Bamba Group, a Kenyan agency that uses modern methods to reach remote locations for data collection has been acquired by Maximeyes Group a UK based business incubator and Investor. Maximeyes which is based in London and started in 2004, boasts of a portfolio of companies covering energy solutions, battery storage technology, recruitment and property. The availability of smartphone and feature phones among respondents has recently made it possible to conduct surveys as well as data collection with a higher reach and accuracy which Bamba group has pioneered using proprietary technology.
Governments, agencies and development organisations including multinationals serve emerging markets and accurate data is critical to not only understand the needs of citizens living in far-flung corners but also do this rapidly and cost-effectively. Bamba’s early success and credibility as reported by Disrupt Africa was previously tested when they were able to reach 25,000 respondents in Kwale county in Kenya within three days with residents beginning to respond to a users’ survey within hours of its launch. An added incentive of the promise of airtime given to respondents increased the reporting rate from 3% to 12%.
Co-founded by Al Ismaili, Faiz Hirani and Shehzad Tejani they made headlines when they were selected to participate in Techstars accelerator held in Austin, Texas, becoming the first East African company accepted onto the programme in 2016 where they underwent a 13-week intensive incubation exercise with USD 100k investment. This made it possible to open their US office. They had picked up impressive investment from USD 250k in 2016 from Darshan Chandaria and Rishi Varma when they appeared in Lions’s Den a Kenyan version of Dragon’s Den, followed by their first seed funding of USD 1.1 million early 2017 which was the largest seed rounds ever raised in East Africa.
This came from a consortium of investors spanning Silicon Valley, New York, Washington DC, Austin, London and Kenya. The investors include Techstars LLC, Star Powers Partners II LLC, comprising of The Foundry Group, Right Side Capital, Draper Associates, Landscape Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Winshall Walt and Iron Gate Capital, Perivoli Innovations Trust, and a number of individual investors. Their initial investment from Darshan and Rishi enabled them to expand their local team and tap few African markets covering Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Nigeria while their subsequent funding went into further product improvement and expanding their global reach including Canada, UK, and the US with eyes trained on Asia.
Bamba group has been able to count The Aga Khan Foundation, Nairobi Airport Services, and Diamond Trust Bank, IPSOS and Kantar among some of the major users of the cloud-based application solutions with a host of other customers using their various customer-based solutions for a diverse array of sectors, including market research consulting, private equity, agriculture, education, health, finance, government agencies, NGOs, and private companies.
Bamba’s ability to do this is made possible by a dedicated and loyal team of employees that grew from its initial 7, then 21 including field consultants. According to Shamir Jiwa, founder of Maximeyes Group “This acquisition helps us to strengthen our technology portfolio and bring better solutions to our customers.” “We’ve been involved with Bamba since their launch and are impressed by the capability of their technology and the opportunity to further develop the software into new markets.”