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Kenyan startup raises record US$1.1 million in funding

Kenyan startup raises record US.1 million in funding

Data collection startup Bamba has raised US$1.1 million (KES 110 million), which the company describes as one of the highest seed funding rounds in East Africa for a startup, and will be used for expansion into the continent.

Bamba has grown its consumer based research tools over the years. It has offered companies consumer insights by rewarding users for their information and using technology to gather and aggregate market data.

The seed funding round was led by Rishi Varma, founder and CEO of US research company AlphaDetail and Brett Hurt, founder of BazaarVoice and Data.world, which have roots in Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas respectively. Another 13 investors also participated in the funding round.

This is not the first time Bamba has raised funds. Late last year the company got funding from Darshan Chandaria CEO and director of the Chandaria Industries Group for US$250,000 in Kenya's reality business TV show, Lion's Den.

The company was founded by Al Ismaili (CEO), Shehzad Tejani,(COO) and Faiz Hirani (CTO) and had a core workforce of 7 full-time employees in 2015.

"Since then, we've further expanded to employ 21 full-time staff, along with numerous other field consultants around the world. It's incredible; we've established a global reach, spanning Canada, US, UK, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Nigeria. This is in large part thanks to ongoing support from our investors," said Ismaili.

Bamba owes the success of its product to the rapid rise in smartphone adoption, "presenting the opportunity to finally tap into the wants, needs and opinions of these consumers for companies agile and innovative enough to build the right tools."

They also stated that more African companies are being recognised internationally which results into funding steered towards startups in the continent.

"We are very proud to be investors in Bamba," said Hurt. "Not only are [they] providing a very valuable analytics service, but they are also providing jobs in countries that really need them. This is one of those rare businesses that have a combination of a massive market opportunity and a real social impact. Their focus just couldn't be better."

The company's founders say they are looking to introduce innovative tools to capture market sentiments for their clients, but will concentrate on the emerging markets for now.

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