Google Chairman Er...

iHub

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt calls Nairobi a serious tech hub

After Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's visit to five countries in the Sub-Saharan African region in January 2013, he wrote only words of optimism about the region and its burgeoning technology industry. During his trip to Kenya, Schmidt visited the country's first innovation center, iHub, and saw firsthand the role of incubators in the country's development.

“Nairobi has emerged as a serious tech hub and may become the African leader,” (found in Eric Schmidt’s post on Google+).  One of the standout companies among the many incubated by this infoDev partner, is Kopo Kopo, a Nairobi based mobile payment startup that allows small and medium-sized businesses in Kenya to accept retail payments through the M-PESA service.

Kopo Kopo was founded on the idea of improving access to financial products in resource-lacking countries in the summer of 2010. The name Kopo Kopo comes from kobboh kobboh, the Krio word for money.

With a skeleton workforce of two co-founders Dylan Higgins and Ben Lyon, the company set up base in Nairobi and enjoyed the rapid growth within the Kenyan mobile payment market, where now about 70% of adults pay for goods and services with their cell phones.

One of the supporters of Kopo Kopo is famed venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, of the Khosla Impact investment fund, dedicated to social entrepreneurship as a means of alleviating poverty in India and Africa.

With investment in innovation from people like Khosla and the influence of a trip taken by Eric Schmidt, it is clear that these small and medium-sized grassroots enterprises, filled with brilliant entrepreneurs and innovators, are having a substantial impact on the future of Africa.

 

Photo courtesy of iHub.


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