Category Archives: TEAMS

Venture Capital in Nairobi – VC101

A talk on venture capital (VC) was given by Vincent Kouwenhoven and Brian Hirman of the eVA (eVentures Africa Fund BV) at the iHub in Nairobi. They both have about 15 years experience in VC and enumerated the criteria the fund uses for investments including that target companies in Africa should have profitable track records (not start-up’s) to qualify for VC investments of between 25,000 and 250,000 Euros (~Kshs 2.5 million to Kshs 25 million).

The fund was launched in January 2010, and in the ½ year they have invested in 5-6 companies. The founders are seasoned travelers in Africa and their interest was piqued by observations they made over the last three years including;
1. Chinese investment interest in Ghana and Kenya
2. Arrival of fibre optic cables
3. More African returnees returning from the Diaspora who were setting up their own companies (it’s a good sign). They have been exposed to Kenya for many years and sense that entreprenual spirit in Nairobi is very good as are competence levels in high technology sectors.

– All their investment are active in the digital scene – whether mobile, internet, communication platforms – and include a leading internet company in Ghana, while in Kenya, they have Jumuika, Ratio Magazine, and the latest deal signed today is for an investment in Verviant (w/ Liko Agosta better known for Pesapal)

– They invest growth funding in companies and try and cultivate a healthy portfolio, unlike other VC’s who make several weak investments in the hope that one or two will payoff and offset the failures. Their investment clearly spells out the use of proceeds/funds which can vary, but ideally should not be for increased salaries or other debt repayment (unless to retire expensive debt). They also mentioned that their investment criteria is a guide, not cast in stone (e.g. Jumuika was a startup)

– They get involved in the operations of the company; whether marketing, technology, financial, entrepreneurship, HR policies. They act as a sounding board and advise owners (use skype a lot) on how to scale up e.g. when they get traction, how to set up customer care capacity

– They seek out committed entrepreneurs – not part timers, or people with one good idea they have not developed, or people with a dozen ideas (not focused). They want to invest in people with the gut and belief to start a business and are willing to eat bread & water to hack it put (not one who relies luck) – and who also enjoy what they are doing. Other “no no’s” include people who ask for too much money that dilutes their equity (EVA want founders to retain at least 51% at all timea), or which enables them to run the business without risk for two years (i.e. with the VC’s funding)

– On exit strategy their preferred rout is a buyout of the company within 3 to 7 years by multi-national or larger company. In cases where an investor may not be ready to sell, the VC can sell their stake to another VC.

Twitter Week: Top 10 (December 11)

Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that is really nifty for doing mini-posts, forwards and other remarks that (are on any subject) and are maybe not worthy of a full blog post. Here’s a summary of my week on Twitter in a Dave Letterman top 10 format covering Bill gates in Nairobi, tiger woods gets (in)famous, Nigerian banking wars, Nairobi is becoming a tech conference hub, Fibre cable starts to take effect , and Kenyans are bad dressers but fast drinkers!

10 Get on twitter and new media before it’s too late – New Kenya airays rugby page seems to confirm @KenyaAirways is the legitimate KQ twitter a/c
– The Rwanda president @paulkagame on twitter? @gotissuez @ngeny @towmee there’s a link on to @paulkagame; looks legit but poorly managed account that can improve
– R/t gtbankonline Guaranty Trust Bank launches NDANI their e-News Quarterly e-zine, #notlazycheapkenyanbank
– r/t @mkaigwa Dear Equity Bank, you’re the Safaricom of banks. Okthanksbye. #Dontmeanitinagoodway #ReasonwhyIhave2bankaccounts
– Musician Suzanne owiyo features in new #equitybank ‘ni member’ TV ad

9 Funny Money Tales: – the gambler who lost $127 million in Vegas (via @WhitlockJason)
– Nairobi star headlines today: Kalonzo denies link to 1 billion farm sale, Ruto to raise 8 billion campaign fund by 2012

8 Beer not clothes – New bar Another brand new bar in Nairobi, already full on day 2
– @rafikiz @jamesmurua is the new off-shoot of @Bacchus at old treasures langata rd
– r/t @towmee No offense to my Kenyan tweeps but at the airport i knew KQ had landed just by how dull the passengers are dressed #notsapuers

7. Kenyans government churns through money – r/t @alykhansatchu Kenya 2nd infrastructure bond oversubscribed 138% surprised at insatiable appetite for GOK Paper. Lots of foreign interest at ~12% coupon @alykhansatchu as you said
– Bloat in Kenya government is mass employment and needless parastatals & committees-latest is ‘national tourism crisis management committee’

6. Top Kenyan business women – Nominate a top 40 woman under 40 to Business Daily D/L 16/12 to join @justdes you can run for re-election and I’m sure you’ll be re-nominated #top40

5. Tiger, Tiger, burning… – Tiger may have to bail as marriage costs more each year but his sponsors need a good family image
– Only @TheOnion can tell it: “Investigators Still Piecing Together Weird-Ass Clues in Fucked-Up Tiger Woods Crash”
– *Yawn* bill Clinton jokes being recycled into tiger woods jokes
– Tiger at #9 but yet to be nabbed at on golf course unlike a famous Kenyan
– Go On Be A Tiger: Accenture (nee Arthur Andersen) advertisement

4. Bill in Town – #nairumor bill gates private jet is at Nairobi airport.
– @coldtusker he has 3 bombardier challengers

3. Kenya becoming tech conference central – Mobile Web East-Africa is coming to Nairobi – make sure you’re there! (via @mato74)
– R/t There are some available seats at the @ushahidi user group meeting at Strathmore University. Come on by! #UshMeet

2 Cheaper fast Internet becoming a reality: – Now that there’s #fibre in Nairobi, i can finally watch the fascinating #TED Talks videos
– ad in standard today – Kenya data networks say free Christmas wifi internet till January 4 (but nada at website)

1 Nigerian Bank Wars: – r/t Deadly news. Bank PHB of Nigeria reports 15-month loss of $2.5 billion: .That is lethal (via @obionyeaso)
– @coldtusker 9-month pre-tax profit of all banks in kenya this year is about $500 million
– Nigerian bank wars via @obionyeaso another full page ad describing new mgt of bailed out banks as ‘undertakers’

Zuku Slashes Kenya Internet Prices

Thanks K for the Breakfast invite

It’s been a big year for Zuku of the Wananchi Group; they got new funding and the fibre cable reached in Kenya – they are a shareholder in TEAMS which is operational (but not yet launched) and have also bought capacity on Seacom. Their CEO said the 50 gigabytes they have on TEAMS will serve the anticipated needs of their Kenyan customers for the next decade and they have the option to increase capacity on either cable.

Reduced internet prices: This morning (2/12/09), Zuku announced reduced internet prices of ~50% as follows for the wimax package:

• Prosurf (256Kbps) 3,000 Kshs 1,500 (~$20)
• Supersurf (512 Kbps) 6,000 Kshs 2,500 (~$33)
• Megasurf (1 Mbps) 10,000 Kshs 4,500 (~$60)

The one-time installation cost has also gone down from 5,800 to Kshs 3,000, lowering the entry barrier for homes.

For small corporates and SME’s they have new Zuku Biz which is an unlimited corporate broadband packages priced as follows:

• 10Mbps will cost Kshs 10,000 per month (~$133)
• 15 Mbps will cost Kshs 15,000 per month (~$200)
• 20 Mbps will cost Kshs 20,000 per month (~$266)

For these, installation costs are Kshs 3,000, and equipment and VAT are included in the pricing, with security services offered at an additional cost (firewall, e-mail security, spam management).

Reaching out to property developers Zuku is currently available in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa and Nyeri, and in Nairobi 40 buildings are fully wired with another 100+ having cabling up to their doorstep. By reaching out to developers and property owners, Zuku hopes to convert planned, new, and existing buildings to be internet-ready properties that meet the modern demands of some of their prospective tenants for high-quality affordable internet. Zuku have a dedicated team to liaise with property owners on right-of-way, and installation, issues for buildings. (Here’s a list of Nairobi fibre-ready buildings)

New Nairobi Hotel: The Zuku breakfast took place at the new Ole Sereni Hotel on the edge of the Nairobi National Park, off Mombasa Road. The building previously housed the old US Embassy in Nairobi before its conversion to a 134-bed, 5-star hotel. Like the adjacent Panari, Ole Sereni also lies close to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport, shielding their guests, and transiting airline passengers, from some of Nairobi’s (now) notorious traffic jams. Though not yet officially open, and with some facilities yet to be completed, management says the hotel rooms are already fully occupied. Wildlife in the park can sometimes be observed in the early morning and should become a regular occurrence once a waterhole is completed (inside the park fence) to be observed from the hotel’s dining room and bars which have a (relatively) pocket-friendly Tusker price of 195 ($2.6).

Week on Twitter: September 22

Another re-cap of a week full of Twitter – @bankelele posts which included issues like Olympia prepares for shareholders then postpone AGM, a skunkworks forum and a fibre summit are coming to Nairobi this week, but how is the fibre being used in government? There’s a new newspaper from the government of Kenya and a new magazine from EAM. Charterhouse bank may re-open while PTA bank has a silent bond, Kenya Airways flies to Ndola while Emirates air starts selling world cup 2010 packages, and finally twitter matures by enabling medical advice for Kahenya, drawing in the US ambassador to Kenya and also by helping Stanbic Bank improve customer service

– East Africa Fibre Summit – in Kenya next week…
Emirates Air starts selling 2010 World Cup South Africa Packages (where’s SAA, @kenyaairways, Ethiopian?)
New GoK newspaper title Kenya Today; first issue has bullet trains, Brigadier Ali, SMEs, Idi Amin, MJ, and rants about parliamentary dictatorship & NYTimes writers – all at a cost of Kshs 30/=
– @SupremeGREAM I’d be very surprised if Charterhouse Bank reopens. It will be like re-licensing Triton; @kachwanya is correct, something is smoking at Charterhouse
– R/T @kaboro Skunkworks Tech & Entrepreneur Forum, 29Sep Speakers: Liko Agosta, Verviant, Joshua Wanyama, Pamoja, Alex Gakuru.
– Help @kahenya with medical advice #rhabdomyolysis
– @RookieKE CFA one very tough exam, it has driven some very bright professionals up the wall. CFA pass rates Level I: 46% Level II: 41% Level III: 49% @kainvestor i salute those who have tried it
Tiomin say they have made progress with Canadian and Chinese investors on #kwale. Wait till they get to environment minister #michuki
Kenya government has asked all ministries/agencies to email copies of procurement tenders – to be compiled at a portal ; also which is “all about Kenyan content” has NO KENYAN CONTENT! Just Anheuser Busch, French news, love in Warsaw…
– @kenyaairways 44th destination launch flight lands in Ndola #Zambia
– Barclays waives joining fee for gold (6K) & classic (3k) cards… #youllpaysomehow @coldtusker I have no credit card, I can usually tap family or friends #TIA
– R/t @joosi @davos World Economic Forum (WEF) to be in Tanzania May ’10. Nairobi star said Kofi Annan steered it away from Kenya’s bad leadership

#Newshot and #bullseye are not too funny: seems Marende may have banned use of parliamentary clips for satire. Did Njoki spell stakeholder as steakholder in her protest letter? #NTV
– Sunday nation writes about US ambassador on twitter @usamb4reform, but twitter yet to be taken up keenly in Kenya unlike facebook
– Nairobi water company appoints 4 debt collection agencies
PTA Bank has a $21 million 14% bond in Uganda closing Oct 2. Pity they stopped updating their website
– New women’s magazine called Move out this week from EAM, costs just Kshs. 80 ($1)… was true love too pricey for the ladies?
– Twitter improves bank service R/T @coldtusker Thanks to @StandardBankGrp I got a call from CFCStanbic Kenya re: my problems at the bank
– R/t @kainvestor Kenya Ministry of Water office connected to fibre cable! But nobody knows what do with it…just watching movies online.

Olympia CEO comments South Africa has been a real challenge, but we still believe in the market M Matu ; later Olympiacapital muddle continues, now AGM postponed to 2nd-oct cause delayed fin statement dispatch

Twitter Week: KQ Strike and Equity Profit Dips

Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that is relly nifty for doing mini-posts, forwards and other remarks that (are on any subject) and are maybe not worthy of a full blog post. Here’s a summary of my week on Twitter:

– @coldtusker @kenentrepreneur the tea board of Kenya wishes to remind you that hawking of green tea leaf is
– Signed up too many usgov twitters to keep with #hilaryafrica. Will edit after her trip
– This is a good time for generator and diesel sale companies. I think there was a tax break for generator sales mentioned in uhuru’s June budget speech. No power last night, or this afternoon: will ignore the power ration schedule as a work of fiction KPLC. As bad as Nairobians complain about #KPLC the water crisis is of more concern
– R/T @shiroh the Stanchart diva trip is such a deal. $1,000 for 5 (shopping) days in South Africa for Ladies (incl, flights, hotels)
Ethiopian Airlines net profit was $118 million, revenue up 33% with new airbus & Boeing orders pending. R/T @Jellyfish78 Kenya Airways vs. Ethiopian Air on Youtube is an informative but nasty spat and Also Ethiopian Air to fly Addis-Mombasa (via Kilimanjaro)
– Diasporans giving up on Kenya
– Tahidi High tackles the mystery of paraffin in high school food
– On CitizenTV Delamere family shot live video in court and in jail. How? Still it’s a good spot light on the archaic judiciary. Delamere’s say Kenyatta family owns their dairy now while neighbours want to grab their 56 000 acre farm. Tom delamere testimony live – shot two dogs with two shots and denies he shot the man who died. How did ‘top lawyer’ tom ojiambo allow this?
– R/T @milonare Impunity starts with you, remember that when you cut in traffic and feel nothing. We reflect our leaders #fractals #Kenya
Barclays Kenya raising credit card rates to 3.0% (up from 2.5%) from next month
– r/t @mainat Banks have reduced lending not because of interest rates but poor prospects of recovering loans in an economy that has stalled
– @rookieKE if you bank with consolidated, you can transfer cash from A/C to Mpesa using your phone
– You can get to the top of KICC Nairobi for $2… (Though I believe Times Tower is higher)
– r/t @highwayafrica09 Call for Nominations – SABC-Highway Africa New Media Awards. See
– R/T @LarryMadowo FYI Equity Bank H1 PBT down 15% on one-off transaction last yr related 2 Safaricom IPO, Q2 profits up 25%
– Blog job: write about blogging, social networking & social media from Asia, MidEast and African countries
– R/T @kachwanya TEAMs shareholders seem to be the confused – there is no onward connectivity between Europe and Dubai, where TEAMS ends!
– Kenya stockbrokers association (KASIB) launched investor education handbook today
– So @kachwanya @kainvestor, Nairobi City Council earns 14sh ($0.2) for every flyer tossed out of a car window?
– R/T @alykhansatchu #Kenya new 234 item price basket will track mobile-#cellular and computers charges & #camel meat #inflation
– So many aviation colleges in Nairobi with unemployed graduates, these (striking)@kenyaairways workers should know this
– Spent 15min at Nakumatt queue while some afro-diplomats paid for groceries with us $. Their exchange rate is KES72 =$
– COTU’s Francis Atwoli is going to brag about ending the #KQ strike, and coming through for workers.