Japanese VC firm Kepple Africa Ventures has announced that it will be revoking its investment in Kenyan fintech startup Wapi Pay. The announcement comes just days after Wapi Pay founders, brothers Eddie Ndichu and Paul Ndichu, were caught on camera allegedly assaulting a woman at Emara Ole Sereni on Sunday night.
‘’In light of the alleged assault on women by the founders of our portfolio company Wapi Pay, we Kepple Africa Ventures hereby announce that we have zero tolerance on such conduct and announce that we will relinquish all the rights of our investment stake in Wapi Pay.’’ General Partner Satoshi Shinad said in a tweet.
Kepple Africa is an early-stage venture capital fund that was founded by Ryosuke Yamawaki and Takahiro Kanzaki in December 2018. With offices in Nairobi and Lagos, the VC firm makes seed investments of between US$50,000 and US$150,000, averaging US$100,000, in early-stage tech startups on the continent.
In light of the alleged assault on women by the founders of our portfolio company Wapi Pay, we Kepple Africa Ventures hereby announce that we have zero tolerance on such conduct and announce that we will relinquish all the rights of our investment stake in Wapi Pay.
— 神先孝裕@ケップル (@kanzaki_kepple) October 18, 2021
In 2020, the company invested in 36 African tech startups, making it the most active firm on the continent in terms of numbers of startups backed. The company followed this up with a further 22 investments in the first seven months of 2021 according to a report published by Disrupt Africa. One of these startups was Wapi Pay.
In August, Wapi Pay raised $2.2 Million in pre-seed funding to scale up global payments and remittances between Africa and Asia. Investors included EchoVC and China based global fund MSA Capital, who have invested in domestic Asian unicorns such as Meituan and NIO, and international unicorns such as Nubank and Klarna. Additional investors included Kepple Africa Ventures and current angel investors Future Hub, Gobi Ventures, and Transsion Holding.
This non-equity pre-seed raise was one of the largest for Fintech in Eastern Africa and Wapi Pay said it will help it engage regulators for licensing across Africa and drive higher and sustained growth.
Update: Wapi Pay statement: Tuesday 8:42 am
Wapi Pay has issued a statement saying the video circulating on social media do not depict the true event that transpired that night.
”Wapi Pay founders Paul and Eddie want to use this medium to express their deepest regrets to the incident that occurred” the statement read.
”As one of the leading Kenyan-founded startup companies, focusing on delivering financial services innovation to the mass market, Wapi Pay is built on, and practices, a culture of respect to employees and customers and does not tolerate any form of discrimination or encourage any form of gender-based violence” the statement further read.