The balance between being investor ready and making socio-economic impact is one that startups have to keep in check, and the investor-readiness program is where it all happens.
To qualify for the investor-readiness program, a startup needs to have been in operation for at least three years and making profit; and also be impact-driven. In conducting due diligence, Pangea Trust qualifies or disqualifies a startup for potential investor-readiness. Even then, those who qualify have to go through the investor-readiness program to make them worthy of investing in, and optimally de-risk potential investment.
At the investor-readiness program, all the startups attend weekly training facilitated by experts in different fields addressing general issues of business. Christopher Maara (Chris), the founder of Kiri Energy says, “The training has helped me to narrow down on our business goals and be able to better tell exactly what we need to get where.”
Besides the weekly training sessions, the startups are encouraged to further identify areas of need in their businesses and are provided with mentorship in those areas. Martin Jodo, the founder of Rabii Teecha, an edu-tech innovation startup, for instance, raised marketing as one area in which his company needed mentorship. “I knew marketing and we were already marketing our product, but since we felt we were not getting as much out of it as we should, we requested for mentorship in that area,” he explained as he confirmed that they have benefitted from the mentorship greatly. “In seemingly small activities such as posting on social media, we learnt how specific we needed to be with the times when we post and the different messaging for different platforms. We saw our engagement and feedback increase and it was very encouraging.”
All the startups also agree that the legal advice they got from the program helped them to be investor-ready but very importantly has helped them fill gaps in their businesses which were important to fill for the future of the business.
When Chris of Kiri Energy talks of having gotten a clearer picture of his business goals, he affirms that this has gone into making them more confident about the socio-economic impact they are creating. For Kiri Energy, with the electric motorbikes that they are assembling, they are creating sustainable employment by giving bodaboda operators a self-employment opportunity while cutting maintenance costs for them. Steve, a bodaboda rider who is using an electric motorbike from Kiri Energy passionately said, “I cannot go back to using a petrol motor bike. This one is the real deal. I used to spend about Ksh500 on fuel with the petrol bike but now I use a maximum of Ksh200 a day to charge my bike. I am able to make even more trips now because this bike is less tiring, so the profit difference is big. Besides, I am no longer spending Ksh2000 on brake pads and Ksh1500 on engine oil every month. I just usually take my bike to Kiri for ‘checkup’ and most times there will be nothing requiring money to be changed!”
Apart from the sustainable job employment, Kiri energy is happy to contribute significantly to protecting the planet by reducing Carbon emission from petrol bikes. At a glance, an average petrol bike emits 2.2 tonnes of carbon a year but Kiri energy’s electric bikes emit none.
Bena Care, another startup that is now investor ready, is already improving good health and well-being in the country by providing especially chronically ill patients with home-based nursing care. Hospital-based nursing in Kenya is expensive- usually patients end-up compromising nursing care because of the cost, and this is the gap Bena Care is filling by providing the option of home-based care, sometimes even on leave-in program. These and many other startups are glad to be in a place where their view of their own impact and business goals is sharpened, and this is what Pangea Trust has been.