True to our mission of transforming lives, we seek to identify, grow, and scale commercially viable businesses that are also creating societal change.
In line with this purpose, we strongly believe that there are innovators who are determined to address challenges that exist in their communities by finding locally relevant solutions that work for them. We would like to give them a platform to enhance and scale across Kenya and beyond.
Therefore, we launched the Safaricom Spark Venture Fund to invest and support late-seed, early-growth stage companies with a presence in Kenya, whilst leveraging Safaricom assets to enable the companies to scale.
We believe in taking bold risks and charting new paths that will drive and build Kenya’s innovation ecosystem, acting as a catalyst for other stakeholders to contribute towards the same.
In 2014, Safaricom started the first Corporate Venture Fund in East Africa – the Spark Venture Fund. This was a USD 1 million fund that supported the successful development and growth of high potential mobile tech startups in Kenya through a combination of investment, business development support, and technical assistance leveraging on Safaricom’s unique capabilities, assets, and market positioning. The amount was subsequently fully invested into 6 mobile technology startups in Kenya: Sendy, Lynk, Ajua, Eneza, iProcure and Farmdrive.
In 2020, Safaricom allocated an additional $5 million to the fund to invest up to $500, 000 into tech-enabled start-ups that are strategically aligned with Safaricom’s purpose.
The new allocation will go a long way in supporting the successful development and growth of high potential tech start-ups in Kenya. The fund will support startups through a combination of investment, business development support and technical assistance leveraging on Safaricom’s unique capabilities, assets and market positioning.
We are keen to support tech companies that align with Safaricom’s long term corporate vision in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture. Startups in other categories of strategic importance and being complementary to Safaricom’s offering will also be considered.
The startups will be identified and selected by a fund manager (S&B ventures) and upon completion of the due-diligence process be presented to the Investment Committee and Board of Trustees for funding consideration.
Following investment approval, the funds will be disbursed, where Safaricom will appoint an internal deal team to provide post-investment support
The Safaricom Spark Fund Objective
Grow a portfolio of strategically-aligned tech-enabled start-ups for deeper commercial partnership and/or acquisition by Safaricom whilst Transforming Lives.
The fund will be made available to tech-enabled startups as an enabler in the below verticals;
From time to time start-ups in other categories of strategic importance and being complementary to Safaricom’s purpose will also be considered.
Investees will have the following characteristics;
- Kenyan presence
- A Core diverse skilled team
- Refined Working mobile-based product/service
- A commercially viable business model
- Active user base
- Generating revenues
- Partnership with Safaricom signed or being discussed
- Raising equity or quasi-equity
- Application process
The Fund Manager is S&B Ventures, based in Kenya, who will source deals, perform due diligence and recommend the investments.