Fund eyes local tech start-ups with Sh22bn – Business Daily

Funding of Kenyan start-ups by international investors declined by Sh15 billion last year. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A group of 30 technology entrepreneurs with links to Silicon Valley have raised $200 million (about Sh22 billion) for investing in promising tech start-ups in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa.
The new Africa-focused fund backed by Stockholm-based Norrsken fund will target to provide early-stage funding to promising start-ups and founders in Kenya and the region, the Swedish fund said in a statement on Monday.
It did not immediately however clarify how much of the war chest will be channelled into Kenya.
“Africa has a population of 1.2 billion, where 60 percent are below 25 years old. In the next decade, this young, digital-first generation will change not only the future of Africa but of the world”, said Niklas Adalberth, founder of Norrsken Foundation in a statement.
The funding came from various investors including Niklas Zennström founder of Microsoft’s Skype video calling system, Olugbenga Agboola, co-founder of Africa-focused payments company Flutterwave and Jacob de Geer co-founder of Swedish financial technology startup iZettle.
Other investors involved were Niklas Östberg, co-founder of German food delivery group Delivery Hero, Carl Manneh, co-founder of Stockholm-based wildly popular Minecraft video game Mojang and Willard Ahdritz, founder of music company Kobalt.
Analysts say innovations and a ready pool of users have turned Kenya into a centre of innovation, attracting major players in the world of US venture capital, some with investments in top-tier investment firms in Silicon Valley.
Sweden where the Norrsken fund is based has also seen its capital Stockholm emerge as a rich hub for startups, birthing and incubating the likes of Skype, digital music-streaming services Spotify and Swedish payments firm Klarna.
“Eyes are turning towards Africa as the next epicentre for digital disruption. Technology is enabling emerging enterprises to leapfrog legacy ways of doing business. Leaders are emerging but a lack of growth capital is holding them back,” said Ngetha Waithaka, a general partner of the new fund dubbed Norrsken22 in a statement.
“Technology is already transforming economies across the African continent on a massive scale. Enabling a new generation of African founders is one of the greatest investment opportunities of our time,” added Niklas Zennström, Skype co-founder and member of the Norrsken22 unicorn board.

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By Kwetu Buzz

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