Savannah Fund Graduates its First Batch of Startups
Campbell Law Group led the Kenya-based accelerator through its fund formation; first round of financing with investments from Tim Draper and 500 Startups; international structuring and US securities compliance work. Savannah specializes in early stage investments in high-growth web and mobile startups in sub-Saharan Africa. The first three graduates will receive $25,000 in seed capital in exchange for 15 percent equity in their companies.
Ahonya, a Ghananian e-commerce platform that sells affordable electronics, Uganda-based mobile game developer Kola Studios and Kenyan SafariDesk, a site that helps travelers find off-the-beat experiences and places for luxury camping, make up Savannah’s inaugural batch.
The three startups were chosen out of 170 applicants from across Africa and put through a three-month accelerator in Nairobi. Each received more than 30 hours of mentoring during 12 sessions with both local and international entrepreneurs including Carey Eaton of Cheki and Brighter Monday, Eran Feinstein of 3G Direct Pay, Max Ventilla of Google Product Management, as well as venture capitalists from South Africa to Silicon Valley.
Savannah – sub-Saharan Africa’s first early stage fund – is a partnership between Mbwana Alliy, Paul Bragiel and iHub founder Erik Hersman. The three technology and entrepreneurial dynamos bring a wealth of experience from Silicon Valley, the UK and Africa. Alliy has worked in a variety of roles in startups and corporations including QinetiQ (formerly the UK’s Defense Evaluation Research Agency), Microsoft Office and Afrinnovator, and was accepted to the Kauffman Foundation Global Partners program in 2012. Bragiel is the managing partner and a co-founder of i/o ventures, an early stage startup accelerator and fund in San Francisco and advises numerous governments on entrepreneurship and policy that encourages startup ecosystems. In addition to iHub, the Nairobi tech epicenter, Hersman is also co-founder of Ushahidi and founder of AfriGadget and is a TED Senior Fellow and PopTech Fellow.
Savannah Fund has opened its applications for the next cohort of startups to begin at the end of July or early August.