NEW KENYAN VC FUND FOR TECH START-UPS

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

A technology business development network, c4IDEA.com, has teamed up with a group of investors and institutions to set up a Sh150 million venture fund to finance technology-driven start-ups in the country. The venture fund targets entrepreneurs looking to provide professional outsourcing services to international organisations in Information Technology (IT), accounting, marketing, insurance, banking, medical, legal and other service sectors on an export basis, Peter Kimacia, c4IDEA.com’s CEO, said yesterday.

"The focus," Kimacia said, "will be on start-ups currently ineligible to receive loans from other commercial sources due to lack of collateral and/or cashflow."

He said there are many institutions willing to fund working capital requirements for ongoing businesses, but noted that hardly any of the institutions is willing to finance start-ups-a gap the fund is seeking to fill.

This fund will help bridge the technology divide by making it easier for professionals to start small businesses that utilise latest technologies to perform outsourcing work for their respective clients based in the United States, Canada and Europe, Kimacia said.

"We at c4IDEA.com believe that getting many Kenyans to actively participate in the global outsourcing industry would be the best and quickest way to use ICT (information, communications technology) to boost our economy, create jobs for young people and generate wealth for Kenyans, especially when these ventures grow and eventually go public on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE)," he said.

Kimacia said the centre will next month hold an investors’ symposium for top corporate executives and other institutional investors to raise awareness about the various opportunities available to Kenya through its active participation in the global outsourcing industry.

The symposium will be a follow-up to last Thursday’s seminar organised by the centre to encourage young professionals to start call centres and back offices in Kenya.

The East African Standard