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Startup - December 17, 2020

Japanese VC Firm Kepple Funds 16 More African Tech Startups

Japanese company Kepple Africa Ventures has invested in 16 African tech startups to take the total number to 36 for 2020. This has also increased the portfolio size to the investment firm to 66 companies in all.

Founded in December 2018 by Ryosuke Yamawaki and Takahiro Kanzaki, Kepple Africa Ventures has offices in Nairobi and Lagos and makes seed investments of between US$ 50,000 and US$ 150,000 in early-stage tech startups on the continent.

Disrupt Africa reports that seven of the new addition are from Nigeria, they are financial and data API Pngme, auto-tech company Autochek, health insurance startup Curacel, prop-tech startup MyAwayHome, banking platform Riby, energy companies Beacon Power Services and Shyft.

Kenyan startup who’ve also received funding are clean cooking smart technology supplier PayGo Energy, customer support network Ongair , and iBuild, a construction marketplace. From Tunisia are smart manual developer Onboard and energy startup Wattnow.

The list is completed by the South African ed-tech startup Instill Education, Ivorian fintech Digitech, and the UK-based form organizer Formplus and the US-based digital designer hiring company Meaningful Gigs, two Africa-focused companies based elsewhere.

Kepple has been most active in Nigeria this year, having also invested in credit service Indicina, real estate platform Seso Global, logistics startup MVXchange, educational finance platform Schoolable, e-health startup Lifestores, training and recruitment company Decagon, commodities platform TradeBuza, marketing service Termii, and investtech platform Bamboo.

In Kenya, it has funded vehicle manufacturer Mobius Motors, health platform Connect Afya, connectivity startup Koko Networks, music platform Mdundo, commerce platform Sky.Garden, digital counselling service Wazi, and payments platform Boya this year, as well as Ghanaian digital banking platform Boost and agri-tech startup Complete Farmer.

The rest of its 2020 list is completed by Cameroonian e-health startup Health Lane, the fully distributed but Africa-focused USSD integration platform Hover, and France-based, Tunisia-focused insect-based protein producer NextProtein.


In May, Yamawaki told Disrupt Africa that the firm prided itself on being able to move very rapidly.

“Our due diligence is exceptionally quick compared with other VCs. We’ve completed some of our deals within two weeks from end to end,” he said.

Tech-focused but sector agnostic, and primarily focused on East and West Africa, Kepple is primarily focused on seed-stage opportunities. However, it does sometimes go in on bigger rounds, as in the case of Kenyan logistics company Sendy, whom it helped raise cash from Japanese investors like Yamaha and therefore gained a chance to contribute to its recent bumper investment.

Kepple is focused mainly on seed-stage opportunities, tech-focused and primarily focused on East and West Africa. That being said, it does often go through larger rounds like it did for Kenyan logistics company Sendy, which it helped raise cash from Japanese investors such as Yamaha and thus acquired an opportunity to contribute to its recent bumper investment.

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