Kenyan digital addressing startup OkHi raises $1.78m funding from UK angel network

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Kenyan startup OkHi, which has developed a digital addressing system for emerging markets, has a GBP1.4 million (US$1.78 million) funding round, supported by the London-based Angel Investment Network, to expand its team and grow operations in other African countries.

Co-founded in 2014 by Timbo Drayson, who while at Google led the launch of Google Maps across emerging markets and built Chromecast, the Nairobi-based OkHi has developed technology that enables any business to collect an accurate address from their customer, verify it, and navigate to it.

Its primary focus is to solve address verification for financial services, an endemic problem that holds back financial inclusion across emerging markets. It has now received support in achieving this goal after receiving GBP1.4 million (US$1.78 million) in funding, with help from the Angel Investment Network, the world’s largest online angel investment platform. 

OkHi, which is also backed by Airbnb co-founder Nate Blecharczyk and Twitter chairman Patrick Pichette, has so far powered millions of uses of its addressing system, and recently launched in Nigeria with Africa’s largest banking platform, Interswitch Group, to solve address verification in Nigeria and beyond. The round, which took only two months to complete, will be used to “win” the Nigerian market and grow the business beyond Africa. 

The startup, which also plans to double the size of its team, is also now on what it calls a “clear trajectory” to Series A.  

“A physical address should be a human right. Whether it’s opening up a bank account or getting an ambulance to your door, every person on this planet deserves access to these services. This raise is a vital stepping stone to unlock our growth into Nigeria as well as explore new markets across Africa, Middle East and Asia,” Drayson said. 

Ed Stephens, who led the raise for the Angel Investment Network, said OkHi had ticked many boxes for the network’s investors, who really bought into the company’s mission. 

“We were inundated with interest with more than 180 inquiries on the table. OkHi’s digital infrastructure helps to answer a genuine need for people without a formal address to get access to services that can help transform their lives,” he said. 

“The team’s credentials were impeccable in their experience as entrepreneurs, so we look forward to seeing the huge success of this company as it grows to help millions of people across the globe get better access to services.”

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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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