Kenyan founder selected for Silicon Valley’s Blackbox Connect


Co-founder of Kenyan transport ticketing startup BuuPass Iman Cooper has been selected to join the 22nd cohort of the Silicon Valley-based Blackbox Connect incubator.

Blackbox Connect 22 is a female founders-only edition of the programme, with 15 female entrepreneurs from around the world selected to join the cohort.

Kenya’s Iman Cooper is the only candidate from Africa joining the two week programme; which sees founders live, work and learn together while connecting with top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, investors, thought leaders, and executives.

Cooper is co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) at BuuPass, which operates a digital marketplace for train and bus ticket bookings.

“I am thrilled to participate in Blackbox Connect with 14 other top founding women from around the world. I am looking forward to learning alongside phenomenal women about how to  intentionally elevate your impact and sharpen my skills as both an entrepreneur and leader,” Cooper says.

After two weeks of speaker sessions, interactive workshops, founder-to-founder learning, pitch coaching, and one-to-one mentoring, the programme concludes with the Blackbox Connect Global Startup Salon – a twist on the traditional Demo Day – in which participants present their company to a curated audience of investors and Silicon Valley tech leaders.

Cooper says the Blackbox opportunity has come at just the right time for BuuPass, as it focuses on growth strategies and moving to the next level. 

“BuuPass has reached 300,000+ users in its first year and started earning revenue, and is now moving into the growth phase, expanding to other companies and partners. Blackbox will provide BuuPass valuable insight about growth strategies, how innovation is done in Silicon Valley, and is a great opportunity to begin building relationships with investors and mentors in the Valley. We are excited about the learnings, relationships, and exposure Blackbox will provide for BuuPass as a company,” she says.

Twelve of the selected founders – including Cooper – are recipients of the Google for Entrepreneurs Scholarship, which provides all-expenses-paid participation in Blackbox Connect for founders nominated by members of the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network; in Cooper’s case, Nairobi-based iHub.



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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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