In 2014, telco Safaricom announced it was launching the Safaricom Spark Venture Fund, a $1 Million fund with an objective of allowing techpreneurs in Kenya access financing, mentorship and resources to scale their businesses. Eligible start-ups were set to receive amounts between $75,000 and $250,000. The fund was set-up for an initial two-year period and administered by international tech fund TBL Invest, as the principal fund managers.
In the first year (2015), 200 Kenyan start-ups submitted inquiries and applications with the selected startups giving a minority stake in exchange of the investment. Sendy, a logistics startup based in Nairobi that allows users to send, track and receive packages from within the App become the first beneficiary of the fund. Sendy did not however disclose the investment amount. In the recently released Safaricom Annual report, the telco announced it had invested in several startups key among them Sendy and M-Ledger. Also added to the list were Eneza and M-Ledger, which are the newest beneficiaries of the Safaricom Spark Fund.
mSurvey is a mobile data collection tool that collects information by SMS. So basically, businesses contact mSurvey to conduct surveys on customer success or even on products and services. It counts Safaricom, KCB, Harvard University and even McKinsey & Company as some of its clients.
Eneza on the other hand is a mobile platform that unites students, teachers and parents. Using Eneza, students can access quizzes, mini-lessons, access to textbook material and ask teachers questions, search Wikipedia via web, mobile web or a USSD/SMS-based system. It also displays reports to teachers and parents on students performance. The platform has 527,000 users with 469,000 primary, 86,000 high school users and 17,000 teachers. So far, over 1 million lessons have been taken, 10 million questions and 90,000 questions asked with users charged Kshs. 10 per week to use the service. According to our source, Eneza closed the Spark investment in June, as part of an investment round.