Global Innovation Fund invests £310,000 in two African startups


The Global Innovation Fund (GIF), a London-headquartered non-profit innovation fund, has announced the investment of £310,000 in two African startups.

The investment is to help both startups – SafeBoda from Uganda and Poa Power from Kenya – expand their services/products, try out their services/products in new areas, prove demand for their services/products et al.

In the case of SafeBoda, the funds it received – £160,000 convertible note – will help fuel it through its pilot phase, while it iterates its revenue model and prove demand for its services.

Road accidents are the third leading cause of death in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, there are 80,000 motorbike drivers, only 1% of whom currently wear helmets.

In fact, more than 60% of the surgical budget at the main Kampala hospital is spent on treating motorbike crash injuries.

SafeBoda is helping to solve this problem by creating a commercially viable network of safe taxi motorbike (“Boda”) drivers. Their key safety intervention is the use of helmets and provision of driver training.

Behaviour change is generated through financial incentives whereby SafeBoda drivers attract more customers and increase their incomes by 50%.

PoaPower, a social-enterprise which provides clean and affordable electricity to off-grid, low income consumers in Kenya through a unique a ‘pay-as-you-go’ (PAYG) business model, received £150,000 convertible debt to test this business model innovation by distributing and installing its technology in 100-200 households in the Mount Kenya area.

GIF is supported by the Department of International Development in the UK, the United States Agency for International Development, the Omidyar Network, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia.

To date, these partners have pledged over US$200 million over the next five years.

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