The Safaricom Spark Fund is a venture fund launched by Safaricom to give startups a chance to grow. This fund was launched last year in November and seems to be doing what is supposed to.
The first company to benefit from this fund is Sendy which offers a marketplace for last-mile package delivery and logistics services and allows 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 who are otherwise doing other work but sign up to make such deliveries in their free time.
In a statement, says Meshack Alloys, CEO of Sendy said, “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.”
He went on to add, “Having Safaricom believe in us enough to come on board as an investor is a big boost to our business. We intend to use the funds received to invest in our infrastructure, improve our platform, roll out new features and services and grow our team so that we can provide an even better customer experience.”
Safaricom Spark Fund
Spark fund has received over 400 applications since it launched late last year and it’s nice to see Sendy become the first startup to benefit. It is not clear how much Sendy has received but a statement from Spark fund reads, “with an on-going evaluation process of potential start-ups that will benefit from the Ksh.90 million venture fund. Each successful start-up will receive between Ksh.6 million and Ksh.22 million.” This means that Sendy received something between Ksh 6 and 22 million.
“We are very pleased to be investing in Sendy, a business with a young, vibrant, innovative and ambitious team. Through Sendy we believe we are investing in more than just a start-up; we’re investing in a business that will transform the lives of everyone it touches, from the customer, to the boda-boda operator to the techie building & maintain the platform,” said Joe Ogutu, Safaricom’s Director for Strategy & Innovation.
In addition to Safaricom’s investment, Sendy will also have access to strategic partnerships, network elements, and a mix of marketing opportunities that will help it expand.
“We’re excited to be partnering with Safaricom not only on the investment side, but also on the technical side. We’ve been using M-PESA as our main payment collection method since we launched Sendy and we’re pleased to announce that next week we’ll be releasing a new seamless payment checkout process that will work directly through Safaricom’s newly released M-PESA API,” adds Mr. Alloys.