Safaricom has invested in Sendy, a Nairobi- based package delivery start-up company. The young company was identified as the first recipient of Safaricom’s 1 million dollar Spark Fund. The Spark Fund supports commercially viable start-ups which use mobile technology as an enabler at late seed to early growth stage. Spark fund is a venture capital fund that aims at supporting the successful development and growth of high potential mobile tech start-ups in Kenya. They do this through a combination of investment, business development support and technical assistance leveraging on Safaricom’s unique capabilities, assets and market positioning. Rather than offering grants, the Spark Fund invests in the start-ups by purchasing minority equity stake or providing convertible debt, allowing young businesses to access the finances needed to grow their businesses beyond the start-up phase.
Sendy is a new delivery business which provides an app and web platform that enables individuals and businesses to connect with Riders and/or Drivers and request on-demand or scheduled courier services at any time, any day, 24/7. To support their mission, they crowd-source vehicles and drivers (boda bodas, vans and pickup trucks), extensively vet and train them, and then connect them to their GPS enabled tracking and dispatching system. Their system allows them to work with multiple courier providers at one time, ensuring they always have drivers available to service a delivery, and that they’re widely distributed across the city.
Launched just one year ago, Sendy focuses on providing convenience, competitive pricing, speed and excellent customer service, allowing individual customers and businesses to track the movement and location of their packages in real time using their app and web platform.
According to Meshack Alloy, CEO Sendy when they launched the company they had a vision of making package delivery as simple as sending a text message. Because they wanted to use technology to achieve this, they created an app that is easy to use, offers transparent pricing and supports cashless transactions. He continued to state that having Safaricom on board as an investor was a big boost to their business. The funds received were to be invested in infrastructure, improving the platform, rolling out new features and services and growing their team so that they can provide an even better customer experience.
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 checkout process that will work directly through Safaricom’s newly released M-PESA API.
Since launching Spark Fund in November last year, Safaricom has received over 400 applications. An on-going evaluation process to identify potential start-ups who will benefit from the Sh90 million venture fund, continues, with each successful start-up expected to receive between Sh6 million and Sh22 million. The Safaricom Spark Fund is a great platform that seeks to provide much needed funding options for ICT start-ups, and give them a platform for business capacity and economic empowerment. Through this fund, Safaricom aims to transform the lives of customers by identifying what they require, then facilitating a solution which will help meet those needs.