Kenya’s BRCK raises $3m to expand operations

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Kenyan hardware and connectivity startup BRCK has raised US$3 million in funding from investors including Jean and Steve Case, Jim Sorenson, TED, MKS Alternative Investments and Synergy Energy in order to help it expand its operations.

Founded in 2013, the startup is behind the BRCK, a rugged router designed for harsh environments with limited connectivity and power, which is able to hop between various sources of connectivity and has a built-in battery for use in the event of a blackout.

The startup raised US$1.2 million in seed funding last year in 2014, and has also moved into the education space with the launch of the BRCK-Kio for schools.

BRCK chief executive officer (CEO) Erik Hersman said as a fairly young company based in Kenya it was “incredible” to have such a range of “powerhouse investors” backing the startup.

“The investor interest we have received throughout the year has marked how far we’ve come from our Kickstarter and seed funding days. This new capital will catapult our efforts of improving the way information flows in the world,” he said.

Since its initial funding, BRCK has evolved to sell its product in 54 countries across five continents. The new capital will help expand the company’s operations, its ability to manufacture additional inventory, new designs of the devices and distribution across the continent and globally.

“As early investors in BRCK, we’ve had the benefit of observing first-hand the success the company has had in managing rapid yet sustainable growth as it fulfils its mission to keep Africans connected and drive the global digital revolution,” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation.

“We are excited to support BRCK as it enters its next phase of expansion, both improving and enhancing its product offerings uniquely suited to emerging market internet subscribers, and growing the company’s global footprint.”

Jessica Dick, investment manager for Synergy Energy said: “We are delighted to be participating in this round and to be supporting BRCK with the disruptive and inspiring work they are doing in technology and education.”

Laurent Haug, partner at MKS Alternative Investments, said at a time when education and information have never been so critical to the future of the world, connecting the four billion people not yet on the internet was a top priority.

“BRCK is taking on this challenge from a unique perspective, fuelled by deep knowledge of the realities of emerging countries’ infrastructure and users. We are proud to join this adventure, and work alongside the BRCK team to bring the benefits of information technologies to millions of people,” she said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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