Last year Safaricom launched the Safaricom Spark Venture Fund, a $1 Million fund with an objective of allowing techpreneurs in Kenya access financing, mentorship and resources to scale their businesses. Eligible start-ups were set to receive amounts between $75,000 and $250,000. The fund was set-up for an initial two-year period and administered by international tech fund TBL Invest, as the principal fund managers. Earlier in June, Safaricom said 400 Kenyan start-ups submitted inquiries and applications into the fund, where selected startups receive an investment in exchange for minority stakes in their businesses. The startups then access marketing tools from Safaricom including the Mpesa API, USSD, Bulk SMS and Safaricom cloud hosting.
Safaricom has today announced that Sendy, a Nairobi-based package delivery start-ups the first recipient of the Spark Fund. Sendy uses a mobile application to connect motorcycle riders, drivers of vans and pickup trucks to customers wishing to send packages and documents within Nairobi and its environs. Customers are able to track the movement and location of their packages in real time using their app and web platform.
Sendy has been in existence for the last one year, having launched in September 2014. Ideally, a user will log onto the Sendy App or web platform and ask to have a pick up or delivery done for them. After the service is completed, they receive notifications complete with the name of the rider and point of delivery. Like Uber, Sendy is an intermediary and earns a fraction of the fees charged for pickups and deliveries. Sendy does not own any motorcycles and instead has partners who use its app for these services.
Safaricom has not disclosed the stake it bought or amount it invested in the startup.