa’s most promising businesses and business ideas. Its research arm releases in-depth reports on various aspects of the African tech startup ecosystem. Details here.

About Quona Capital

Quona Capital is a venture firm focused on fintech that can expand access for underserved customers and small businesses in emerging markets including Africa and the Middle East (MENA), Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia. Its Africa and MENA portfolio includes Yoco, Wasoko, Lulalend, Cowrywise, Khazna, Verto, Capiter and more. Quona’s global partners are experienced investors and operators in both emerging and developed markets, and invest in entrepreneurs whose companies have the potential to provide outstanding financial returns and promote breakthrough innovation in financial inclusion for both consumers and SMEs. Quona got its start through a strategic relationship with Accion, a global non-profit with a legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. More at quona.com.

About NEAR Kenya

NEAR Kenya is a Regional Hub representing NEAR Protocol in Africa. The Hub was established through a collaboration between the NEAR Foundation and Sankore 2.0. – a regional blockchain ecosystem catalyst based in Nairobi, Kenya – to support and represent the African community building disruptive technology on NEAR Protocol. NEAR Kenya offers funding and business support for blockchain project developers building solutions for Africa. Learn more about NEAR Kenya by visiting their website, Twitter or Telegram group.

About MarketForce

MarketForce is a US and Kenya-based technology company, building the operating system for retail distribution in Africa. MarketForce provides an all-inclusive B2B Commerce and Fintech platform (dubbed “RejaReja” – Swahili for ‘retail’) that empowers neighbourhood merchants in Africa to source, order and pay for inventory digitally and conveniently, access financing, collect digital payments and make extra money by reselling digital financial services such as airtime, electricity tokens and bill payments. Launched in 2018, MarketForce is a fast-growing YC-backed company currently operational in 5 markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 200,000 merchants and 100 consumer brands trading on the platform. 

About Newtown Partners

Newtown Partners (newtownpartners.com) is the family office of successful startup entrepreneurs, Llew Claasen and Vinny Lingham. It invests across a range of alternative and traditional asset classes, especially early-stage venture capital to back startups utilising emerging technologies and disruptive business models. Since 2019, it has worked with pan-African and European logistics player, Imperial (a DP World company) to enable their corporate venture capital programme. Newtown Partners operates out of offices in San Diego, U.S. and Cape Town, South Africa.

About Enza Capital

Enza Capital is a multi-stage venture firm backing founders and teams using technology to solve large and meaningful problems across Africa. Enza invests in and partners with category-defining technology companies building in the fintech, logistics, health, human capital, and climate smart sectors. 

About Cellulant

Cellulant is a leading pan-African payments technology company that provides locally relevant and alternative payment methods for global, regional and local merchants. We provide a single API payments platform – Tingg – that enables businesses to collect payments online and offline while allowing anyone to pay from their mobile money, local and international cards or directly from their bank. Today, Cellulant has an office presence in 18 African countries and its payments platform connects thousands of businesses with over 300 payment options across 35 countries. The platform powers payments for over 220M consumers on a single inclusive network allowing for interoperability across Africa.

About AAIC Investment

AAIC Investment is a fund management firm which seeks to invest in fast growing companies within the Healthcare sector in Africa. The focus will be to provide growth capital as well as long term value to assist companies in improving their performance and expansion. We have the honour of managing 2 funds: Africa Healthcare Master Fund (AHF1) and Africa Innovation and Healthcare Fund (AHF2). AHF1 was established in 2017, and since then we have managed to invest in more than 30 startups across Africa. The main aim is to improve the livelihoods of the people of Africa and sub-regional countries such as MENA, by strategically targeting healthcare and other innovative companies that are actively working to improve the health outcomes of African people in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have offices in Nairobi (Kenya), and Lagos (Nigeria), with our head office located in Singapore.