Kenya’s on-demand package delivery startup Sendy has become the first recipient of investment from Safaricom’s US$1 million Spark Venture Fund.
Disrupt Africa reported in November last year Kenya’s dominant mobile operator Safaricom launched the US$1 million Spark Fund, aimed at supporting mobile ICT startups in Kenya, and enabling the development of innovative mobile solutions.
Launched for an initial two-year period, the Fund is set to offer equity investments and other debt instruments to Kenyan startups for values between US$75,000 and US$250,000.
By June, Safaricom said it had received 200 applications for funding, and the Fund managers had begun reviewing applications to create a shortlist. The number of applications received currently stands at 400, and are being constantly evaluated.
The much anticipated first investment was announced today, with Sendy securing an undisclosed amount of funding.
Launched one year ago, Sendy offers a marketplace for last-mile package delivery and logistics services, allowing customers to send packages and documents within Nairobi and its environs using a mobile application that connects them to motorcycle riders, and drivers of vans and pickup trucks.
“When we launched Sendy in September 2014 we had a vision of making package delivery as simple as sending a text message. We wanted to use technology do this, so we created an app that is easy to use, offers transparent pricing and supports cashless transactions,” said Meshack Alloys, chief executive officer (CEO) of Sendy.
“Having Safaricom believe in us enough to come on board as an investor is a big boost to our business.”
Alloys said the funds will be used to improve the Sendy platform, roll out new features and services and grow the team to provide better customer experience.
In addition to the investment, Safaricom is also providing technical and marketing support, as well as giving Sendy access to strategic partnerships and networks.
“For us to invest in a startup, we need to believe that both the product or service and management have the potential to scale and become number one or two player in their chosen field,” said Eline Blaauboer, managing partner at TBL Invest, which manages the Fund.
“Sendy has a lot of promise in this area and has started to ramp up sales and operations, so we believe it is the ideal candidate for our investment,” said Blaauboer.