Three startups from Kenya are among the recipients of the inaugural $2-million Jua Fund, the largest African venture capital fund by a private individual.
The startups are GrowAgric, a crowd-farming platform that connects farmers to much-needed working capital allowing, Side an e-commerce distribution channel that leverages the power of “community” or “group buying” to provide goods to end customers more cheaply and Xetova a technology solutions provider to the procurement ecosystem
The startups were selected following a week-long “Kickstarter Olympics” during which they pitched their ideas to a high-profile panel of judges.
Zimbabwean entrepreneur and industrialist Adam Molai, launched the Jua [sunrise in KiSwahili] Fund last November inspired by his dream to develop Africa through the empowerment of entrepreneurs.
The fund will not only provide equity to the enterprises but also mentorship and advisory support as well as put them in touch with other investors.
“The Jua fund is a tiny drop in the ocean, in our effort to unite African grey hairs with our bright young future through funding and mentorship support. After listening to the pitches and presentations during the Kickstarter Olympics, my faith and hope has more than been repaid. We have brilliant entrepreneurs on this continent. I and my fellow judges were immensely impressed by all our finalists, even those that fell away during the week,” he says.
“We targeted enterprises that are scalable across the Continent and actually address the challenges that are hobbling Africa’s development, and the selected enterprises all do that,” Adam adds.
Other startups selected for the fund include Bryt-Knowledge (Zimbabwe), Jirogasy (Madagascar), Powerstove Energy and Whispa Health from Nigeria.
The final deal closure and disbursement will be contingent on the enterprises passing due diligence and other agreed terms and conditions.